I think everybody is getting it wrong. Rudy Giuliani is neither playing 5 dimensional chess nor screwing up. Rudy is working to dispose of Michael Cohen to protect the President. To do so, he had to change the Stormy Daniels narrative. Keep a few things in mind.
- Though the President thinks Cohen will stay loyal, Giuliani has told associates and the President he thinks Cohen will turn on the President.
- The President and Giuliani have talked separately and independently of the White House staff.
- They have agreed to change the story.
All three of those points have been reported by multiple outlets and are not in dispute by the White House. There is an additional key point that must be reiterated here. Most of the President's supporters now are okay believing he cheated on his pregnant wife with a porn star and they simply do not care. The President's polling has been remarkably stable. Because of that, Giuliani was safe acknowledging that the President was involved in something with Stormy Daniels, though they still deny a sexual relationship. Now it is just that Daniels was extorting the President.
So Giuliani changed the story from one of the President being uninvolved at all to the President being involved, but not knowing it. Now the story is that Michael Cohen was the President's long time fixer. He operated with the best interests of his client in mind. Trump kept Cohen on retainer and sometimes got invoices for large sums indicating Cohen had fixed something. The President totally trusted Cohen and at no time thought Cohen would be bilking the President out of money.
That change of story now makes it possible for the President to admit that he did pay Michael Cohen money to reimburse Cohen for paying Daniels, but allows the President to maintain deniability over what exactly the money went towards.
This is where Giuliani's latest statement comes into play. Less than twenty-four hours after his comments to Hannity, Giuliani made a statement to the effect of how damaging it would have been to Trump if that Stormy Daniels story came out during the Clinton-Trump debate. It could have killed his election chances.
To many outside observers, that sounds like Giuliani is admitting Trump paid off Daniels to help the election and therefore a campaign finance violation exists. But wait a minute. Giuliani had first laid the groundwork that Trump had no knowledge of what he was paying.
In other words, Giuliani is admitting that, in his mind, the payment from Cohen to Daniels was done to benefit Trump in the election by stopping a story from surfacing. But Giuliani is concurrently trying to establish that they only person who knew this at the time was Michael Cohen. Therefore, if anyone is in trouble for a campaign finance violation, Michael Cohen is. The President would have had to have knowledge of his lawyer's actions, which Giuliani claims Trump lacked.
All of this is Giuliani setting Michael Cohen up to be the bad guy before Cohen can turn on the President. He's trying to narrative shift because, with the records seized in Cohen's office, there is no way the President will be able to maintain the lie that he never reimbursed Cohen. And then, if Cohen turns on the President, Giuliani has the path paved to discredit him.