- President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani told The Hill on Tuesday that he was referencing “Game of Thrones” when he told a crowd at Trump’s January 6 “Save America” rally that “we will have a trial by combat.”
- “I was referencing the kind of trial that took place for Tyrion in that very famous documentary about fictitious medieval England,” Giuliani told reporter Brett Samuels. “When Tyrion, who is a very small man, is accused of murder. He didn’t commit murder, he can’t defend himself, and he hires a champion to defend him.”
- Giuliani insisted the comment “incited no violent response from the crowd.”
- The New York Bar Association has opened up an inquiry into whether Giuliani should be disbarred over his involvement in the January 6 insurrection.
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Just hours before the Capitol Building insurrection last Wednesday, President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani called for “trial by combat” in front of a mob of angry Trump supporters, but now says he was “referencing ‘Game of Thrones,'” not calling for a violent battle.
Giuliani, along with President Trump and Donald Trump Jr., spoke in front of hundreds of protesters outside of the White House on the afternoon of January 6, 2021, as part of the “Save America” rally. Hours later, a group of pro-Trump supporters breached the Capitol Building, clashing with police and causing damage. Five people, including one police officer, were left dead after the insurrection.
At the “Save America” rally Giuliani repeated baseless claims about election fraud and told the audience, “If we are wrong, we will be made fools of, but if we’re right, a lot of them will go to jail. So let’s have trial by combat.”
Speaking to The Hill on Tuesday, Giuliani told reporter Brett Samuels that he was referencing “Game of Thrones,” which he called the “famous documentary about fictitious medieval England.”
“I was referencing the kind of trial that took place for Tyrion in that very famous documentary about fictitious medieval England,” Giuliani told Samuels. “When Tyrion, who is a very small man, is accused of murder. He didn’t commit murder, he can’t defend himself, and he hires a champion to defend him.”
It’s unclear who Giuliani is referring to as the “Tyrion” in this story.
Giuliani went on to say that what he was actually referring to was a “trial between machines,” an allusion to the legal battles Trump has waged against Dominion Voting Systems. The president, along with Giuliani and pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell, has often baselessly claimed that the voting machines were “rigged.”
“I’m talking about trial between machines,” he continued. “In fact, you’ll see it comes up exactly in the context of I challenge them to allow us to examine their machines. And then I say the consequences of the trial by combat will be if they prove that we’re wrong, well be exceedingly embraced, all be disgraced. If we prove that they’re wrong, they go to jail.”
Giuliani went on to say that his “trial by combat” comment was not actually a call to violence.
“It incited no violent response from the crowd,” he told Samuels. “None. The crowd didn’t jump up saying, ‘Lock him up, throw him to jail, go to hell.’ I’ve had speeches where people jump up and say, ‘lock him up’. It was not an emotional … it was not an emotional, inspiring part of the speech.”
Just an hour after Giuliani spoke, and Trump encouraged the crowd to “walk down to the Capitol” to “cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women, and we’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them,” a phalanx of the president’s supporters violently breached the Capitol Building.
Trump told the crowd, “You’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.”
Read more: GOP kicks Trump to curb after deadly Capitol insurrection, leaving president to fend for himself during his historic second impeachment
During his interview with The Hill, Giuliani again repeated claims that the election was fraudulent, and said that the president bears “no responsibility” for the Capitol insurrection. He also baselessly claimed the Capitol breach was led by antifa members impersonating Trump supporters and criticized House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy for claiming otherwise.
McCarthy told Trump during a heated call on Monday according to Axios that the mob was “not antifa – it’s MAGA. I know I was there.”
“Kevin McCarthy doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about,” Giuliani told The Hill. “He doesn’t investigate. He’s part of the Washington establishment. They make up the truth and they repeat it to each other. You think they ever bother to investigate?”
Emails to both Giuliani and McCarthy were not immediately returned.
Giuliani may be disbarred over his involvement in the insurrection
Though Giuliani claims his statements weren’t intended to rile the mob, several institutions have distanced themselves from him in recent days.
The New York Bar Association has opened up an inquiry into whether Giuliani should be disbarred. The bylaws of the association state that “no person who advocates the overthrow of the government of the United States, or of any state, territory or possession thereof, or of any political subdivision therein, by force or other illegal means, shall be a member of the Association.”
Several members of Congress, including Reps. Mondaire Jones and Ted Lieu, sent a letter to the NYBA urging them to disbar the former New York Mayor.
On Wednesday, Middlebury College announced it was revoking Giuliani’s honorary degree over his role in “fomenting the violent uprising against our nation’s Capitol.”