Rudy Giuliani appears to have concluded that the only way for him to get out of the hole he’s dug for himself is to keep digging. So even though he’s on the verge of arrest, and he further incriminates himself nearly every time he opens his mouth, he’s still doing interviews. Here’s the thing, though: he just threatened to take Donald Trump down with him.
In a bizarre new interview, Rudy Giuliani was asked by The Guardian if he worries that Donald Trump will “throw him under a bus.” Rudy’s response: “I’m not, but I do have very, very good insurance, so if he does, all my hospital bills will be paid.” Wait, what? To give you an idea of how off-the-rails this answer was, Rudy’s new lawyer – who was on the phone line with him – immediately jumped in and insisted that Rudy was “joking.”
Here’s the thing. There are a couple different ways to parse this. Some will read this quote as Rudy saying that he has good health insurance, but we see that as too far out of context for what Rudy was talking abut. Our take is that he’s saying he has “insurance” against Trump, because he knows where all the proverbial bodies are buried in Trump’s various scandals. To be clear, this wasn’t a mere joke. It’s not the kind of thing you “joke” about in public unless you’re trying to send a message and you’re using humor to give yourself a sliver of deniability.
It’s really difficult to read this remark as anything other than Rudy Giuliani openly threatening Donald Trump. Rudy is clearly looking for a pardon from Trump. But that would only save him on federal charges, and there’s little doubt that New York would bring parallel state charges if a federal pardon happens.
It would also be very difficult for Donald Trump to pardon Rudy Giuliani. For one thing, it would be politically disastrous for Trump, at a time when Senate Republicans are begging Trump not to take things to such a villainous extreme that they end up having to selfishly oust him. In addition, it would likely trigger a court battle over whether a president can pardon his alleged co-conspirators. If that ruling went poorly for Trump, he could lose his ability to pardon his family on his way out the door. Yet Rudy is reminding Trump that he has “insurance” if no pardon comes.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report