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Air Rudy? Giuliani mulls impeachment podcast

Rudy Giuliani, personal attorney for President Donald Trump,

Rudy Giuliani, personal attorney for President Donald Trump, speaks in Portsmouth, N.H., on Aug. 1, 2018 Credit: AP/Charles Krupa

Rudy on the download

If you're Rudy Giuliani, under a federal investigation serious enough that you've lawyered up and getting treated as radioactive by some fellow Republicans and Trump administration officials, would you lie low for a while? If you answered yes, you're obviously not Rudy Giuliani.

Giuliani was overhead at a crowded New York City restaurant — and recorded by nearby patrons — discussing a proposal for a podcast that would provide analysis of the public hearings that start Wednesday for the House impeachment inquiry into his client, President Donald Trump, CNN reported.

His conversation with an unidentified woman included details such as dates for recording and releasing the podcasts, a logo and how it would be uploaded to iTunes and other distributors. Giuliani said he hoped to have four or five episodes in the can before the start of an expected Senate trial.

A Giuliani spokeswoman, Christianné Allen, confirmed that the idea was under consideration, saying, "Many Americans want to hear directly from Rudy Giuliani." A final decision is "very close," she added.

Since the Ukraine scandal erupted, Giuliani has been an often-agitated guest on cable news shows. He called a fellow panelist a "moron" and a Fox News host's questions "pathetic."

His very own podcast would give Giuliani a chance to talk back, without interruption or contradiction, at testimony such as an account of former National Security Adviser John Bolton describing him as "a hand grenade who's going to blow everybody up.” Perhaps he'd have a good word for his two indicted associates from their Ukraine ventures — at least the one who hasn't signaled he's ready to flip.

One ingredient will be missing for fans who remember Giuliani's weekly radio show when he was New York City mayor. Because it would be prerecorded, that means no live call-ins from listeners such as the man who wanted ferrets legalized as pets, prompting Giuliani's memorable counter-argument: "Your excessive concern for weasels is a sign of something wrong in your personality.”

Janison: King exits standing

With Rep. Peter King's decision to retire when his 14th term ends, we'll never know whether he could have hung on for one more running down-ticket from Trump in 2020, writes Newsday's Dan Janison.

Which is not to suggest King's motive for leaving is fear of getting voted out. To those who know him, King's citing of family considerations carries way more credibility than it would have coming from other politicians. 

On both sides of the aisle, he will be missed. Although far from nonpartisan, King kept up a mutually practical relationship with the state's Democrats. And it was no surprise that Chuck Schumer, the Senate's Democratic minority leader, on Monday called King "principled" and said he “stood head & shoulders above everyone else," to the inevitable revulsion of anti-Trumpers on social media. 

Sorry, no smoking Sharpie there

While his Republican allies are looking for ways to defend him and undermine his accusers, some of what Trump is offering up is pure nonsense.

Trump tweeted Monday: "Shifty Adam Schiff will only release doctored transcripts … Republicans should put out their own transcripts!"

Republican House members attended the same closed-door depositions and none have disputed the accuracy of the deposition transcripts that have been released. The witnesses have also reviewed transcripts of their testimony to assure accuracy.

New transcripts were released Monday from testimony by Laura Cooper, a Defense Department official, and from State Department officials Catherine Croft and Christopher Anderson.

Cooper recounted how she was alarmed by a freeze in military aid to Ukraine and how she was told by Kurt Volker, the U.S. special envoy to Ukraine, who explained there was a “statement” that the Ukraine government could make to get the security money flowing. It was the first she had heard of the quid pro quo that is now the central question of the impeachment inquiry.
Croft said Ukrainians knew about the freeze but wanted to keep it quiet because if news got out it would be seen as “declining U.S. support for Ukraine.”

It's just an act?

After tweeting yet another demand that the Ukraine whistleblower come forward and testify, Trump followed up with a rueful: "To think I signed the Whistleblower Protection Act!"  

He shouldn't feel bad because he didn't. The actual Whistleblower Protection Act was signed in 1989 by President George H.W. Bush. President Barack Obama extended some protections for the intelligence community in 2012.

Trump has signed laws related to whistleblower protections for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Parade and shade

Trump paid tribute to veterans and participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the 100th New York City Veterans Day Parade, becoming the first sitting president to participate, reports Newsday's Emily Ngo.

In a show of unity for the occasion, there was no mention of his differences with Democratic officials who attended, including Schumer and Mayor Bill de Blasio. 

But there were reminders of Trump's unpopularity in his native city. Signs posted in the windows of a high-rise building overlooking Madison Square Park spelled out “impeach” and “convict.”

Trump left after the ceremony and did not join the parade. Along the route, jeers were heard and signs with disparaging messages were held aloft as the president's motorcade returned to Trump Tower. 

A yikes for Mike

Is Michael Bloomberg the maybe-candidate New Hampshire's Democratic primary voters have been waiting for? At this stage, no.

A Quinnipiac poll found only 2% of likely Democratic primary voters say they would definitely vote for the billionaire former New York City mayor and 37% say they would consider it, but a daunting majority — 54% — say they definitely would not vote for him.

Joe Biden led the poll with 20%, followed by Elizabeth Warren at 16%, Pete Buttigieg at 15% and Bernie Sanders with 14%.

A Morning Consult national poll found 4% favored Bloomberg, but his unfavorable rating was the highest in the field.

What else is happening:

  • CNN's scoop on Giuliani's prospective podcast came from overheard and recorded restaurant chatter, and it's not the first time Trump's onetime cybersecurity adviser has appeared to be clumsily indiscreet. He's a serial butt-dialer, which has inadvertently left with reporters revealing voicemails. He also has accidentally texted voice memos and what looked to be a password.
  • A Trump-named federal judge in Washington dismissed his suit that seeks to block a New York State law that could give Congress access to his state income tax returns, Newsday's Yancey Roy reports. The judge said the court in Washington didn't have jurisdiction.
  • Two political supporters of Energy Secretary Rick Perry secured a potentially lucrative oil and gas exploration deal from Ukraine's government soon after Perry recommended one of the men as an adviser to President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, The Associated Press reported. It's probably not a crime, "just icky," an expert in anti-corruption law told AP.
  • Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is considering a late entry into the Democratic race for president, The New York Times reported.
  • Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, mired in single digits in polls, took a shot at higher-riding Buttigieg. She said a woman with his level of experience as a small-city mayor wouldn't even make it to the debate stage. "Maybe we’re held to a different standard," she said.
  • Trump's former White House chief physician, Ronny Jackson, is considering a run for Congress in Texas, Roll Call reported. Trump once nominated Jackson to be Veterans Affairs secretary but he withdrew amid various misconduct allegations, which he denied.

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