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Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani explains his tweet taunting John Brennan

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Rudy Giuliani and John Brennan
Rudy Giuliani and John
Brennan.

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  • President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy
    Giuliani taunted former CIA Director John Brennan on
    Monday. 
  • He said he and Jay Sekulow, another of Trump’s lawyers,
    would battle Brennan in court if he filed a lawsuit over Trump
    stripping him of his security clearance.
  • Giuliani told Business Insider that he would be
    representing Trump personally — not the US government at
    large.
  • Walter Shaub, the former director of the Office of
    Government Ethics who is often critical of the president and
    his administration, said the claim that Giuliani and Sekulow
    would represent Trump personally in such a lawsuit is “likely
    hogwash.”

On Monday, President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy
Giuliani prompted strong reaction on Twitter when he taunted
former CIA Director John Brennan as “a blowhard” and said he
would battle Brennan in court if he filed a lawsuit over Trump
stripping him of his security clearance.

“To John Brennan: Today President Trump granted our request (Jay
Sekulow and me) to handle your case,” Giuliani tweeted, referring to another
of Trump’s lawyers. “Come on John you’re not a blowhard?”

Some confusion followed the tweet. Would Giuliani and Sekulow be
opposite Brennan in a civil case or an internal appeal of the
ex-CIA director’s clearance revocation (the proceeding that would
typically follow such a dispute)? And would the two lawyers be
representing Trump personally or would they be arguing on behalf
of the US government?

In a text message to Business Insider, Giuliani
said they would be personally representing Trump — and not the US
government — in a possible civil suit.


Donald Trump
Donald Trump.
Rick
Loomis/Getty Images


The exchange followed Trump’s decision to revoke Brennan’s
clearance last week in response to his public criticism of the
president. The White House also provided a list of additional
officials — one currently serving in the Justice Department and
other former government officials — who may soon also be stripped
of their clearances.

Soon after revoking Brennan’s clearance, however, Trump remarked
to The Wall Street Journal that Brennan’s involvement with the
wide-ranging Russia investigation influenced his decision.

In a Sunday interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Brennan said he
had been urged to file a lawsuit against the president as a way
to stop him from revoking more clearances.

“If my clearances and my reputation, as I’m being pulled through
the mud now, if that’s the price we’re going to pay to prevent
Donald Trump from doing this against other people, to me, it’s a
small price to pay,” he said. “So I am going to do whatever I can
personally to try to prevent these abuses in the future. And if
it means going to court, I will, I will do that.”

Trump tweeted Monday that he hoped Brennan would sue, saying he
was the “worst CIA Director in our country’s history.” Trump
added that such a filing would allow for the revelation of
Brennan’s “records, texts, emails and documents to show not only
the poor job he did, but how he was involved with the Mueller
Rigged Witch Hunt” through the discovery process.

Discovery is a two-way street, however, and Trump would be
opening himself up to the same level of scrutiny in such a
lawsuit.

‘It’s cute, but it’s all just so much sound and tiny fury
signifying nothing’

In an interview with The New York Times, Giuliani
suggested that Brennan had no need for such a clearance because
no current officials would “call upon him for advice.”

But Giuliani also said his tweet aimed at Brennan was posted in
jest.

“Of course it is,” he said. “I don’t take the threat of the
lawsuit seriously, so my statements aren’t serious.”

Responding to a tweet from
this reporter clarifying Giuliani’s initial tweet, Walter Shaub,
the former director of the Office of Government Ethics who is
often critical of the president and his administration, said the
claim that Giuliani and Sekulow would represent Trump personally
in such a lawsuit is “likely hogwash.”

“First, Brennan is unlikely to sue Trump in his personal
capacity,” Shaub wrote. “Second, if he does, Trump will have
sovereign immunity. Third, DOJ is expert in defending against
attempts to breach sovereign immunity, and Trump would be a fool
to tell DOJ to stand down in favor of Giuliani.”

He said Giuliani’s tweet was akin to “the yipping of a 5-pound
Yorkshire Terrier looking out the window at a bigger dog who is
wearing a muzzle and has a body builder holding his leash.”

“It’s cute, but it’s all just so much sound and tiny fury
signifying nothing,” he added.

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