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Rudy Giuliani made not one — but two giant unforced errors

Putting the $130,000 payment in the context of the final days of the ’16 campaign

On Fox last night, Giuliani argued that the $130,000 payment to Daniels wasn’t a campaign-finance violation. “That money was not campaign money,” he said of Trump’s reimbursement, per NBC News. “Sorry — I’m giving you a fact that you don’t know. It’s not campaign money — no campaign finance violation.”

Giuliani repeated that argument in a follow-up interview with Fox. “It wasn’t for the campaign — it was to save their marriage — not so much their marriage so much as their reputation.”

And in tweets this morning (that didn’t sound like his own voice), Trump said that the money he gave to Cohen had “nothing to do with the campaign.” “Mr. Cohen, an attorney, received a monthly retainer, not from the campaign and having nothing to do with the campaign, from which he entered into, through reimbursement, a private contract between two parties, known as a non-disclosure agreement, or NDA.”

Rudy Giuliani made not one — but two giant unforced errors
Rudy Giuliani made not one — but two giant unforced errors

But what has gotten lost in the coverage of Giuliani’s admitting that Cohen was reimbursed for the $130,000 payment is the TIMING of the payment — Oct. 27, 2016, which was less than two weeks before the election.

Oct. 27, 2016: $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels is made.

Oct. 28, 2016: FBI Director Comey informs Congress that his agency found emails that appeared “pertinent” to the Clinton email investigation.

Oct. 29, 2016: Trump continues to campaign on Comey news: “This is the biggest political scandal since Watergate… Hillary should have been convicted long ago.”

Oct. 30, 2016: More Trump: “They found 650,000 emails on the current investigation of somebody else… This could be the mother lode. You know? This could be the 33,000 that are missing.”

Oct. 31, 2016: The news media continue to report on Comey’s revelations. “Clinton Works to Keep Trump and Emails at Bay,” says the New York Times; “Email Review Underway” is the lead story on NBC’s “Nightly News”; “FBI Searches Emails” is the top story that night on ABC.

Nov. 1, 2016: Trump seizes on the Podesta emails disclosed by WikiLeaks: “In a newly released email, John Podesta’s been caught saying, we have to dump all of those emails. Can you believe this? That’s WikiLeaks.”

Nov. 2, 2016: Trump continues to stay on message: “We are going to win the White House, gonna win it. It’s feeling like it already it’s it. Just we’ve gotta be nice and cool, nice and cool. Right, stay on point Donald, stay on point. No sidetracks Donald, nice and easy, nice — ‘cause I’ve been watching Hillary the last few days. She’s totally unhinged. We don’t want any of that. She has become unhinged.”

Nov. 4, 2016: Trump keeps on campaigning on the Comey revelations: “She’ll be under investigation for years. She’ll be with trials. Our country, we have to get back to work.”

Nov. 5, 2016: More Trump: “As you know, the FBI has reopened its criminal investigation of Hillary Clinton.” (Crowd chants, “Lock her up!”)

Nov. 6, 2016: Comey informs Congress that those additional emails didn’t uncover anything new in the Clinton investigation. And Trump campaigns that Clinton “is being protected by a rigged system.”

Nov. 7, 2016: Trump continues, “Hillary Clinton is being protected by a totally rigged system. And now it’s up to the American people to deliver justice at the ballot box tomorrow. That’s what’s gonna happen.”

Nov. 8, 2016: Election Day.

Here’s what Giuliani said on Fox this morning:

DOOCY: So you’re saying that Stephanie Clifford, made these allegations, told Donald trump’s lawyer—GUILIANI: And denied them. And then said it wasn’t true. However, imagine if that came out on October 15, 2016 in the middle of the last debate with Hillary Clinton.DOOCY: So to make it go away, they made this—GUILIANI: Cohen didn’t even ask. Cohen didn’t ask. Cohen made it go away. He did his job.

Indeed he did.

Team Trump is gearing up for a political fight — more than a legal one

“The gloves may be coming off”: That’s perhaps the best way to look at the changes in Trump’s legal team. “White House lawyer Ty Cobb, who repeatedly urged cooperation with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and assured the president such a strategy could shorten the investigation, announced he would leave his post at the end of the month,” the Washington Post writes. “In his place, Trump tapped Republican defense attorney Emmet Flood, who brings experience wrangling with investigators when he represented President Bill Clinton during House proceedings to impeach him.”

“‘This signals a new phase,’ said one senior Trump adviser who was granted anonymity to describe private conversations. ‘We are looking at all the options now. Nothing’s off the table. … But the gloves may be coming off.’”

Trump hints at release of American detained in North Korea

NBC News: “President Donald Trump hinted late Wednesday that three Americans detained in North Korea could soon be released as he prepares for a potential summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. ‘As everybody is aware,’ Trump tweeted, ‘the past Administration has long been asking for three hostages to be released from a North Korean Labor camp, but to no avail. Stay tuned!’”

“Trump’s prospective meeting with Kim comes after last week’s historic meeting between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.”

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