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rudy's 9 lives
January 23, 2019

President Trump might soon restrict Rudy Giuliani's television privileges, but that's likely as far as his punishment will go for a problematic media tour.

On Sunday, Giuliani announced on Meet the Press that discussions about the Trump Tower Moscow project continued until October or November 2016, meaning that Trump was dealing with Russians throughout the entire campaign, contradicting Trump. Giuliani tried to do damage control on Monday, saying his comments were "hypothetical," but then he dug himself a deeper hole by telling The New Yorker he listened to tapes of Trump and his former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen. When pressed, he backtracked. "I shouldn't have said tapes," Giuliani replied. "No tapes. Well, I have listened to tapes, but none of them concern this."

This left Trump and some of his allies completely agitated, three White House officials told The Associated Press, and Trump is being encouraged to put Giuliani on a TV timeout. His antics have overshadowed what Trump saw as good news: Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office saying portions of a BuzzFeed News article about Trump directing Cohen to lie are not accurate. Giuliani "changed the headlines," but not in a good way, AP notes.

A White House aide told Politico that "handling Rudy's f--kups takes more than one man," but people close to Trump tell CNN and AP that Trump doesn't plan on giving Giuliani the ax. Still, Vanity Fair's Gabriel Sherman reports, Trump's daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner are both urging him to cut ties.

The big question isn't whether Trump will fire Giuliani, but rather, what's behind all the mixed messages? Some theorize that Giuliani likes to drop bombs right before major stories break, but friends of Giuliani say it's simple: He loves being in the spotlight, even if he's struggling to adapt to the current media landscape. As one buddy told Sherman: "There's a school of thought that it's better to be famous and ridiculed than ignored." Catherine Garcia

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