Giuliani Admits “Spygate” Allegations Meant To Undermine Russia Investigation

With the President's "Spygate" allegations standing largely discredited, his attorney and at the moment chief spokesperson Rudy Giuliani admits that the entire conspiracy theory was created to discredit the Mueller investigation.

In several appearances on the Sunday morning shows, Presidential lawyer Rudy Giuliani admitted that the Administration’s efforts to push the largely discredited claim that there was a “spy” planted inside the Trump campaign by Federal law enforcement is part of the Trump Administration’s effort to undermine the Russia investigation:

Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani said on Sunday that his repeated imputations of a supposed scandal at the heart of the Robert Mueller investigation – which Donald Trump calls “Spygate” – amounted to a tactic to sway public opinion and limit the risk of the president being impeached.

“Of course we have to do it to defend the president,” Trump’s lawyer told CNN State of the Union host Dana Bash, who accused him of being part of a campaign to undermine the Mueller investigation. Trump has repeatedly called the special counsel’s work a “witch hunt”, despite its producing five guilty pleas, including by three former Trump aides, and evidence of Russian tampering in US elections.

“It is for public opinion,” Giuliani said of his public campaign of dissimulation. “Because eventually the decision here is going to be impeach or not impeach. Members of Congress, Democrats and Republicans, are going to be informed a lot by their constituents. And so our jury – and it should be – is the American people.

“So Republicans largely, many independents, even some Democrats now question the legitimacy of [the Mueller investigation],” Giuliani said. “Democrats I would suggest for their own self-interest, this is not a good issue to go into the midterms.”

As Giuliani acknowledged the political nature of his public campaign against Mueller, Trump advanced that campaign on Twitter, lamenting what he said were “young and beautiful lives … devastated and destroyed” by the investigation of alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

“They went back home in tatters!” Trump wrote. It was unclear who he was talking about.

For those unfamiliar with some of the latest developments in connection with the Russia investigation, “Spygate” is a name given as far as I can tell by the President himself to the allegation that the F.B.I. had planted a “spy” inside the Trump campaign and that this was somehow the source of the investigation that began in the early summer of 2016. Prior to it coming into the mainstream, this accusation had largely been the fodder of programming on Fox News Channel by programs such as Fox & Friends as well as hosts such as Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity. The accusation became serious enough that the heads of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees as well as the so-called Congressional “Gang of Eight” that consists of those individuals and their Democratic counterparts as well as the leadership of the Republican and Democratic Caucuses in the House and Senate to pressure law enforcement officials to release information about surveillance of the Trump campaign prior to the election and the genesis of the Russia investigation.

Those meetings took place late last week, and while we don’t know the details of what was revealed due to the fact that the information remains classified there are some conclusions that we can answer based on the information we do have. For one thing, it is clear that there was not a “spy” inside the Trump campaign at all. Instead, a source that had provided information to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the past advised them of information they had come across regarding the Trump campaign and Russia and that this led, in part, to the beginnings of the Russia investigation, which of course preceded Robert Mueller’s appointment by nearly a year. Based on some reports, it’s possible that this informant could be the same Australian official who had a conversation roughly two years ago at this time with an apparently intoxicated George Papadopoulos in which Papadopoulos bragged about having talked to Russians purporting to have damaging information about Hillary Clinton. This isn’t entirely clear from the available information, though. Nonetheless, it was clear from the way the Republicans and Democrats alike reacted to what they were told during those closed-door meetings last week that the “Spygate” allegations amounted to nothing.

Giuliani’s seemingly braggadocios admission that the entire “Spygate” story is solely meant to undermine the Russia investigation isn’t entirely surprising as it has been at the center of the Trump Administration’s strategy since entering office in January. It has manifested itself in not only the President’s numerous and continuous tweets but also in actions such as asking F.B.I. Director James Comey if he could end the investigation of former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and later when he fired Comey abruptly just days after he had testified about the investigation into Russia and the Trump campaign before a Senate committee. As we know now, Trump later openly admitted that he took that later action specifically because of the Russia investigation.

We’ve also learned over the course of the past year that Trump has pressed top intelligence officials to push back against the Russia investigation and asked top Senators to bring the Senate Intelligence Committee. In addition to all this, Republicans mostly lodged in the House of Representatives have openly assisted the President’s efforts to undermine the investigation. The best example of this, of course, has been the Republican side of the House Intelligence Committee, which has been behind the controversy earlier this year over a memo that purported to undermine a FISA warrant obtained against former Trump foreign policy adviser Carter Page that turned out to be a complete dud and in any case has been entirely discredited, the release of a wholly one-sided “report” that has been largely discredited, and the current so-called “Spygate” controversy. Given all of this, Giuliani’s comments are hardly surprising.

 

FILED UNDER: Donald Trump, Politicians, Russia Investigation, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Mark Ivey says:

    “Giuliani’s seemingly braggadocios admission that the entire ‘Spygate’ story is solely meant to undermine the Russia investigation isn’t entirely surprising”

    And i love how he openly admits it.

