Rudy Giuliani exploded at a reporter for “lying” during a fiery question-and-answer with journalists, where he accused the media of exposing Donald Trump’s lawyers to death threats through “ridiculous” coverage.
The former New York Mayor berated the assembled media throughout the 90-minute press conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington DC on Thursday afternoon, where the Trump campaign laid out sweeping, unproven allegations of a massive voter fraud scheme to steal the election for Joe Biden.
Towards the end of the session – where fellow Trump campaign lawyer Jenna Ellis also unloaded on the “fake” press – Mr Giuliani blew up at a “discourteous” reporter, who continued to talk over him as he attempted to answer her question.
“We’ve seen a lot of your lawsuits and in fact lawyers have been kind of dropping like flies, what do you say to people who call this a ‘Russiagate 2.0’ just on the other side?” Jenn Dize said.
“What fake network do you come from?” Mr Giuliani asked.
“I don’t have a permanent network, in fact I’m completely independent,” Dize said.
“Oh my goodness. Well, first of all our cases haven’t been dismissed. We only have–” Mr Giuliani said.
Dize interrupted, beginning to say “over 20” cases had been thrown out.
“It’s not our case, ma’am,” Mr Giuliani said. “Don’t lie to people.”
She continued to argue her point as Mr Giuliani spoke.
“Ma’am, ma’am, ma’am, you are lying,” he said.
“You’re lying. You’re lying. Oh, continue to lie, I’m not– Ma’am. Ma’am. Ma’am. Ma’am. Ma’am. Ma’am. OK. Let me answer the question. Let me answer the question.”
Getting some clear air, Mr Giuliani said the answer to the question was “we don’t have a lot of lawsuits, we only have three”.
“Our lawsuits have not been dropped all over the place,” he said, prompting more objections from Dize.
“OK, well you’re a totally discourteous person, I’m going to finish my answer,” Mr Giuliani said.
“The fact is we have very few lawsuits, the lawsuits you’re talking about have been brought by private individuals and groups, most of them were dismissed for lack of standing, probably correctly, because they were brought before the election took place. The election is now over.”
Mr Giuliani said the only lawsuit the campaign had withdrawn was one in Michigan, because “we got the relief we wanted”.
He was referring to a case seeking to delay the certification of results, which was dropped after two Republican elections officials said they wanted to rescind their decision to certify Wayne County due to unexplained irregularities.
“We also have another lawsuit in Michigan that will accomplish the other objectives of what we want to do in Michigan, so it’s silly to have two competing lawsuits,” Mr Giuliani said.
“The only lawyer that left a case, left because he was threatened, his family was threatened, his children were threatened, and so was the other lawyer. Yeah, that’s true, we have a little difficulty getting lawyers, because our lawyers get threatened with being killed. Because of the ridiculous way in which you cover this, and the ridiculous way in which you cover–”
Dize began to object.
“I’m not talking about you, I’m talking about everybody, but I get a pretty good sense from the way you handle yourself how you cover it,” Mr Giuliani said. “All right we’re finished with you now.”
Asked by another journalist whether the Trump campaign would continue to “drag out” the process, Mr Giuliani said former Vice President Al Gore “had a lot more time than we’ve had” when he refused to concede for 37 days in 2000.
Mr Giuliani defended not producing more proof for the media, saying “if we’re going to present things in court, if we present it to you judges are not going to be very happy with us”.
“And finally, I have to tell you, our witnesses don’t want to be exposed to the tender mercies of a vicious press,” he said.
“I had great difficulty getting those witnesses that I did reveal to allow me to do it – they don’t trust you, they don’t like you, they think you put their lives in jeopardy with the spin you put on what’s going on here and the unfairness with which you cover it. It’s not easy to reveal the things that they tell me.”
Mr Giuliani said he “can’t do it” because witnesses’ lives would be “put in jeopardy”.
“That comes about because of the hysterical way you have covered Donald Trump and his administration,” he said.
“But we’re going to change all that. We’re going to go to court, we’re going to prove it in court. I would love to give you all of the information I have, except most of you wouldn’t cover it.”
Trump campaign lawyer Harmeet Dhillon made similar comments on Fox News earlier this week, telling host Tucker Carlson lawyers had been harassed for representing the President – including by other lawyers.
“Every lawyer associated with the Trump campaign, even in a spokesperson capacity, like I had been, gets death threats, gets incredible abuse from partners at major law firms,” she said.
“I mean, I’ve had abuse on my Facebook page from managing partners at law firms in San Francisco accusing me of heinous crimes. They represent actual criminals. Some of these lawyers in this case have 24-hour security now. They have death threats. Their offices have been shut down. It is disgusting.”