In a interview painfully reminiscent of the “alternative facts” statement of Kelly Anne Conway, Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani triggered another firestorm by declaring on NBC’s Meet the Press that “truth isn’t truth.” I actually can see what Conway was trying to say with her “alternative facts” comment, but the Giuliani comment left me mystified why a lawyer would frame such an argument. He was understandably trying to convey that prosecutors can frame the facts in ways to trap a witness. However, it came out in a terribly mangled way. In the meantime, President Trump was on Twitter asserting that White House Counsel Don McGahn is “no RAT” like John Dean in the Nixon Administration. Both statements took the worst possible framing of their respective arguments and predictably led to another wave of criticism.
Trump’s comments followed a New York Times report that McGahn spent more than 30 hours talking to agents during voluntary interviews. It suggested that McGahn feared he was being made into a fall guy and refused to be made into the next John Dean. Trump lashed out by tweeting
Trump, in a series of tweets, denounced a New York Times story that his White House counsel, Don McGahn, has been cooperating extensively with the special counsel team investigating Russian election meddling and potential collusion with Trump’s Republican campaign. Trump tweeted: “The failing @nytimes wrote a Fake piece today implying that because White House Councel Don McGahn was giving hours of testimony to the Special Councel [sic], he must be a John Dean type ‘RAT.’ But I allowed him and all others to testify – I didn’t have to. I have nothing to hide……” He added “Study the late Joseph McCarthy, because we are now in a period with Mueller and his gang that make Joseph McCarthy look like a baby! Rigged Witch Hunt.”
The Failing New York Times wrote a story that made it seem like the White House Councel had TURNED on the President, when in fact it is just the opposite – & the two Fake reporters knew this. This is why the Fake News Media has become the Enemy of the People. So bad for America!
The situation got worse with Giuliani’s latest appearance — the latest in a long list of gaffes. The statement came in an exchange with Chuck Todd. Giuliani pushed back on an inquiry as to why Trump fears simply sitting down with investigators. Giuliani insisted: “When you tell me that, you know, he should testify because he’s going to tell the truth and he shouldn’t worry, well that’s so silly because it’s somebody’s version of the truth. Not the truth,” he said.
Chuck Todd, the host, responded: “Truth is truth.”
“No, it isn’t truth. Truth isn’t truth.”
I fail to see how such statements help the President or how this fits with any cognizable political or legal strategy. This morning, Giuliani tweeted out a clarification (which should have not been necessary with greater message control):
My statement was not meant as a pontification on moral theology but one referring to the situation where two people make precisely contradictory statements, the classic “he said, she said” puzzle. Sometimes further inquiry can reveal the truth other times it doesn’t. 4:48 AM – 20 Aug 2018