Rudy Giuliani doesn’t need anyone’s help embarrassing himself. In just the past year, he’s shaved in the dining area of an airport lounge, posted a video of himself plugging his Cameo while golfing in gigantic shorts, and debated whether he has a drinking problem in an interview pegged to the anniversary of 9/11. But in a change of pace, during the House January 6 committee’s second day of hearings, America’s Mayor was humiliated again and again by other people, many of whom seemed to delight in dunking on him.
Blaming Giuliani for Donald Trump’s election lies — or at least, letting the president’s lying get out of hand — was a recurring theme throughout Monday’s hearings. Representative Liz Cheney, the committee’s vice-chair, kicked things off by teasing that the proceedings would feature “testimony that President Trump rejected the advice of his campaign experts on Election Night and instead followed the course recommended by an apparently inebriated Rudy Giuliani to just claim he won.”
Senior Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller and Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien both recalled a meeting on Election Night in which Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney, argued that it was time to declare victory though votes had yet to be tallied. “There were suggestions by, I believe it was Mayor Giuliani, to go and declare victory and say that we won it outright,” Miller said.
“I think effectively Mayor Giuliani was saying, ‘We won it, they’re stealing it from us,’” Miller continued. “‘Where did all the votes come from? We need to go say that we won.’ And essentially that anyone who didn’t agree with that position was being weak.”
Details of this meeting were first reported nearly a year ago, but on Monday, the American people got to see Miller declare on the record that Giuliani was, in his opinion, certainly drunk at the time. “I think the mayor was definitely intoxicated, but I do not know his level of intoxication when he spoke with the president, for example,” Miller said in his taped deposition.
Witness Chris Stirewalt, a former Fox News politics editor, appeared to thoroughly enjoy his entire appearance before the panel, in which he defended his decision to call Arizona for Joe Biden on Election Night. But he seemed to particularly savor hearing Giuliani’s former colleagues accuse him of drunkenly dispensing unsound advice to the president.
Stepien said he urged the president to make a typical Election Night statement about waiting until all the votes were counted, but Trump made it clear that he would be following Rudy’s advice and prematurely declaring victory.
Stepien testified that in the ensuing days, Trump’s team split into his camp and the conspiracist camp led by Giuliani and Trump attorney Sidney Powell. “I didn’t mind being characterized as being part of Team Normal,” Stepien said.
January 6 panel member Zoe Lofgren then introduced a montage of some of Team Definitely Not Normal’s zaniest moments. The video showed that while many members of Team Trump always knew Giuliani’s election claims were “nuts,” he stands by them to this day.
“If you gave me the paper ballots, I could probably turn around each one of these states,” Giuliani said in a clip from his recent testimony. “I’m absolutely convinced if you let me examine each one of those ballots I’d pull out enough that were fraudulent that it would shake the hell out of the country.”
Bjay Pak, the former U.S. district attorney in Atlanta, knocked down some of Giuliani’s wild claims in his testimony, saying what the former New York mayor identified as a nefarious “suitcase full of ballots” was actually an official lock box. Pak said then–U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr asked him to look into Giuliani’s voter-fraud claims and he was “unable to find any evidence of fraud which affected the outcome of the election.”
“The FBI interviewed the individuals … and determined that nothing irregular happened in the county and the allegations made by Mr. Giuliani were false,” Pak said.
Giuliani denied Miller and Stepien’s account, tweeting the following day:
Regardless of what you make of the former mayor’s account, Team Normal’s testimony should be taken with a grain of salt. Despite claims that they knew Giuliani & Co. were pushing dangerous lies, or “bullshit,” as Barr memorably put it, none of them publicly sounded any alarms at the time. When asked if he warned his father-in-law that Rudy was unhinged, Jared Kushner said — with some hesitation — that he merely suggested Giuliani’s strategy was “basically not the approach I would take if I was you.”
If Giuliani feels chastened by his former colleagues, he hasn’t shown it. As Mondays hearings were airing, he posted a link to the latest episode of his podcast, Rudy Giuliani’s Common Sense. Giuliani underscored in his tweet that he denounces “all violence” (despite his call for a “trial by combat” on January 6, 2021). And during the podcast, he said that if anyone should feel ashamed it’s not him (the man who spread election lies with hair dye streaming down his face), but the lawmakers running an “embarrassment of a hearing about a serious matter.”
This post has been updated to include Giuliani’s response.
More on January 6
- The Case(s) Against Donald Trump
- For Republicans, Abetting Coups Is a Good Career Move
- Trump Supporter Charged With Threatening to Kill Trump’s Trial Judge