Trump now says he did send Rudy Giuliani to Ukraine. CNN analysts think Trump forgot his earlier lie.by Peter Weber
President Trump told Fox News friend Geraldo Rivera on Thursday that he did send Rudy Giuliani to Ukraine to procure damaging information on his political rivals. "Was it strange to send Rudy Giuliani to Ukraine, your personal lawyer?" Rivera asked Trump on his podcast. "Are you sorry you did that?" "No, not at all," Trump responded. "When you tell me, why did I use Rudy, and one of the things about Rudy, No. 1, he was the best prosecutor, you know, one of the best prosecutors, and the best mayor."
"That is literally the exact opposite of what he told Bill O'Reilly in an interview in November," CNN fact-checker Daniel Dale told Don Lemon on Thursday night, playing the clip where Trump said, "No, I didn't direct him," meaning Giuliani. "So what has changed now? Well, perhaps Trump just thinks impeachment's over with, I've been acquitted, I can say whatever I want. Perhaps he forgot that he ever denied this. Regardless, though, what he's saying now is the truth. He did direct Rudy to go there. We heard that not only from Rudy himself, but from testimony from others in the impeachment inquiry."
CNN senior political analyst John Avlon, sitting on Lemon's panel, found Dale's second explanation more plausible. "The fact is, the president probably forgot that he lied," Avlon said. "This is what happens when you sort of live in a web of lies — occasionally you contradict yourself."
Trump's admission he sent Giuliani means he's either "either emboldened after his acquittal in the Senate impeachment trial or comfortable on the show of a longtime friend," suggests New York's Matt Stieb. But he wasn't fooling anyone to begin with. On his July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Stieb notes, Trump told Zelensky that "Rudy very much knows what's happening and he is a very capable guy. If you could speak to him that would be great."