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  2. gVOR08 says:

    BooMan has the right take on this.

    Only two groups of people have any real handle on what may come out of Mueller’s investigation, Mueller’s team and Trump’s legal team. Mueller’s guys are keeping quiet. Although we can assume Trump’s lying to him about the worst of it, Giuliani seems sure there are impeachable charges against Trump coming. I see no reason to doubt him.

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  3. Franklin says:

    FFS, not every scandal needs the word “gate” in it. Besides, “Spygate” was already used 11 years ago.

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  4. Joe says:

    I agree with Giuliani here that the jury is – and should be – the American people. I even understand the tactic of trying to poison the well by raising questions about the investigators and the investigation. But I don’t think he’s supposed to tell those people they are being lied to. It’s like the first rule of gas lighting.

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  5. Scott O says:

    It sounds like Giuliani is admitting there are grounds for impeachment and the upcoming decision will be whether to do so. He is not saying that his client has done nothing wrong.

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  6. teve tory says:

    @Mark Ivey: Trump openly admitted to obstruction of justice w/r/t comey. Republicans resorted to claiming that shouldn’t be held against him because he was such a political naif. Giuliani is supposedly a lawyer and should know better, but he’s acting like he has dementia.

    If we’re lucky we only have 2.5 more years to deal with this idiot that the dumber 46% of americans pulled the lever for.

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  7. CSK says:

    This is just the latest example of Trump deploying his longtime strategy of trashing his opponents, or perceived opponents, whether they be business people, pageant contestants, primary contenders, or most recently, as he told Lesley Stahl and Judy Woodruff, the press. Say demeaning, belittling, insulting things about them, question their honesty and integrity, call them crooks and liars, and try to turn public opinion against them.

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  8. Kathy says:

    @Franklin:

    How about Cheetogate? No? Mangogate?

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  9. teve tory says:

    @Scott O:

    He is not saying that his client has done nothing wrong.

    Which is kind of amazing. None of the national-figure trumpers are saying “He’s innocent. He’s gonna be exonerated.” They’re arguing whether or not he’ll be impeached.

    You know, it’s gotta be stressful being a Trumper. You can’t trust anything he ever says, so how’re you supposed to defend him?

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  10. Timothy Watson says:

    @teve tory:

    You know, it’s gotta be stressful being a Trumper. You can’t trust anything he ever says, so how’re you supposed to defend him?

    That doesn’t matter for them, they will gladly change their talking points, even a 180 degree change, without a hint of recrimination or doubt.

    Conservatives and Republicans have been doing this for decades and have mastered it at this point.

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  11. Kathy says:

    I think Giuliani is counting on the Cheeto effect. That is, no matter what trump says or does, as long as he defends white supremacy and irks liberals, his base will stick by him. It’s not just that he could, as he bragged, shoot someone and not lose support, it’s that he could host a dinner featuring roasted Ivanka and Don Jr. sashimi, and he wouldn’t lose his base.

    I admit that’s a slight exaggeration and caricature, but the point is he has done and said outrageous, immoral, troubling, undemocratic, hateful, awful things, and he hasn’t lost his base.

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  12. Joe says:

    @teve tory:

    Giuliani is supposedly a lawyer and should know better, but he’s acting like he has dementia.

    I had this same thought, and not for simply snarky reasons. One of the dementia symptoms I have seen is an inability to not say something on your mind. While I have experienced this in person, I was reminded by a video of Glen Campbell on his last tour after his Alzhiemer’s diagnosis where he kept reading the bracketed stage directions on his teleprompter.

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  13. @Franklin:

    I agree, but the name started circulating on social media after Trump used it and even media outlets like MSNBC are using it now.

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  14. Joe says:

    @Kathy:

    It’s like Giuliani is looking at Trump’s base voters right in the eye and saying, “we are manipulating you by lying to you,” and the base voters are responding, “I love that someone is finally being honest with us.”

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  15. CSK says:

    @Joe:

    Trumpkins have remarkably short/selective memories. Much like Trump himself, they’ll take positions 180 degrees opposed to the position they took the day before. Or a few hours before.

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  16. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Franklin:
    @Doug Mataconis:
    The real name for this should be Liargate.

    …it was clear from the way the Republicans and Democrats alike reacted to what they were told during those closed-door meetings last week that the “Spygate” allegations amounted to nothing.

    Yet Dennison is right at it this morning, tweeting away with fact-free accusations and conspiracy theories.
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/28/us/politics/trump-conspiracy-theories-spygate.html

    He has sold us a whole way of accepting a narrative that has so many layers of unaccountable, unsubstantiated content that you can’t possibly peel it all back.

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  17. Kathy says:

    @CSK:

    What are you trying to say? that we haven’t always been at war with Eastasia? Of course we’ve always been at war with Eurasia!

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  18. Kathy says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    Yet Dennison is right at it this morning, tweeting away with fact-free accusations and conspiracy theories.

    In the world of conspiracy theories, the absence of facts is often taken as proof.

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  19. MarkedMan says:

    @Joe:

    the jury is – and should be – the American people.

