The Mayor of 9-11 has some major issues. First among them is his mouth appears to be disconnected from his short and long term memory! Yesterday NBC reported that Rudy Giuliani told them that Special Counsel Mueller told him that the President can’t be indicted because of the 1970s DOJ Office of Legal Counsel guidance.*
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s office has told President Donald Trump’s legal team that he won’t indict a sitting president, according to Rudy Giuliani, one of Trump’s lawyers.
“They (the special counsel’s office) acknowledge the fact that they can’t indict us,” Giuliani told NBC News on Wednesday, indicating that the information had been conveyed to Trump’s lawyers. “They know they don’t have that power. So their function is to write a report. We would like it to be the fairest report possible. But even if it isn’t, we’re prepared to rebut it in great detail, so we’d like them to do it.”
He added: “It’s as clear as can be that they don’t have the right to indict under the Justice Department rules. And I know they’re not going to indict.”
Unfortunately for Rudy Giuliani, Rudy Giuliani then told the Washington Post that Rudy Giuliani wasn’t actually at the meeting.
— Robert Costa (@costareports) May 16, 2018
Let’s just emphasize the important news that Rudy Giuliani broke about Rudy Giuliani to Robert Costa in the transcripts that Costa posted in his tweet above – click it to embiggen the top right side of the transcript, which I’ve transcribed below for your convenience (emphasis mine):
The Washington Post: Did Mueller explicitly say he would not charge the President?
Giuliani: “He didn’t say that. One of his – I have to check with Jay, he’s in Israel right now. One of his top people told him that.“
So according to Rudy Giuliani, who was clarifying to The Washington Post what Rudy Giuliani told NBC News, one of Mueller’s top people told Jay Sekulow, whose currently in Israel, that Special Counsel Mueller would not charge the President. Rudy Giuliani has now further muddied Rudy Giuliani’s messaging up by explaining that Rudy Giuliani doesn’t actually know what was specifically said because it was said to Jay Sekulow who is in Israel, but whatever it was it wasn’t said by Special Counsel Mueller himself.
Unfortunately, Rudy Giuliani who has now explained that Rudy Giuliani does not actually know what happened at this meeting between the Special Counsel and some of his personnel and Jay Sekulow because Jay Sekulow is in Israel and Rudy Giuliani was not there did not get with Rudy Giuliani who decided to further clarify Rudy Giuliani’s clarification of Rudy Giuliani’s statement that the Special Counsel told Rudy Giuliani directly that he couldn’t prosecute the President. Take it away Talking Points Memo!
“He didn’t seem to want to give the answer,” Giuliani told the Post. “It reminded me of that scene in ‘The Godfather,’ with Sonny and the Godfather, where he said, ‘Oh, you’re going to take care of us? We can take care of ourselves.’ One of his assistants broke in and said, ‘Well of course, we’re bound by Justice Department policies.’ Mueller looked at him like, ‘Don’t interrupt me.’”
In case everyone has, like the various Rudy Giulianis, lost the plot here, let me summarize:
- Rudy Giuliani told NBC News that Special Counsel Mueller told him directly that he could not prosecute the President because of the 1970s guidance from the Office of Legal Counsel.
- Rudy Giuliani, in an attempt to clarify what Rudy Giuliani told NBC News, told The Washington Post that he doesn’t actually know what Special Counsel Mueller or his personnel told Jay Sekulow and he can’t find out because Jay is in Israel.
- Rudy Giuliani, in an attempt to sound tough and make Special Counsel Mueller look bad, as well as further clarify Rudy Giuliani’s clarification to The Washington Post of Rudy Giuliani’s (who comes from a family that was mobbed up) statement to NBC News, stated that Bob Mueller (who brought down John Gotti) is like an Italian mafioso from a movie.
According to The Washington Post:
A spokesman for the special counsel declined to comment.
* Neal Katyal who wrote the existing guidelines for DOJ Special Counsels had this to say about the 1970s Office of Legal Counsel guidance:
“This old opinion from 20 years ago does preclude, in general, the Justice Department from indicting a sitting president for constitutional reasons,” Katyal said. “But an exception can be given.”
Katyal repeated Wednesday that the rules “permit Mueller to depart from DOJ policy.”
Referring to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosentein, who is acting as attorney general in the context of the Russia investigation because Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself, Katyal said on MSNBC’s “All In With Chris Hayes”: “The way to do this is to ask the acting attorney general, so he does have a way forward.”
While I’m sure everyone will have fun with this in the comments, there really is no settled law on this. As a political scientist and criminologist I understand all three of the major legal theories/positions on this, and definitely have my own view on which is right, as well as why the OLC memo was written the way it was written during Watergate. That said, I expect that Special Counsel Mueller will play everything straight based on his career as a Federal prosecutor and Director of the FBI. Regardless, we will just have to wait and see.