A Gleeful Colbert Revels in Giuliani’s Press Meltdown: “Rudy, You’re Not Helping!”

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From the outside, it sure seems like Rudy Giuliani’s performance as the newest member of Donald Trump’s legal team has been . . . subpar at best. For instance, it’s hard to imagine anyone getting a bonus for possibly implicating their client in not one, but two federal crimes. This week, Giuliani’s appearances on Hannity and Fox & Friends have proven especially disastrous; in the first, Giuliani said that Trump was not only aware of the payment his attorney Michael Cohen made to Stormy Daniels, but that he did, in fact, reimburse Cohen—which completely contradicted the president’s claims up until that point. During a follow-up on Fox & Friends, Giuliani made things worse by seemingly implying that at least part of the motivation for the payoff was campaign-related—which could mean that Trump ran afoul of campaign-finance law. The bottom line? As Stephen Colbert put it on Thursday’s Late Show, “Rudy, you’re not helping!”

“There’s something kind of admirable about being that bad of a liar,” Colbert said as he reviewed Giuliani’s comments, including his Fox & Friends gaffe. “Imagine if that came out on October 15, 2016, in the middle of the last debate with Hillary Clinton?”

“‘Your honor, I had no reason to burn down my warehouse,’” Colbert quipped, “‘but I’ll tell you what: that insurance money saved my ass!’”

Per Giuliani’s explanation, Cohen has a $35,000-per-month retainer, which can act as reimbursement for various expenses incurred in managing Trump’s legal affairs—including, say, that $130,000 payment made to Daniels. After Giuliani made his comments on television, the president tweeted in support of the claim, writing, “Mr. Cohen, an attorney, received a monthly retainer, not from the campaign and having nothing to do with the campaign, from which he entered into, through reimbursement, a private contract between two parties, known as a non-disclosure agreement, or NDA.”

“Trump is claiming that he paid Cohen a monthly fee to hush up all the affairs he wasn’t having,” Colbert said. “So that means anyone could just say they had an affair with Donald Trump and leave with a hundred and 30 grand! In that case, I had sex with Donald Trump!”

On Late Night, Seth Meyers was equally baffled by Giuliani’s press meltdown. “Rudy!” he shouted. “What is wrong with you? You’re the president’s lawyer, and you just told everyone he lied on TV. On Sean Hannity’s show! You cracked under no pressure! . . . If Rudy Giuliani had been O.J.’s lawyer, he would have said, ‘Hey, even if your gloves don’t fit you can still stab somebody!’”

As for Hannity, who was caught off guard like everyone else by Giuliani’s comments? “Sean Hannity is the only guy who would say, ‘Dear god, what have I done?’ when what he has done is journalism.”

One potential reason floated for Giuliani’s case of word vomit is that damning information could be on the horizon—revelations that the president and his team might want to get out ahead of. But as Trevor Noah points out, that possibility carries an ominous implication of its own: “Imagine a P.R. crisis so bad that your best move is to admit you paid hush money to a porn star,” Noah said on Thursday’s Daily Show. “This guy can’t even bone without the Justice Department getting involved.”

Like his fellow late-night hosts, Noah seemed perplexed by Giuliani’s apparent inability to stay on-mission when it comes to discussing the president’s legal affairs. And the worst part of the whole ordeal, the comedian pointed out, is that if it weren’t for the cover-up, people likely wouldn’t have cared that the president had an affair. “Even Melania would have been like, ‘Better her than me,’” Noah said. “Now because of the cover-up, things are much worse. It’s like if someone got pulled over for drunk-driving but instead of admitting it they said, ‘No, I wasn’t drunk-driving; my 10-year-old was driving. And he was drunk.’”

And then there’s Jimmy Kimmel, who took the opportunity to commemorate the passing of an ABC show: “You know, we don’t have Scandal on Thursday nights anymore, so the president has been working overtime to fill that hole for us. And boy, did he deliver the goods this week!”

“The president repaid Michael Cohen for the hush money he didn’t know anything about—which almost makes you think maybe he did know something about it,” Kimmel added.

And, like Meyers, Kimmel’s not sure anyone should trust Giuliani’s legal abilities—especially Trump, who might want to kick the ex-mayor off the team immediately. Otherwise, “by the end of the week,” Kimmel said, “Rudy Giuliani’s gonna implicate Trump in the Lincoln assassination.”

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