CNN reports that Rudy Giuliani spent over nine hours testifying to the Select Oversight Committee investigating the January 6th insurrection on Friday. It is difficult to imagine how Guiliani could navigate that minefield without his lawyer turning Rudy’s microphone off and shouting, “Under the advice of counsel, I am invoking my 5th Amendment right to not answer that question…”
CNN is not reporting on any aspect of Giuliani’s actual testimony, the Committee is not leaking anything, yet. The deposition had been negotiated and Rudy may have been able to essentially “plead the 5th” ahead of time by simply refusing to speak to certain subjects. He also has a somewhat legitimate attorney-client privilege to assert.
In its subpoena, the committee alleges that Giuliani “actively promoted claims of election fraud on behalf of the former President and sought to convince state legislators to take steps to overturn the election results.” The subpoena also states that Giuliani was in contact with Trump and members of Congress “regarding strategies for delaying or overturning the results of the 2020 election.”
It is true that attorney-client privilege doesn’t apply to any conversation in which two conspire to commit a crime. Of course, no privilege attaches to a plan to rob a grocery store, never mind the presidency. But that subject is something Giuliani would likely litigate to limit his criminal exposure, not in testifying to Congress. So one finds oneself asking what Rudy actually could give the Committee because he obviously had some answers, “over nine hours” is a long time. One can do a pretty good history of World War II in nine hours.
So what could Rudy discuss?
He would have to talk about situations in which Rudy communicated with Trump while other people were present and listening, people outside the legal team. A privilege can hold like iron right up until it dissolves in an instant the moment it is shared with a third party. If Ivanka was standing beside her father, it is wholly on Rudy to talk about what happened.
But one could make a huge argument that Rudy’s greatest value to the Committee is affirming other people’s testimony, “Yes, I did hear him say and do that…” and that answer can be invaluable if a critical piece of information was given to the Committee from only one source. It is highly possible that the Committee gave Rudy a ride through some of its most critical findings while asking Rudy to admit that it happened.
There was one other aspect of the testimony that is telling:
Giuliani’s original deposition with the committee had been postponed after the former New York City mayor asked to record the interview, with both audio and video. At the time, Giuliani’s attorney Robert Costello said the committee rejected that request.
Now why would Rudy want to record his testimony and why would the committee refuse? It would be presumed that the Giuliani team would take the recording home with them, and at that point, Rudy becomes a valuable source to… Trump, Flynn, Bannon, and anyone else who might desperately want to get an idea as to how much the Committee already knows. They can talk about it afterward but it’s difficult to remember critical little details.
One can bet that the Committee’s attorney’s danced around timelines and theories almost chaotically to keep it very difficult to ascertain their “central findings” in order.
Regardless. Guiliani had something to contribute and Trump should be far more nervous today than yesterday. Would you entrust Rudy to be discerning over nine hours, talking about the most critical 60 days in your life? Would you entrust Rudy to drive your kid to school in your van? No. And that’s a win for the Committee and thus the American people.
Jason Miciak believes a day without learning is a day not lived. He is a political writer, features writer, author, and attorney. He is a Canadian-born dual citizen who spent his teen and college years in the Pacific Northwest and has since lived in seven states. He now enjoys life as a single dad of a young girl, writing from the beaches of the Gulf Coast. He loves crafting his flower pots, cooking, while also studying scientific philosophy, religion, and non-math principles behind quantum mechanics and cosmology. Please feel free to contact for speaking engagements or any concerns.