Host Laura Ingraham noted that Giuliani’s suggestion was “novel” and that congressional immunity prevents House members from being sued for anything they say on the floor. But outside those parameters, Giuliani argued, they could be held liable for forming a “conspiracy” to deprive the president of his constitutional rights.
“This is worse than McCarthy!” he declared, an apparent reference to Joseph McCarthy, the former Republican senator from Wisconsin.
Giuliani has found himself at the center of the expanding investigation into Trump’s request that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky probe former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter. Last week, The Washington Post reported that the president’s personal attorney had spent months subverting foreign policy officials to further Trump’s agenda in Ukraine. Since then, he’s appeared on cable news almost every night, making increasingly combative claims.
On Tuesday, he suggested that although Congress’s oversight of the presidency is among the country’s founding principles, he might sue members for violating attorney-client privilege and obstruction of justice over their investigation of the whistleblower’s complaint. The former New York mayor singled out Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), who is leading the probe as chairman of the Intelligence Committee and was one of three committee chairs on Monday to demand that Giuliani hand over all records concerning Ukraine and the Biden family.
Giuliani also alleged that members of Congress were interfering with the president’s ability to direct foreign policy under Article II of the Constitution, and echoed Trump’s previous claim that Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) had “threatened” withholding Democratic support from Zelensky during a September meeting. Murphy has said that he only told Zelensky that Ukraine should not become involved in the 2020 election and should communicate directly with the State Department rather than Trump’s campaign.
“They’re calling foreign leaders,” Giuliani said on Tuesday night. “They are going to foreign capitals.”
As Ingraham highlighted a Tuesday tweet from Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) saying that Trump “needs to be imprisoned & placed in solitary confinement,” Giuliani brought up another potential target for litigation. “How about the gentleman who threatened to arrest the attorney general?” he asked.
While it’s not clear who Giuliani was referring to, multiple Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee who voted to find Attorney General William P. Barr in contempt in May noted that Congress has the power to arrest or even jail officials who fail to comply with subpoenas. (In June, Democrats backed away from those efforts after reaching a deal with the Justice Department, and the measure was not brought to a vote before the full House.)
When Ingraham tried to steer the conversation elsewhere, Giuliani offered up yet another hypothetical civil action, bringing up the anonymous whistleblower.
“He might be telling the truth, but he might be lying,” Giuliani said. “Suppose there was a conspiracy to develop that with members of Congress. That wouldn’t be immune. That would be a conspiracy to violate civil rights.”
Pressed on whether he had any evidence of such a conspiracy, Trump’s personal attorney replied, “I’m saying, suppose there could be.”
Following Giuliani’s appearance on “The Ingraham Angle,” the Atlantic’s White House correspondent, Elaina Plott, tweeted a screen shot of a text exchange in which Giuliani said he was considering filing a lawsuit “to end lawless action.” When asked who, in particular, he planned to sue, Giuliani responded, “The Swamp.” The court case, he proposed, would be titled, “Trump v The Swamp.”
Asked how he would go about suing “The Swamp” — an amorphous term generally used to refer to lobbyists and special interest groups, which Trump has also used as a stand-in for Washington’s political establishment — Giuliani replied, “In federal court.”