It was only a throwaway comment, dismissed as a joke, in a predictably loopy interview with Rudy Giuliani, but his admission that he fears that lying for Donald Trump will be on his gravestone stood out as the most honest answer among screeds of spin and distraction.
“I am afraid it will be on my gravestone... ‘Rudy Giuliani: He lied for Trump,’” he said to The New Yorker. “Somehow, I don’t think that will be it. But, if it is, so what do I care? I’ll be dead. I figure I can explain it to St. Peter. He will be on my side, because I am, so far... I don’t think, as a lawyer, I ever said anything that’s untruthful. I have a sense of ethics that is as high as anybody you can imagine.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Giuliani was as tenacious in his defense of the president as he’s ever been and gave no indication he’s a man worried about the legacy of being Trump’s spinner. He angrily railed against BuzzFeed and The New York Times and repeatedly described his client, the president, as if he was a powerless victim of bullying.
“When I was mayor, I got criticized for a lot of things I was praised for now,” said Giuliani. “And, I think, when this is over, you are going to see that we are defending an innocent man who has been very unfairly treated. I can’t think of a person who has been as unfairly treated as this, by both the media and, to some extent, the special counsel.”
A second apparently inadvertent slip might prove to be the other interesting detail from his conversation with journalist Isaac Chotiner. When asked about the controversial BuzzFeed story that claimed Michael Cohen was directed by Trump to lie about the Moscow tower development, Giuliani explained why he believed it was false as soon as he saw it.
“Because I have been through all the tapes, I have been through all the texts, I have been through all the emails, and I knew none existed,” he said. “And then, basically, when the special counsel said that, just in case there are any others I might not know about, they probably went through others and found the same thing.”
Asked what tapes he meant, he replied: “I shouldn’t have said tapes... No tapes. Well, I have listened to tapes, but none of them concern this.”
If his intention was to persuade the public that no evidence exists for Trump direction his attorney over the Moscow tower, he did not convince.
Giuliani was also asked about his statement from Sunday appearing to admit that Trump was involved in discussions to build a Moscow skyscraper throughout the 2016 presidential campaign. The lawyer insisted he never said the quote reported in The New York Times that divulged “discussions were going on from the day I announced to the day I won.”
“I don’t know if they made it up,” he said. “What I was talking about was, if he had those conversations, they would not be criminal... If we went to court, we would say we don’t have to prove whether it’s true or not true, because, even if it’s true, it’s not criminal," he said. “I just told you he didn’t do it. I am telling you that their investigation is so ridiculous that, even if he did do it, it wouldn’t be a crime.”
If you’re hoping that Giuliani is on the verge of a genuine realization about his role in spinning for Trump, the rest of the evidence suggests that you may be waiting for a long time.