Why Special Counsel Smith Is Inquiring About Drunken Rudy Giuliani
It's scarcely midweek and already we're buried in new developments coming from...umm...all over the place. Should we begin with the Mark Meadows motion to move his case from state to federal court in Georgia? The judge has asked for briefs from the defense and prosecution on how many of the actions Meadows took in Georgia must fall within the scope of his job as White House chief of staff in order for the case to be considered a federal matter. So, there’s that. Or how about Rudy Giuliani’s drinking?
Rudy’s problem with demon rum has drifted back into national consciousness with news reported on Tuesday by Rolling Stone – which incidentally has done a bang-up job on All Things Trump this year – that prosecutors in the office of Special Counsel Jack Smith have been peppering grand jury witnesses with questions about just how drunk America’s (former) Mayor was back in 2020 when he was scheduling a press conference at Four Seasons Total Landscaping in a parking lot between a shop that sold sex toys and a crematorium, located just down the street from the Philadelphia Department of Prisons.
Early on the morning of November 7, 2020, reporters had been given a heads-up in a tweet from Trump that a press conference would be held that day at the Four Seasons. Soon thereafter, Trump tweeted that the press conference would be held at a place chosen by Giuliani, Four Seasons Total Landscaping, for reasons that were never explained. When reporters showed up, Trump’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi were setting up a podium and taping blue and red “Trump for President” signs to the landscaping business garage door. The press conference was being held so Giuliani could present some witnesses claiming to be poll watchers who were going to tell the press how they had been prevented from observing the counting of ballots in Philadelphia. Giuliani also claimed to have “about 50 people so far that have given us statements, affidavits, recordings. We're going to have many, many witnesses” to election fraud.
It would be the first of many appearances in battleground states by Giuliani to make similar claims of having “dozens” and even “hundreds” of witnesses and particularly “affidavits” about election fraud that would be used in court and in makeshift hearings held in places other than official state capital hearing rooms, during which Giuliani would present the witnesses to “testify” about all the election fraud they had seen. During one of the fake hearings, Sidney Powell, Giuliani’s co-counsel in several of the lawsuits filed around the country and now one of his co-defendants in Georgia, presented a woman who signed an affidavit about election irregularities who said she had been “internally decapitated,” claimed to “time travel in a semi-conscious state,” and talked to “The Wind that tells me I’m a ghost, but I don’t believe it.”
So, getting back to the question about Rudy Giuliani and his use of alcohol...
It would be useful to describe the beginning of the press conference, before any “witnesses” could speak. As Giuliani stepped to the microphone, a reporter called out that CNN had just called the election for Joe Biden. Giuliani asked who had called the election. When a reporter responded, “all the networks,” Giuliani looked up at the sky and struck a pose of mock-crucifixion and cried out:
“All the, oh my goodness, all the networks. Wow! All the networks! We have to forget about the law. Judges don't count. All the networks, all the networks. All the networks thought Biden was going to win by 10 percent. Gee, what happened? Come on, don't be, don't be ridiculous. Networks don't get to decide elections, courts do.”
Asked if Trump would concede, Giuliani responded, “Obviously he's not going to concede when at least 600,000 ballots are in question.” At that point, reporters began to leave the Four Seasons Total Landscaping parking lot, and television news crews started breaking down their recording equipment.
Why would Giuliani’s intoxicated state, if any and to what degree and when, be relevant to the special counsel’s case against Defendant Trump? Well, sources close to the Trump defense have indicated that Trump may use an “advice of counsel” defense, according to Rolling Stone. That defense might work to the defendant’s advantage if he could show that, being unfamiliar with the law himself, he was relying on the advice of competent counsel regarding his actions. But of course Defendant Trump would have to show that his counsel was, indeed, competent, and that the advice he was given was based on information he gave to the lawyer that was accurate and complete.
If your lawyer is drunk, or has a known problem with alcohol, that would indicate that the advice you received would not likely be competent. It’s a bogus defense, of course, because of the chicken-egg aspect of attorney-client relationships. Is the lawyer genuinely working for you, and are you actually relying on his or her advice? Or are you manipulating the lawyer by giving him or her misinformation or telling the lawyer to do things they know they shouldn’t do?
Defendant Trump, in his inimitable fashion, has apparently been crafting a defense of having newly-employed lawyers throw fired lawyers under the bus by claiming his previous attorneys were leading him astray. Defendant Trump, of course, has a surfeit of former lawyers and newly-employed lawyers, but the key to the defense relies on who told him what and when.
If Defendant Trump is going to take the position that he actually believed that he won the election, then he would have to show how and why he came to that belief. Rudy Giuliani was there from the very beginning, either whispering or drooling in his ear – the special counsel is attempting to determine which. On election eve, it was Giuliani, described by at least one witness as intoxicated in testimony before the January 6 Committee, who told Trump he should ignore the election results that were coming in and just declare himself the victor. And it was Giuliani who brought such sterling members of the bar as Sidney Powell and John Eastman into the orbit of the Trump campaign, and in several cases, into the Oval Office itself.
So, as Defendant Trump’s legal team – with its most shiny and well-pressed and soberest attorneys in attendance – goes through the discovery materials it has been given by the special counsel, and as Defendant Trump himself attempts to corral a brand new AI algorithm that will help him keep his schedule of court appearances, rallies, and golf games straight in the coming months, we await the outcome of the special counsel’s deep dive into the nature of the flop sweat Giuliani so often had in evidence during the weeks after Trump lost the election as he flew around the country overseeing the 61 lawsuits lost by the Trump campaign that challenged election results.
At this point, it's all about those rivulets of brown hair dye cascading down Giuliani’s cheeks. Was he innocently oblivious or obviously drunk? That is the question of the moment.
Lucian K. Truscott IV, a graduate of West Point, has had a 50-year career as a journalist, novelist, and screenwriter. He has covered Watergate, the Stonewall riots, and wars in Lebanon, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He is also the author of five bestselling novels. You can subscribe to his daily columns at luciantruscott.substack.com and follow him on Twitter @LucianKTruscott and on Facebook at Lucian K. Truscott IV.
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