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Send in the Clowns

Rich Galen

Thursday May 3, 2018

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  • On the MSNBC chat program "Morning Joe," panelist Eddie S. Glaude, Jr., a professor at Princeton University, said that the whole Trump vs Stormy Daniels thing reminded him of the song "Send in the Clowns," which is a song, according to Wikipeida, "written by Stephen Sondheim for the 1973 musical A Little Night Music.

  • This is not a review of a revival of that play. It is a look at the re-formulated (again) legal team around Donald Trump.

  • The most visible member of that new team is former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Giuliani was not only Mayor of New York, but he was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to be the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York in June, 1983 and served in that position until January, 1989

  • Giuliani appeared on Sean Hannity's Fox News Channel program Wednesday night and, according to Fox's website: "Giuliani says Trump paid $130G to Cohen for 'expenses' over several months."

  • This is Giuliani's version of how Trump fixer Michael Cohen was reimbursed for the $130,000 in hush money he paid to porn star Stormy Daniels in the run-up to the 2016 election.

  • I don't understand why a one-night stand, more than a dozen years ago, between two consenting adults is enough to push North Korea and Iran off the front pages day-after-day, but this is a continuing self-inflicted wound.

  • Also a few weeks ago the same office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York asked for, and was granted, a subpoena to search the office, the home, and the hotel suite of Michael Cohen.

  • Giuliani, on Hannity, called the men and women from the office he (Giuliani) once oversaw: "Storm Troopers."

  • Cohen, you might remember, said after the fact that the agents who executed the warrant were "professional and courteous" as they went about their jobs.

  • Keeping this line of thought alive, remember that Trump was asked by the press aboard Air Force One whether he had known about the $130 Gs (I love the way New York papers do that), he said he did not and reporters should ask Michael Cohen about it.

  • As we know, there is no penalty for lying to the press. As I've written before, if there were, our traffic problems in Washington, DC would be over.

  • Michael Cohen said he paid the money out of the proceeds of a line-of-credit on his home (imagine trying to explain THAT to your spouse), and that he had not been reimbursed.

  • But, after Trump denied any knowledge of any payments to anybody for anything, his brand new legal spokesman, Rudy Giuliani proudly proclaimed that:
    There was indeed a payment to Stormy Daniels

    That Trump knew about the payment

    That Trump reimbursed Cohen for the payment through a scheme to hide it behind a "retainer" paid out over several months "plus a little extra for taxes and a small profit."

  • Later, according to,
    Giuliani clarified for Fox News that the money Trump paid to Cohen was for unspecified "expenses," and that the president was unaware that money would be going to Daniels.

  • If there's anything we've learned about Trump over the past three or four years it's this: Not a dime leaves his checking account without his knowing who it's for, what it's for, and whether he can get away with paying just a nickel.

  • At a minimum, this means everyone on the Trump side - including Trump - is now admitting the original claim: Trump had sex with a porn star named Stormy Daniels.

  • And, I still don't care.

  • Adding to the head-scratching going on around on the street below my office in downtown DC this morning is the addition to the Trump team of highly-respected lawyer Emmet Flood.


    Full disclosure: I worked briefly with Emmet Flood on the case of Virginia Governor Bob McDonald.


  • Unlike Giuliani, Mr. Flood is not known as a person who likes trying his cases on TV, so we'll see how long this association lasts.

  • Emmet Flood was brought on as it was announced he was replacing lawyer Ty Cobb who, Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, was "retiring" at the end of the month.

  • I've been around here a long time, and I've never known a lawyer to "retire" in the middle of what might be his most famous case unless there is a health issue. If there were a health issue Sanders would have said that instead of the "retiring" dodge.

  • One of the verses of "Send in the Clowns" ends with:
    But where are the clowns?
    Send in the clowns,
    Don't bother, they're here.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: A link to the Judy Collins version of Send in the Clowns, and to the coverage of Giuliani's appearance on Hannity.

    The Mullfoto is of an interesting parking job taken by Mullfave Dan Meyers.

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