Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, has gone on former Trump White House adviser Steve Bannon’s podcast to talk about the upcoming impeachment trial.
He offered a baseless new theory about the Capitol riot on January 6 – that it was actually orchestrated by Trump’s political opponents, including The Lincoln Project, to make him look bad.
“The defence is going to have to show that this thing was planned, and a lot of the people involved in the planning – Antifa, and then even some right-wing groups were enemies of his – and that they were doing it in order to hurt him,” Giuliani said.
“Including some right-wing groups that operate for The Lincoln Project, or have been working for The Lincoln Project at various times.
“You have a couple of wolves in sheeps’ clothing.”
The Lincoln Project is a group run by anti-Trump Republicans. It’s best known for running ads trolling the former president.
“Hold on, hang on, hang on, what – whoa, whoa, whoa. Right-wing groups like who?” Bannon asked, interrupting.
“One of the people who organised this is well known for having worked with The Lincoln Project in the past. And also, also …” Giuliani began, before Bannon cut him off again.
“OK, but who is it? Rudy, we can’t just say …” he said.
“You have to let me finish, Steve,” Giuliani told him.
“OK. Go ahead,” said Bannon.
“One of the people involved brought in right-wing groups that opposed Trump. And he brought them in specifically because he wanted to blow this thing up,” Giuliani continued.
“He had the same motivation the Antifa people had. So it isn’t as if all these right-wing groups were all pro-Trump. And the biggest problems, violent problems, were caused by Antifa. That’s where the shooting took place. That was surrounded by all Antifa people.
“So how could [Trump] be held responsible for a whole thing that’s planned days before he’s going to speak, that has a mixture of people that hate him, and people that support? He’s not responsible.”
“But who’s the guy working with The Lincoln Project?” Bannon asked, trying one more time to get a straight answer.
“He’s, he’s a … I don’t know if I can reveal his name. Because we have that from anonymous sources,” Giuliani said.
“You’re killing me. God, you’re killing me,” Bannon said.
“He worked in the past for Romney,” said Giuliani.
Mitt Romney, a Republican Senator representing Utah, was the party’s presidential nominee in 2012. He has been a frequent critic of Trump, and was the only Republican Senator to vote in favour of conviction during the former president’s first impeachment trial.
The idea that Antifa was actually behind the violence on January 6 has gained traction among many of Trump’s supporters. The FBI has said there is no evidence of Antifa’s involvement.
The Lincoln Project responded to all this by sharing video of the exchange on Twitter. It reminded its followers of Giuliani’s speech at the “Stop the Steal” rally that immediately preceded the riot, during which he called for “trial by combat”.
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