Tapper did not challenge Giuliani's claim that he did not "get[] the information" about Kerik

››› ››› JULIE MILLICAN

In an interview with Rudy Giuliani, ABC News' Jake Tapper let Giuliani claim, without challenge, that "[t]he mistake" he made in "appointing [Bernard Kerik] police commissioner [and] Department of Corrections chair," "was not getting the information" that Kerik had ties to Interstate Industrial, a company with suspected connections to organized crime. However, in April 2006, Giuliani reportedly "acknowledged" in "testimony to a state grand jury" that "the city investigations commissioner ... had told him that he had been briefed at least once" about Kerik's connections to the company.

During his November 8 interview with Republican presidential candidate and former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, ABC News chief political correspondent Jake Tapper did not challenge Giuliani's claim that "[t]he mistake was not getting the information" about the ties his embattled former police commissioner Bernard Kerik had to Interstate Industrial Corp., a company with suspected connections to organized crime. During the interview, Tapper asked Giuliani, "Was it a mistake appointing him police commissioner; Department of Corrections chair?" Giuliani replied, "The mistake was not getting the information," suggesting that he had not been aware of Kerik's relationship with Interstate Industrial. But, according to a November 3 New York Times article, in 2006, Giuliani "acknowledged" in "testimony to a state grand jury" that "the city investigations commissioner, Edward J. Kuriansky, had told him that he had been briefed at least once" about Kerik's connections to the company. Additionally, according to the Times, Kuriansky also briefed Giuliani's chief of staff and had documentation of both "sessions." The Times previously reported that Giuliani testified "that he had no memory of the briefing, but did not dispute that it had taken place." Tapper did not ask Giuliani about his reported acknowledgment that Kuriansky has said that he briefed him on Kerik's connections to Interstate Industrial.

On November 8, Kerik was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges ranging from corruption to tax evasion, which, according to the New York Daily News, included "charges that Kerik tried to influence a city investigation of a reputedly mob-linked contractor who was secretly renovating his Bronx apartment." Kerik pleaded not guilty. From the Daily News:

The grand jurors voted to indict Kerik on charges ranging from official corruption to tax evasion. Topping the list were charges that Kerik tried to influence a city investigation of a reputedly mob-linked contractor who was secretly renovating his Bronx apartment.

When the indictment is unsealed today, Kerik will be charged with theft of services for working on behalf of the contractor while he was supposed to be representing the city's best interests, sources familiar with the case said. The grand jury also voted to indict Kerik on charges that he made false statements on his application when President Bush named him to be the nation's Homeland Security director, the sources said.

He'll also be charged with conspiracy and tax evasion.

As the Daily News reported, in addition to appointing him police commissioner, Giuliani had previously "promoted" Kerik to "run the city's jail" and later "pushed him" with the Bush administration "for the Homeland Security job" to head the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

ABCNews.com posted a video excerpt of the interview online, which shows Giuliani responding to Tapper's question about whether it was "a mistake appointing" Kerik "police commissioner [and] Department of Corrections chair," by saying, "The mistake was not getting the information." In a different portion of the interview, aired during the November 8 broadcast of ABC's World News, Giuliani added: "I should have known about them. And had I known about them at the moment I knew about them, I would not have gone ahead with it." Tapper did not challenge either of those statements.

But on November 3, the Times reported that, "last year in testimony to a state grand jury," Giuliani "acknowledged" that Kuriansky "told him that he had been briefed at least once." Giuliani claimed that "neither he nor any of his aides could recall being briefed about Mr. Kerik's involvement with the company." The Times added:

But a review of Mr. Kuriansky's diaries, and investigators' notes from a 2004 interview with him, now indicate that such a session indeed took place. What is more, Mr. Kuriansky also recalled briefing one of Mr. Giuliani's closest aides, Dennison Young Jr., about Mr. Kerik's entanglements with the company just days before the police appointment, according to the diaries he compiled at the time and his later recollection to the investigators.

The additional evidence raises questions not only about the precision of Mr. Giuliani's recollection, but also about how a man who proclaims his ability to pick leaders came to overlook a jumble of disturbing information about Mr. Kerik, even as he pushed him for two crucial government positions.

