The rumor mill is humming along on Tuesday, as issues involving President Donald Trump‘s attorney Rudy Giuliani and Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. have bubbled to the surface.
Vanity Fair‘s Gabriel Sherman, a frequent quoter of anonymous sources close to “Trumpworld,” wrote Tuesday that Giuliani recently told a friend that he expects special counsel Robert Mueller‘s final report on the Russia investigation to be “horrific.” Giuliani apparently did not respond to a request for comment. The remark on the Mueller investigation was relayed by a person said to have been “briefed on [Giuliani’s] conversation.” That person also spoke of gossip and speculation that Trump “could do a deal and resign.”
It’s not the first time Sherman has reported on doom and gloom purportedly being intensely felt behind closed doors. Who could forget in June when it was said that Trump feared Michael Cohen as much as he did Robert Mueller? Again, unnamed friends claimed that Trump allies were just as worried about Cohen as they are that Mueller‘s investigation was “going to hit the fan pretty soon.”
“Donald is very worried,” a Republican described as close to Trump said at the time. A former White House official would add, “Trump should be super worried about Michael Cohen [flipping].” “If anyone can blow up Trump, it’s him,” that official said.
Cohen would end up turning on Trump in July to put his “family and country first.” The next month, he pleaded guilty in the Southern District of New York on the same day former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was found guilty in the Eastern District of Virginia. Cohen pleaded guilty to bank fraud, tax fraud and campaign finance violations. He said that Trump (Individual-1) “directed” him to commit campaign finance violations, putting Trump front and center of a hush payment scheme to keep porn star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal quiet about affairs before the 2016 election.
Then came another report from Sherman about the Trump reaction to the Cohen guilty plea, plus some attention-grabbing lines about Trump’s legal strategy related to these payments.
After Cohen effectively named Trump an unindicted co-conspirator in campaign-finance crimes with the payments to Stormy Daniels and Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal, Trump’s public posture was that the payments weren’t crimes. Privately, according to two sources, Trump attorneys suggested that a strategy for dealing with the issue could be for Trump to admit to having affairs with women and paying hush money to them for years. That way, he could assert that the payments to Daniels and McDougal were normal business—not campaign donations meant to influence the 2016 election. Trump, according to the sources, rejected this advice [emphasis ours]. “It was because of Melania,” one source said.
Separately, Donald Trump Jr.’s name popped up on Tuesday because, again, there were rumors put out there that he was telling friends he feared an imminent indictment.
Former MSNBC host Touré tweeted earlier Tuesday that Trump Jr. is “telling friends that he will be indicted. #BOOM.”
We’ve certainly seen this story before. Attorney Michael Avenatti saw the Touré tweet and chimed in to say, “Imagine that.”
Then Avenatti made a prediction: that Trump Jr. would be indicted for making false statements and/or obstruction.
Avenatti had predicted on a couple of occasions that Trump Jr. would be indicted by the end of the year 2018, but that did not come to pass. At the time, Law&Crime reached out to Avenatti in an effort to find out if he knows something no one else does, but he did not respond with specifics.
The next day, New Year’s Day, Avenatti tweeted, “To all of the rocket scientists trying to call me out for allegedly being ‘wrong’ on the @DonaldJTrumpJr (Biff) indictment, please type the following words into google – ‘sealed indictment.'”
In any event, it appears Trump Jr. has not himself publicly addressed or refuted rumors that he’s told friends he will be indicted. His lawyer Alan Futerfas has attempted to quash the rumors, though, saying in November, “Don never said any such thing, and there is absolutely no truth to these rumors.”
When Trump Jr. did go on the record to discuss Mueller, however, he suggested Mueller might “try to do something.”
ABC’s Tara Palmeri asked Trump Jr. if he was worried about legal trouble down the road because of that 2016 Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer and his ensuing testimony about it.
Trump Jr. said that he was “not worried about it” because “I know what I did.”
“That doesn’t mean they [Mueller Probe] won’t try to do something,” he said. “[I’ll] deal with it as it comes.”
Update, Wednesday 2:09 p.m.: Rudy Giuliani claims that he never told a friend he expected “horrific” report.
[Image via Alex Wong/Getty Images]
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