Rudy Giuliani says he will be “involved” for Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial, and he told ABC News about the president’s legal strategy after his supporters laid siege to the U.S. Capitol.
Jonathan Karl reported that he spoke to Giuliani, who confirmed his involvement in Trump’s impeachment defense even as other members of the president’s legal team are stepping away from the trial. Giuliani said there are “different opinions” about how to approach this trial, but that he intends to defend the president by (once again) pushing baseless allegations of voter fraud.
“They basically claimed that anytime [Trump] says voter fraud, voter fraud — or I do, or anybody else — we’re inciting to violence; that those words are fighting words because it’s totally untrue,” said Giuliani. “Well, if you can prove that it’s true, or at least true enough so it’s a legitimate viewpoint, then they are no longer fighting words.”
Ever since Trump lost the 2020 election, he and Giuliani advanced unsubstantiated claims that his victory was “stolen” from him due to mass electoral corruption. There has been no evidence of fraud that would’ve changed the election results, the Trump team’s claims were thrown out of court dozens of times, and Trump engaged in repeated attempts to overturn his loss to President-Elect Joe Biden.
This culminated in the “Save America” rally on January 6, where Giuliani told a crowd of Trump supporters to take up “trial by combat.” The president also egged on his supporters to march on the Capitol, and they violently rampaged through the building in order to prevent Congress from certifying Biden’s imminent presidency.
Giuliani suggested to ABC that Trump should try to “dismiss the impeachment as entirely illegal,” and he rejected the notion that the president is guilty of incitement. According to their report, if Trump is unable to dismiss the impeachment article, Giuliani “said he wouldn’t rule out the president testifying” at the trial.
“You always make that decision at the last minute,” Giuliani said. “As a lawyer, I wouldn’t be as strongly opposed to his testifying as I was then.”
Giuliani also argued that Trump has the power to pardon himself, and that he doubts the implied admission of guilt would make Trump more vulnerable to civil lawsuits. It isn’t clear whether Trump can legally pardon himself, but if he does, it would not protect him from being prosecuted for state level crimes.
I think any lawyer would have to tell you there’s nothing in the Constitution that permits it. There’s nothing in the Constitution that prohibits it. The plain language of the Constitution doesn’t limit who we can pardon,” Giuliani said. “Do I think there’s justification for it because of the atmosphere we are in? Practical justification? Absolutely…I mean his legal life’s gonna be complicated no matter what. Maybe because I’m more of a criminal lawyer than a civil lawyer, I’d much rather have my civil life complicated than my criminal life.
After the new report dropped, Trump spokesman Hogan Gidley said in a statement the president “has not yet made a determination as to which lawyer or law firm will represent him.”
Statement On President Trump’s Impeachment Defense Team:
President Trump has not yet made a determination as to which lawyer or law firm will represent him for the disgraceful attack on our Constitution and democracy, known as the “impeachment hoax.” We will keep you informed.
— J. Hogan Gidley (@JHoganGidley) January 17, 2021
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