When the news broke in early May that newly hired Trump legal aide Rudy Giuliani was already rocking the boat and alienating Trumpians (Trumpites?) throughout the White House, it came as little surprise. The feisty New Yorker has always been something of a wildcard on the political scene. That said, when Giuliani immediately aggravated the president by talking about Stormy Daniels on camera, there was concern among Trumpesiacs that a Scaramucci-level problem could be brewing.
This didn’t help matters:
I am enjoying all of the comparisons between me and the mayor. #RudyGuliani He is loyal, tough and a fierce competitor. He fights and will win for @realDonaldTrump @POTUS. Big compliment thank you!
— Anthony Scaramucci (@Scaramucci) May 6, 2018
An endorsement from ‘The Mooch’ is never something a person wants on their resume.
In spite of those hurdles, however, Rudy Giuliani managed to become Trump’s de facto legal voice. The President couldn’t have made a smarter move. Giuliani has proven himself a talented litigator for decades … provided you have the necessary funds or influence, of course. Trump’s got both! It’s a match made in heaven for two weaselly fellas always in search of their next headline.
A Lawyer Down to the Bone
The Oxford English Dictionary defines “lawyer” as, “a self-important dill hole with flexible morals and a talent for combing through long, boring documents that you have to attend school for six years just to understand.” Seriously, double check it; it’s like the third definition down.
That definition in mind, the title “lawyer” fits former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani perfectly, just like the term “fascist knob gobbler” applies to his current boss, Donald Trump.
Perhaps even more telling is Giuliani’s personal record. Though he never distinguished himself as a student before entering law school, Giuliani’s natural unctuousness combined with his ability to stay conscious reading legal literature saw him graduate magna cum laude from the NYU School of Law. And those were actual good grades, not the BS Donald Trump claims he earned.
A Crusader for Justice, At Least When it Suits Him
As a US attorney in the mid-1980s, Rudy Giuliani turned himself into something of a celebrity by consciously steering his office toward cases that would affect everyday New Yorkers (and therefore make headlines). That said, Giuliani proved himself a natural at locking down indictments. Even the failing New York Times noted in 1985 that Giuliani possessed, “an innovative legal mind and a courtroom flair.”
Giuliani also made sure that his attorney’s office was tackling the drug problem head-on. He used federal resources to “sweep” Manhattan’s Lower East Side and imprison small-time crack dealers. Sure, the dealers just moved to Brooklyn and Queens, but the Lower East Side was nicer, and that’s what’s important. Hell, Giuliani gets some credit for the Justice Department dipping its toe into the drug bust game. At one point, Giuliani said, “The international drug problem should be right at the very top of our foreign-policy priorities.”
As much as Giuliani loved a good conviction (more than 4,100 in his six years as US attorney with only 25 reversals), he loved some attention more. In one instance, he physically apprehended Richard Wigton by bursting onto the trading floor with a cadre of cops and personally slapping the handcuffs on the guy. Later, the charges were dropped due to lack of evidence. But it made for one heck of a publicity photo.
Whether he was winning or losing, Giuliani made sure the headlines swung in his direction. In the world of a Donald Trump presidency, generating good publicity is a talent more valuable than actual legal skill.
Moral Relativism At Its Finest
For all the work he did to rid New York of drugs, Giuliani’s commitment to the public well-being extended only so far as his term in office. Once he entered private practice, he had zero issues calling a hard stop on his “war on drugs.”
These days, America is less concerned with crack than it is with the growing opioid crisis. Every day more than 115 people overdose on opioids. The drugs at the heart of the crisis aren’t high-level offenders like heroin, they’re synthetic painkillers like Percocet and OxyContin. The federal government spends nearly $80 billion annually on prescription opioid abuse alone.
And how does all this apply to Rudy and his quest to rid NYC of drugs? A decade ago, the makers of OxyContin, Purdue Pharma, hired Giuliani to defend them from an encroaching federal investigation launched by — wait for it — the Bush administration.
Seems old Dubya and his homies thought OxyContin might be a real problem for the United States, so they hit Purdue Pharma with criminal charges relating to “OxyContin’s safety and effectiveness.” Though Giuliani was unable to avoid the $600 million fine that the US government demanded, he did set up Purdue Pharma with a pretty sweet deal.
He got prosecutors to agree that the execs at the head of the company didn’t deserve jail time, and he secured the company’s ability to peddle OxyContin in the future. In short: Giuliani played a part in making the current opioid crisis possible.
The Missing Ingredient on the Trump Team
So what does all this mean? It’s undoubtedly great news for a wispy-haired turd who’s desperately hoping to skirt some legal issues. Giuliani has proven that he knows how the government legal machine works because he used it to great effect. He also knows how the private legal machine works, because he used that to make millions. Best of all (for Trump), Giuliani has demonstrated that if the price (or headline) is right, he’s willing to do just about anything. That’s all phenomenal news for Donald Trump.
It’s just too bad about what it could mean for democracy in the United States.