Rudy Giuliani insists the FBI raid on his apartment was a total miscarriage of justice. His Trumpy allies swear the feds had no reason at all to execute a search warrant on his home.
George Conway, a former top Republican lawyer, has a slightly different take.
“I think he’s in deep shit,” Conway tells Molly Jong-Fast on the latest episode of The New Abnormal.
“The Justice Department doesn’t like to execute search warrants on lawyers, right? And the reason why they don’t like that is because they don’t want to get into messy disputes about attorney-client privilege… So they basically, if there’s a way to get evidence without going to a lawyer there, it’s basically incumbent upon them to do that. And if they ever seek to execute a search warrant on a lawyer, they have to go to the Main Justice [the headquarters of the Justice Department] and get permission from senior people in the criminal division on Pennsylvania Avenue,” adds Conway, who has famously spent the past few years as an anti-Trumpist activist.
“That tells you a lot here. Because even though there’s a probable cause standard for any search warrant—where you have to show that there was probable cause that a crime was committed and that there’s a basis to believe that the executing the search warrant will provide evidence of that crime—in this case, they had to do much, much more than that,” Conway continues. “And this guy was the former lawyer to a president of the United States while he was president. The people in Main Justice would not have authorized this search warrant unless there was a pretty good record.”
Rudy has now turned to Alan Dershowitz for some legal advice. That may not prove to be the wisest move, Conway says.
“Dershowitz is a smart guy, but he’s off. He’s been off the rails for a long time... In the first impeachment trial, Dershowitz made crazy arguments, to the effect that if the president does something, it’s for the benefit of the nation and therefore can’t be a crime, it can’t be impeachable. Which was just insane,” Conway adds. “And now he’s arguing that lawyers are immune from the execution of a search warrant, and that’s just not true either.”
Then science historian Steven Johnson—the man behind the new Extra Life Project—joins the pod to discuss the many lessons we’ve learned from the pandemic.
“So much of this whole thing has been about risk assessment and you know, your ability to build these kind of on-the-fly calculations of how much risk am I in, in this particular situation. And for a while there in March, the single most complicated and important question for the health of my family was: What is the risk of taking a 15-story elevator ride? We stopped doing anything other than walk the dog, but we couldn’t escape the elevator,” he says.
“And what it makes you realize how much of risk is in a sense pre-computed for you in ordinary conditions, right? Someone has done the calculations that says you need to wear the seatbelt and it’s better to do that. And it’s, ‘Don’t take this when you’re pregnant.’ All those calculations have been done, and we’ve lived with the benefit,” Johnson adds. “We’re living with the benefits of all these incredible advances that we forget about because we don’t die. We don’t get sick. Right. But suddenly when you have a crisis like COVID-19, where all those risk calculations have to be run for the first time, because no one’s confronted this particular virus in this particular situation, you realize how thorny those decisions are.”