    I appreciate your point but the idea that the president can do no criminal or ethical wrong as long as a plurality votes for him is not just wrong but dangerously wrong.

    Trump and his traitorous cohorts are selling out this country in exchange for bribes or blackmail from enemy countries. The idea that this magically becomes OK if he can marshal enough resources to convince 46% of the people that they hate brown people and Muslims more than they are disgusted by Trump is absurd.

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  20. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Dennison once lied about Obama wire-tapping him.
    Now he’s telling this lie.
    But if in his feeble fake-tan chemical addled mind this sort of clandestine stuff does go on…is he now ordering spying on his own enemies?

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  21. CSK says:

    @Kathy:

    Whoopsie. My bad.

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  22. Joe says:

    @MarkedMan:

    I hear you, but if the Congress can’t bring a case that convinces at least a plurality of the American people that this man is dangerous, his impeachment will be at least as damaging as his presidency. If a majority of the American people (albeit based on poling or some other indirect means) are so impervious to allegations that their Congressional representatives don’t think they have support for impeachment, they shouldn’t impeach. That is my opinion. It may not be popular, and I hope that whatever Mueller uncovers is a slam dunk in one direction (or the other), but an”unpopular” impeachment is a recipe for more and worse chaos.

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  23. Kylopod says:

    The most baffling thing about Rudy’s media blitz over the past few weeks is how it has consisted of both massive bullshitting AND epic Kinsley gaffes.

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  24. Kathy says:

    @Joe:

    It may not be popular, and I hope that whatever Mueller uncovers is a slam dunk in one direction (or the other), but an”unpopular” impeachment is a recipe for more and worse chaos.

    I truly wonder what would constitute a slam-dunk for the Trumpidians. i’m sure if Mueller were to prove collusion, money laundering, and corruption, Trump’s followers would be neatly able to rationalize or doublethink their way into claiming he’s being persecuted, even if they don’t dismiss any evidence as fake, biased, etc.

    An electoral loss in the midterms probably will prompt many in the GOP establishment to withdraw their support. After all, what good is an Orange Clown if he’s only a clown and can’t keep them in power? But his supporters would cling on (and blame the establishment).

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  25. Kylopod says:

    @Kathy: While I have never personally visited the Nixon Library, I read a detailed description of it in John Moe’s book Conservatize Me, which describes the museum depicting Nixon as essentially an innocent victim and fall guy in the Watergate scandal. In the book’s words:

    The position of the Nixon museum was that Nixon had nothing to do with the break-in and really wanted the investigation to go forward without hindrance so that everything could be cleared and the presidency could go on without distraction. Unfortunately, their story goes, there were lots of people out to get Nixon, and when there was a single misunderstood instance of an appearance of an inkling of a shadow of a cover-up, the jackals pounced, clamping down their jaws and not letting go until Nixon heroically left office rather than put the country through turmoil.

    Nixon never had the kind of worshipful cult that Trump has, but he did have some very ardent defenders back in the day (and sometimes I think the main reason today’s GOP has no interest in defending him isn’t his record of corruption but rather his relatively liberal policy-making). Gallup’s final approval-rating poll before his resignation showed 50% of Republicans still giving him positive job approval.

    I don’t have any doubt that nothing that gets revealed about Trump will sway the hardcore Trumpists, who I’d estimate make up roughly 1/3rd of the public. If he goes down, he’ll inevitably become the victim of the “Deep State” to them.

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  26. Mikey says:

    @Kathy:

    I truly wonder what would constitute a slam-dunk for the Trumpidians.

    I don’t, because I already know the answer is “nothing.”

    When he said he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose any supporters, it was a rare occasion when he was not exaggerating. He may not know fuck-all about running a casino, but he sure knows how to run a cult.

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  27. Kathy says:

    @Kylopod:

    I’m not surprised Nixon would portray himself as an innocent victim. No one thinks themselves a villain, after all. And, like all bullies, he lacked the courage to admit to wrongdoing.

    Trump, though, is worse. I think he knows something is wrong when he does it, but he feels entitled to do so. Not justified, which can be argued, but above the judgment of mere mortals who are not him. That’s why he whines and cries like a wounded rat whenever he gets called out, or worse when he’s held accountable.

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  28. inhumans99 says:

    When Trey Gowdy says your FBI implanted a spy in your campaign claim is BS…wow, this is the dude that I believe is on the record as gleefully saying he would have been happy to open so many investigation into Hillary Clinton’s past actions starting on day 1 of her Presidency that she would be under investigation pretty much every single day she was in office.

    Again…wow, folks like Gowdy, and Jason Chaffetz basically bragged that they would be able to make Clinton’s life hell if she made it into the White House, so when someone like Gowdy throws a big bucket of ice cold water on President Trump’s and Guiliani’s latest attempts to distract from the criminal actions being investigated by Mueller you know it is time to come up with another attempt to make the media go squirrel!

    Gowdy cannot be credibly accused of being someone who holds water for the Democratic side of the fence so it is time for the White House to come up with new ways to distract, distract, distract from their bad behavior.

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