[NOTE: Great news! Starting this week, in addition to BillMoyers.com, the complete Trump-Russia Timeline will also appear at the website for the Committee to Investigate Russia. Expanding the group of concerned citizens seeking to remain informed is always healthy for democracy. At this moment in the great American experiment, it’s essential.]
Rudy Giuliani earns the newest Trump-Russia Timeline “pop-up” bubble and name filter.
On Thursday, April 19, Giuliani joined Trump’s legal defense team. It’s a curious choice. For more than a year, he served as Trump’s most faithful campaign surrogate — defending Trump’s crudest and cruelest words and deeds. But after the election, Giuliani couldn’t land a job in the new administration. Now he’s Trump’s lawyer. Go figure.
Lawyer as Witness?
What makes Rudy a truly special selection is that he is (or should be) a witness in various investigations relating to Trump and the 2016 election. Special counsel Robert Mueller has informed Trump’s lawyers that their client is a “subject” of the Trump-Russia probe — a status no citizen wants. A cynic might suggest that retaining Giuliani allows both men to rely on the attorney-client privilege to get their stories’ straight. At times, the privilege comes in handy, provided the crime-fraud exception doesn’t kick in.
And if you doubt that Giuliani is destined to be a witness, go to the Trump-Russia Timeline and click on his name. Of particular note is a sequence of events shortly before the election:
— Oct. 25-26, 2016: Giuliani says that a “big surprise” is coming.
— Oct. 28: Then-FBI Director James Comey’s letter to Congress says the FBI is taking another look at new materials relating to its previously closed investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server. (The revelation provides a big boost to Trump and, arguably, puts him in the White House.)
— Oct. 28: Giuliani boasts publicly about how former and acting FBI agents have been telling him about a “revolution inside the FBI” over Comey’s failure in July to recommend the prosecution of Clinton. If Giuliani is telling the truth about his sources, such FBI leaks would be crimes.
— Nov. 4: Giuliani tries to walk back his earlier bravado about receiving inside information from present and former FBI agents. But it’s too late. Comey has already initiated an internal investigation of FBI leaks. The Justice Department’s Inspector General is on the case.
Giuliani has a long, deep history with the FBI, especially its New York office. During the 1980s, he served as US Attorney in Manhattan before becoming New York City’s mayor from 1994 to 2001. In 2014, Giuliani was the keynote speaker at the FBI Agents Association’s (FBIAA) First Annual “G-Man Honors Gala” where he received a distinguished service award named after him. His former law firm — then called Bracewell Giuliani — has long been general counsel to the FBIAA, which represents more than 13,000 active and retired FBI special agents.
During the 2016 election, the FBI’s New York office had such widespread animosity toward Hillary Clinton that it earned a nickname: Trumpland.
A Busy Week
Giuliani’s new assignment highlights this week’s Trump-Russia Timeline update. But Trump’s lawyers come and go, so in the long run of the Trump-Russia scandal, other developments will prove more enduring. Last week, every day produced a new bombshell that reinforced the larger narrative arc.
Sunday. United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley announces new sanctions against Russia. But after Trump watches her revelation on national television, he erupts — and then kills the sanctions. Trump’s effort to minimize US sanctions against Russia remains an enduring theme that helps explain why Putin wanted Trump to win the election.
Monday. Michael Cohen’s attorney tells a federal judge that Cohen has had only three law clients since January 2017, one of whom is Trump’s most vocal media supporter: Fox News’ Sean Hannity. But of greater legal significance that day is Trump’s call to “check in” on Cohen. No competent attorney would advise the subject of an ongoing investigation — Trump — to communicate with a witness and thereby create evidence supporting an obstruction of justice charge. Why would Trump take that risk? As a key operator in Trump’s business dealings for the past decade, Cohen knows where bodies are buried — and probably helped to bury them.
Tuesday. Senate Republicans are preparing to move forward with bipartisan legislation to protect special counsel Robert Mueller from Trump. But Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pronounces it DOA. The Complicit GOP never rests.
Wednesday. Former FBI Director James Comey begins national television appearances promoting his new book. Trump tweets complaints. By midweek, Trump’s comments at a joint press conference (with Japan’s prime minister) demonstrate that he is unglued over the Russia investigation.
