By Alexander Nazaryan
President Trump’s personal attorney, Rudolph Giuliani, says he is working with outside lawyers to prepare lawsuits against prominent Democrats such as House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff of California and Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.
Giuliani’s remarks about his legal plans were made over the weekend in a series of calls with Yahoo News, amid cable news appearances in which he continued to aggressively defend the president. That defense was blunted by news of an additional whistleblower who would reportedly corroborate how Trump allegedly pressured the new Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, into investigating Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joe Biden, a 2020 presidential candidate.
In several conversations with Yahoo News, Giuliani dismissed at least one critic of such a lawsuit as a “nitwit,” arguing that there were no constitutional constraints on bringing such litigation against sitting members of Congress.
“I got the highest grade in constitutional law,” said Giuliani, a former federal prosecutor for the Southern District of New York. He revealed that private lawyers are studying public statements by Schiff and others to argue that they were not merely prosecuting a case against Trump but attempting to “deprive him of civil rights” and were engaging in a “conspiracy to remove the president at all costs.” Giuliani charged that Schiff was seeking to “inhibit me in my ability to defend” Trump.
He cited Tlaib’s appearance at a recent town hall, in which she appeared to agree with a speaker who said that if White House officials were issued subpoenas and refused to comply with them, federal marshals should “hunt down” those officials. Giuliani said that was tantamount to witness intimidation, though it is not clear that Tlaib strayed outside her First Amendment rights.
Trump is certainly fond of litigation as a means of bringing opponents to heel, but suing sitting U.S. representatives would be an extraordinary development in an already extraordinary episode in American politics. Giuliani says that “a very established law firm” is already at work on that effort, though he would not say which one.
The White House declined requests to comment on the possibility of such a lawsuit.
What’s clear is that, like the president he represents, Giuliani believes that offense is the best offense and that there is no such thing as a strategic retreat. If nothing else, the whole Ukraine affair has been a lesson in the Roy Cohn method of crisis management. And even as others are running away from what could be a presidency in nuclear meltdown, Giuliani is running right into the radioactive fire.
In recent days, he has defended Trump with unrestrained bluster that recalled some of his more colorful days as New York City’s mayor. In one Fox News exchange, he called a skeptical fellow panelist a “moron.” There have been so many such appearances that the Biden presidential campaign has asked television programs to no longer book the former federal prosecutor.
Calls like that are likely to only enrage Giuliani further. And they aren’t likely to quiet a man who, as the mayor of New York during the 1990s, relished battle with everyone from ferret owners to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
Giuliani says Joe Biden is to blame for allowing his son Hunter to engage in complex international business dealings that were bound to eventually raise questions. “The kid’s a drug addict,” Giuliani said, referring to Hunter Biden’s struggles with substance abuse. “What are you doing this to a drug addict for?”
The Biden campaign declined to comment for this article.
At the center of the debate is the whistleblower complaint by an intelligence officer detailed to the White House who was troubled by what he saw as Trump’s holding out $400 million in foreign aid from Ukraine until Zelensky agreed to investigate the Bidens. Trump’s supporters have disputed that a quid pro quo arrangement was in the works.
Giuliani dismissed the whistleblower complaint against Trump as having been “created by a Democratic operative” affiliated with a “Washington firm.” He said that the plethora of footnotes in the whistleblower complaint indicated it had been written by a seasoned lawyer.
“We know he’s a Democrat,” Giuliani said of the whistleblower, whose identity has not been publicly revealed. “What else?”