The indictment lists among Kerik's charges, "conspiracy to deprive the City of New York and its citizens of their intangible right to ... honest services," and includes other charges stemming from his allegedly improper relationship with "company 'XYZ,' " presumably Interstate Industrial. From the indictment:

9. XYZ was under investigation by several government agencies including the New York City Department of Investigation ("NYCDOI"), the New York City Business Integrity Commission ("NYCBIC"), the New York City Trade Waste Commission ("NYCTWC") and the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement ("NJDOGE"). These agencies sought to determine, among other things, whether the company had ties to organized crime and whether XYZ, its principals and key employees possessed the requisite integrity to perform publicly funded or regulated contracts.

10. In or about late 1998, XYZ enlisted the influence and assistance of BERNARD B. KERIK in its efforts to convince regulators that the company had rid itself of mob ties and otherwise possessed the requisite integrity to perform publicly funded or regulated contracts.

11. In or about April and May 1999, BERNARD B. KERIK advised John Doe #3 [previously identified as an employee of company XYZ] that he was purchasing a cooperative apartment in Riverdale, New York (the "Riverdale Apartment"), which he planned to renovate and asked for money to pay for the renovations.

12. After KERIK purchased the apartment, XYZ arranged and paid for an architect and an interior designer to redesign and renovate the apartment. The design and renovation of the apartment included demolishing old walls, and constructing new walls and floors, a new kitchen, new marble bathrooms with a Jacuzzi, and a marble entrance rotunda. After the design was complete, XYZ hired and paid a general contractor to renovate BERNARD B. KERIK'S Riverdale Apartment. XYZ paid a total of more that $255,000 to contractors and subcontractors who renovated KERIK'S Riverdale Apartment.

[...]

14. During the period that BERNARD B. KERIK requested and received these benefits from XYZ, he assisted the company by contacting regulators and other public officials on XYZ's behalf so that XYZ would be permitted to do municipal-regulated business.

In 2006, Kerik pleaded guilty to, as the Times reported, "failing to report a loan and accepting a gift -- renovations to his apartment worth $165,000."

As Media Matters for America noted, a leaked memo detailing Giuliani's 2008 campaign plans appeared to include Kerik on a list of several potential "prob[lems]" that may be "insurm[ountable]."

From the video excerpt ABCNews.com posted of Tapper's interview with Giuliani:

CHARLES GIBSON (ABC's World News anchor): ABC's chief political correspondent Jake Tapper is traveling with Mr. Giuliani in Iowa and asked him about the [then-]pending indictment for Kerik.

[begin video clip]

GIULIANI: I made mistakes when I was the mayor, and I make mistakes as a candidate -- and I'm going to make mistakes as the president. The question is: Do I make a lot more correct decisions than I make wrong ones? And do I recognize the wrong ones that I make as soon as I can figure out and try to change? And in that particular case, the mistake that I made was: I should have checked him out more carefully. I should have been the one that insisted on that.

TAPPER: Was it a mistake appointing him police commissioner; Department of Corrections chair?

GIULIANI: The mistake was not getting the information. On the other side of it is, he did a very good job. I know people don't like to hear that, but he did.

TAPPER: Do you think that talking about what a good job he does at all diminishes the potential crimes he committed?

GIULIANI: No.

TAPPER: I mean, it's almost like saying he did a good job --

GIULIANI: Of course not.

TAPPER: -- that it might excuse it.

GIULIANI: Of course not.

TAPPER: No?

GIULIANI: How about, it's realistic? It's the complexity of human life, and the reality of human life. And sometimes, in political discussion, we get very simplistic, and we get to yes or no answers.

[end video clip]

GIBSON: Rudolph Giuliani, commenting on the pending possible indictment of Bernard Kerik, who was his police commissioner when he was mayor of New York.

From the November 8 edition of ABC News' World News with Charles Gibson:

GIBSON: In an interview with our Jake Tapper today, Giuliani admitted he made a mistake in recommending Kerik for Homeland Security secretary, but also defended him.

[begin video clip]

GIULIANI: You know, people are complex, but the fact is that the results for the city of New York were excellent results. But there were these problems I should have known about. And had I known about them at the moment I knew about them, I would not have gone ahead with it.

TAPPER: Do you think that talking about what a good job he does at all diminishes the potential crimes he committed?

GIULIANI: No.

TAPPER: I mean, it's almost like saying he did a good job --

GIULIANI: Of course not.

TAPPER: -- that it might excuse it.

GIULIANI: Of course not.

TAPPER: No?

GIULIANI: How about, it's realistic? It's the complexity of human life, and the reality of human life.

Network/Outlet
ABC
Person
Jake Tapper
Show/Publication
ABC World News Tonight
Stories/Interests
Rudy Giuliani, 2008 Elections
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