Let’s indulge those Attorney General Giuliani rumors for a moment

July 24, 2017, 4:48pm

After weeks of tension — and even some direct blows — between President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the president is now reportedly considering former two-time New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani to head the Department of Justice.

Giuliani, who also ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, was an early Trump supporter and often acted as a surrogate during the campaign. His views on crime, terrorism, and immigration — all big priorities for this administration — align closely with Trump’s, making him one of the president’s most loyal advisers.

Advertisement

Yet Giuliani told CNN on Monday that he wasn’t being considered for the role and that Sessions was right to recuse himself from the investigation into Russian meddling in the U.S. election — a move Trump called very unfair to the president. Trump also called the attorney general “beleaguered” in an early-morning tweet on Monday.

Right now, Giuliani serves in an informal role as a cybersecurity adviser to Trump. To get Giuliani on his Cabinet, though, Trump would have to fire Sessions and get Giuliani confirmed by the Senate. Sessions, however, promised last week to remain at the Justice Department “as long as that is appropriate.”

Here’s where Giuliani, dubbed “America’s Mayor” at a 9/11 memorial service, stands on several prominent criminal justice and civil rights issues:

Crime

One of Giuliani’s most prized accomplishments is the drop in crime in New York City. During his tenure as mayor from 1994 to 2001, the number of murders in the city declined by 60 percent. Citing fear of recent rising crime in his speech at the Republican National Convention last year, Giuliani said, “What I did for New York, Donald Trump will do for America.”

Giuliani attributes the drop in crime, which followed a national downward trend, partially to “stop-and-frisk,” the controversial program targeting minority youth for police stops. Despite evidence contradicting the effectiveness of stop-and-frisk and even doubts about its constitutionality, Giuliani defended the program in a September 2016 op-ed, where he claimed that stop-and-frisk “reduced the number of guns, knives, and other dangerous weapons, as well as illicit drugs, in the city.”

Advertisement

For his part, Trump called for a nationwide “stop-and-frisk” policy during the campaign last year.

Immigration

During his tenure as New York City’s mayor in the mid-1990s, Giuliani criticized the anti-immigration movement that “encouraged Americans to fear foreigners, to fear something that is different, and to stop immigration.”

But he’s had no problem adapting to Trump’s immigration policies, like the travel ban and border wall between the U.S. and Mexico. In fact, Giuliani took credit, at least initially, for his role in creating the travel ban, which restricts travel to the U.S. from six Muslim-majority countries and limits the refugee resettlement program.

In January, he told Fox News that he assembled a commission of lawyers to craft the ban after Trump asked him to “show [him] the right way to do it legally.” He also called the ban “perfectly legal, perfectly sensible.”

During the campaign, Giuliani also accompanied Trump on a visit to Mexico to meet Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. Soon after, Giuliani reiterated Trump’s vow to build a southern border wall just after the election. “The wall is going to take a while, he’s going to build it,” he said. “He can do it by executive order.”

Terrorism

While Giuliani was lauded for his calm leadership in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, his wording on terrorism took a Trumpian-turn as he stumped for the president on the campaign trail. Giuliani often used the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism,” one of Trump’s favorites, which most politicians avoid so as not to associate an entire religion with violence.

“We must not be afraid to define our enemy. It is Islamic extremist terrorism,” Giuliani said at the RNC last year.

During the campaign, Giuliani bolstered Trump’s false claim about Muslims in New Jersey celebrating 9/11 on morning talk shows. “We had pockets of celebration, some in Queens, some in Brooklyn,” he said.

And while recently cheering his own decision to surveil mosques after the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, Giuliani went as far as to suggest that the federal government should monitor Muslims on the terror watch list using specialized bracelets.

“I would think that’s an excellent idea,” Giuliani said. “If you’re on the terror watch list, I should know you’re on the terror watchlist. You’re on there for a reason.”

In line with Giuliani, Trump’s administration has floated creating a Muslim registry, and the president personally called for mosque surveillance as a way to prevent terror attacks during his campaign.