Thursday. At the urging of Trump’s defenders in the House, the Justice Department releases redacted copies of Comey’s contemporaneous memos on his early 2017 conversations with Trump. This time, the Complicit GOP missile becomes a boomerang because it corroborates everything Comey has said about those conversations. They’re more evidence that Trump is a liar, not Comey.
Friday. The Democratic National Committee sues the Russian government, WikiLeaks, the Trump campaign, and several top Trump campaign advisers over claims relating to the hacking, theft, and dissemination of DNC and Clinton campaign emails.
Saturday-Sunday. Read Trump’s manic tweets and decide for yourself what to make of them. Eleven relate to Trump-Russia.
Here’s a complete list of this week’s updates to the Trump-Russia Timeline:
NEW: JULY 28, 2016: Giuliani Says Russians Have Had Clinton Email “For Some Time”
NEW: NOV. 4, 2016: Giuliani Says He Expected Action on Clinton
NEW: NOV. 4, 2016: Senior House Democrats Ask DOJ To Investigate FBI Leaks
NEW: NOV. 4, 2016: Giuliani Walks Back Comments Predicting Action on Clinton
REVISED: JAN. 27, 2017: Trump to Comey: ‘I Need Loyalty’
REVISED: FEB. 8, 2017: Priebus Asks Comey About Flynn; Trump Returns to “Golden Showers Thing”
REVISED: JUNE 8, 2017: Comey Testifies Before Senate Intelligence Committee
NEW: JAN. 22-23, 2018: Trump Pressures Wray and Sessions to Fire Page and Strzok
NEW: APR. 12, 2018: Rosenstein Tells Trump He’s Not a Target of Russia Probe; Sessions Warns Trump
REVISED: APR. 13, 2018: DOJ Inspector General Issues Report on McCabe; Trump Issues Bizarre Tweet
NEW: APR. 13, 2018: Warning to Trump: Cohen Will “Flip”
NEW: APR. 15, 2018: Trump Halts New Russian Sanctions
NEW: APR. 16, 2018: Sean Hannity Is Cohen’s Client
NEW: APR. 16, 2018: Trump Tweets
NEW: APR. 17, 2018: McConnell Kills Legislation to Protect Mueller
NEW: APR. 18, 2018: Trump Tweets About Stormy Daniels
NEW: APR. 18, 2018: Trump Tweets About Comey, Again
NEW: APR. 18, 2018: Eleven Congressmen Seek Investigations of Clinton, Comey, and Others
NEW: APR. 18, 2018: Trump Dodges Question on Firing Rosenstein or Mueller
NEW: APR. 18, 2018: Trump Says Nobody’s as Tough on Russia as Donald Trump
NEW: APR. 18, 2018: Cohen Drops Lawsuits Against Fusion GPS and BuzzFeed
NEW: APR. 18, 2018: NY State Attorney General Seeks Curb on Presidential Pardon Impact
NEW: APR. 18, 2018: Schiff Seeks to Limit Presidential Pardon Power
NEW: APR. 19, 2018: Giuliani Joins Trump Legal Team; DOJ To Issue Report on FBI Leaks
NEW: APR. 19, 2018: Rosenstein Provides Comey Memos to Congress
NEW: APR. 19, 2018: Trump Tweets About Comey Memos and McCabe
NEW: APR. 20, 2018: Trump Tweets About Comey and Flynn
NEW: APR. 20, 2018: DNC Sues Russia, Trump Campaign, and WikiLeaks
NEW: APR. 20, 2018: Trump Tweets About DNC Lawsuit, Comey, and Mueller
NEW: APR. 21, 2018: Trump Tweets About Cohen
NEW: APR. 21, 2018: Trump Tweets About DNC Lawsuit, Again
NEW: APR. 21, 2018: Trump Tweets About Comey, Again
NEW: APR. 21, 2018: Trump Tweets About Sessions and Rosenstein
NEW: APR. 21, 2018: Trump Retweets About Comey Memos and Collusion
NEW: APR. 21, 2018: Trump Keeps Tweeting About Comey
NEW: APR. 22, 2018: Trump Tweets About Sessions and Comey
NEW: APR. 22, 2018: Trump Tweets About Comey Memos and Mueller Investigation, Again