Just two weeks after hiring Rudy Giuliani to serve as his personal attorney, the former New York mayor appeared on Sean Hannity’s show and contradicted several of his client’s key claims in a performance so bonkers that Fox News hosts deemed it “a problem.” Though this incident and subsequent gaffe-filled media spots reportedly left Trump “furious,” no one reeled Giuliani in. And for whatever reason, Giuliani’s appalling public comments — like when he acknowledged in May that some might find his efforts to make Ukraine investigate Trump’s political rivals “improper” — had few immediate consequences.
So, as reports of a mysterious whistle-blower complaint began to blot out all other news in Washington, the Trump administration stuck with this de facto strategy. Giuliani embarked on an especially unhinged media blitz that has seen him lob insults at journalists, pretend to be a robot, proclaim himself “the real whistle-blower.” Here are the highlights.
September 19: Giuliani’s CNN meltdown
In a painful, tense, and altogether unwatchable 28-minute interview with Chris Cuomo, Giuliani promoted allegations of corruption against Joe Biden, whom Trump and his allies say pressured Ukraine to fire its top prosecutor to benefit Biden’s son, Hunter. Naturally, the version of this story that Giuliani and Trump are telling is full of holes and outright lies.
As Cuomo pointed out these problems to Giuliani, the former New York City mayor contorted his face and called the CNN host names. He also denied asking Ukraine to investigate Biden 30 seconds before he admitted asking Ukraine to investigate Biden.
September 22: Giuliani retreats to friendly territory, faces unfriendly questions
A few days later, Giuliani appeared on Fox News, perhaps hoping for better treatment on Trump’s favorite news network. He didn’t get it. In an interview on Fox News Sunday, John Roberts asked Giuliani about contradicting himself on CNN and the broader impropriety of his mission in Ukraine. “How is your coverage so distorted?” the former mayor shot back, later accusing Robert of being “really unfair.”
September 24: Giuliani tells fellow panelist to “shut up, moron”
It didn’t take long for Giuliani to forgive Fox. On Tuesday, he joined Laura Ingraham, one of the network’s more reliable Trump defenders, who gave him a platform to clean up the mess he’d made the previous few days. In a rambling interview, Giuliani invoked Tammany Hall, referred to himself as a humble “country lawyer,” and claimed that the State Department asked him to conduct the investigation in Ukraine (the White House’s own summary of Trump’s conversation with Ukraine’s president disputes that).
The most unhinged moment of Giuliani’s appearance came when he blew up at liberal radio host Christopher Hahn, calling him a “moron” and an “idiot.”
September 25: Giuliani explains this is all Obama’s fault
After ripping into Hahn on Ingraham’s show, Giuliani was up late tweeting about John Kerry’s stepson, the nephew of Whitey Bulger, and Barack Obama. To anyone not steeped in the language of right-wing conspiracy mongering, it’s head-spinning stuff. But as Media Matters explains, Giuliani’s claims are part of the Trump campaign’s plan to promote the claims made in a 2018 book by Breitbart News senior editor Peter Schweizer. And on the morning of September 25, he went on Fox & Friends to repeat them.
The hosts looked miserable.
September 26: With a font this big, it has to be true
Back on Ingraham’s show on September 26, Giuliani tried to prove his claim that the State Department asked him to look into Biden’s history in Ukraine and push back against the suggestions that he’d gone rogue. A few hours after tweeting screenshots of his personal text messages with Kurt Volker, the U.S. special representative for Ukraine until his resignation last Friday, Giuliani read the texts on TV — which for some reason required glasses and 900-point font.
“Here’s Kurt saying, ‘Great, I will tell Yermak and he’ll visit you there, thanks,’ [and] ‘Mr. Mayor, how was your meeting with Andriy? Do you have time for a call? Best, Kurt,’” Giuliani read. Andriy Yermak is an aide to Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky. “They’re all over me, asking me to do it. I was happy to do it. I helped my country get this relationship in good shape,” Giuliani said.
Later on the show, he did an impression of Mitt Romney.
September 27: Giuliani angrily informs reporters that he’s “the real hero”
After an epic week on TV news, Giuliani remembered to let print media in on the fun. In quotes published on Friday, Giuliani told Politico that he is the real whistle-blower and suggested that he might be assassinated as the details of the Ukraine story come out.
“I’m the real whistleblower,” declared Giuliani, who claimed to possess more damaging information and insisted that he, too, should be entitled to whistleblower protections. “If I get killed now,” he warned, “You won’t get the rest of the story.”
Separately, in an “angry” phone call with The Atlantic’s Elaina Plott, Giuliani revealed that the whistle-blower is not the hero of this story — he is.
“It is impossible that the whistle-blower is a hero and I’m not. And I will be the hero! These morons—when this is over, I will be the hero,” Giuliani told me.
“I’m not acting as a lawyer. I’m acting as someone who has devoted most of his life to straightening out government,” he continued, sounding out of breath. “Anything I did should be praised.”
September 29: If it’s Sunday, it’s mock the press
You may have taken the weekend off, but Giuliani didn’t. He appeared on two Sunday morning talk shows, including This Week With George Stephanopoulos, where Giuliani spent nearly 15 minutes sparring with the host and pushing the Trump administration’s line on Ukraine. When the interview came to a merciful end, Giuliani mocked Stephanopoulos.
Later Sunday, reports surfaced that the Biden campaign had asked TV news networks to step letting Giuliani on air. On Monday, he was back on Fox Business.
September 30: Giuliani debuts new, even less logical theories
On Hannity, Giuliani made fun of Joe Biden’s lack of gaudy luxury goods. While some might see that as evidence that the former VP isn’t corrupt, Giuliani says his “little cottage” and “little car” show he’s bad at being crooked. He also forwarded a theory that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama colluded with Ukraine to find compromising material in 2017, which would be a poorly-timed plot for the Democratic leaders.
October 2: A “packet of propaganda and disinformation”
On Wednesday, Giuliani told CNN that he had “routed” an “outline” of several documents with unproven allegations about Joe Biden to Mike Pompeo, encouraging the secretary of State to investigate. After it was handed over to the House by the State Department’s inspector general, Democrats expressed serious concern for the breach of protocol. “We are now in possession of this packet of propaganda and disinformation,” Jamie Raskin told Reuters. “The real question is where did it come from and how did it end up in our lap?” Raskin added: “The whole thing looks rather amateurish to me. It looks like a collection of some newspaper articles that appear to have been coordinated, some emails and then basically a lot of conspiracy theories.”
October 2: Catching up with old friends
The Washington Post reported that, through a lawyer, Giuliani had contacted Paul Manafort following his felony conviction. Giuliani spoke with the paper about the encounter, claiming that he was hoping to find a “black ledger” that could prove that the investigation into Manafort’s illegal activity in Ukraine began under a false pretext. “I believed there was a lot of evidence that the [Democratic National Committee] and the Clinton campaign had a close connection to Ukrainian officials,” Giuliani said. “It was all about Trump. I don’t think I could exonerate Manafort.”