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It’s typical of this political era that Rudy is indignant at being accused of intoxication but not of ringleading an attempted autogolpe.

It’s also not clear to me why the committee is keen to emphasize the claim that he was drunk. It’s not as if Giuliani thought better of overthrowing American democracy once he’d sobered up.

There’s good PR sense here in treating Cheney as the source of this allegation. She’s a hate object for MAGA so Trumpers will naturally take Giuliani’s word over hers:

But the “Rudy was hosed” detail didn’t come from Cheney, who obviously wasn’t at the White House on election night. It came from Trump flunky Jason Miller, a man whom Trumpers are less inclined to distrust.

For what it’s worth, Michael Wolff reported the same thing in his book last year:

Wolff described how on the night of November 3, 2020, the former New York City mayor was struggling to maintain his balance while trying to convince others that Trump had won re-election.

At one point, he was pulled aside into the White House’s china room by several aides of the former president, Raw Story reported. “And at that moment, Rudy was incredibly drunk, weaving this way and that way,” Wolff told MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell on Friday afternoon.

“And the china, those place settings from every president are very valuable, and Trump’s aides were obviously, or rightfully, concerned about what Giuliani was saying to the president about the election, and giving him this misinformation,” Wolff continued. “But they were also concerned that he was going to break the china.”

The point in showcasing this detail at the hearing, I suppose, was to emphasize that the “stop the steal” campaign was so nutty that it began with a man who was literally in a diminished state when he pleaded its case. For Rudy and Trump, it was the blind leading the blind — the sloppy drunk leading the febrile narcissist. The idea of a massive plot to rig the vote across multiple swing states was so goofy that you had to be under the influence of something to believe it, or so goes the implication.

But that clearly wasn’t true, as we saw in the weeks following, unless the “something” that was influencing everyone was a cult mentality bred by hypermotivated reasoning. Either way, it wasn’t booze. Especially not for Trump, a teetotaler.

The fact that Giuliani continues to talk like this 17 months later suggests the underlying malady here runs deeper than having had a few too many:

Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien was keen to distance himself from Giuliani in his testimony, telling the committee that he was part of “Team Normal” within the campaign during the post-election period in contrast to Team Rudy:

That’s cute, but Stepien said nothing at the time to undermine what Trump and Giuliani were up to. In fact, an irony of the January 6 committee hearings is that they’ve become an opportunity for more establishment-affiliated Trump alumni like Barr and Stepien to launder their reputations and regain a bit of mainstream credibility in Washington by turning on Trump after serving him loyally for years. Stepien grumbles at the end of the clip about Team Rudy’s lack of honesty and unprofessionalism in pushing the Big Lie, yet at this very moment he’s serving as an advisor to Cheney’s Trump-backed primary opponent, who goes around winking at “rigged election” conspiracy theories. Stepien doesn’t get to wear a halo now for having been a passive enabler of Trump rather than an active one like Giuliani, writes Tim Miller:

“Team Normal” is the latest example of a delusion that was ingrained deep within the Republican ruling class during the Trump era. It was filled with, as I categorized them in Why We Did It, “messiahs” and “junior messiahs” who told themselves they were one of the good ones, trying to nudge things in the right direction—from the inside. In this perverted mindset, the crazier things got, the more it proved that their nudging would be needed the next time things got out of hand. And so they soldiered on. Again and again and again.

But the story the messiahs are telling themselves ain’t the truth. They weren’t nudging Trump along with them, Trump was nudging them along with him. They were dupes being used to provide cover for the crazy anytime the Wall Street Journal came calling.

Bill Stepien wasn’t on “Team Normal.” He was on “Team Coup.” After the election he just decided to move back to the jump seats rather than keep riding shotgun, so as to protect his career.

The same goes for this guy. Where was he during two months of insurrection incitement in the winter of 2020-21?

Ah, right, I remember. Four days after the election, when Trump had already begun to claim he’d won it, Mulvaney published the legendary op-ed, “If He Loses, Trump Will Concede Gracefully.” That’s the sort of keen analysis you can only develop after closely observing Trump’s character for 15 months as his chief of staff.

I do wonder if the sheer accumulation of evidence at the hearings won’t begin to sour some Republican voters on Trump, if only indirectly. None will dare admit they’ve been persuaded that he’s unfit for office based on the testimony of, uh, Trump’s own top appointees, like Bill Barr. But they might cope with what they’re hearing by telling themselves that, even if it’s all a lie, there are bound to be swing voters who believe it and that’ll make Trump less electable in 2024. It’s a witch hunt! — but an effective witch hunt. So maybe we should opt for DeSantis next time.