On Special Report, Krauthammer asserted that Giuliani's recommendation of Kerik for DHS secretary "is, in some odd way, exonerating"

››› ››› MATT GERTZ

On the November 9 edition of Fox News' Special Report, during a discussion of how Republican presidential candidate and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani has "dealt with" his former police commissioner Bernard Kerik's recent 16-count federal indictment, syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer asserted that "the fact that [Giuliani] recommended [Kerik] for [secretary of the Department of] Homeland Security is, in some odd way, exonerating." Krauthammer continued: "[T]he man is not an idiot. If he had actually thought there was real criminality here, as we see in the indictment, you don't recommend a guy for a post like that if you assume he really is linked with the Mafia, he really has been involved in corruption." 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 Interstate Industrial Corp., which the Times described as a company "suspected of links to organized crime." Additionally, according to the Times, Kuriansky also briefed Giuliani's chief of staff and had documentation of those "sessions," both of which occurred before Giuliani appointed Kerik as police commissioner in 2000.

In response to Krauthammer's comments, Roll Call executive editor Morton M. Kondracke asserted that, according to the Times, "the now deceased investigations commissioner of New York City told Giuliani and told aides of Giuliani that Kerik was involved in this, in this construction company that had mob ties, and that the investigative commissioner did not say that that ruled him out, and Giuliani decided to overlook the allegation and appoint him anyway." Kondracke concluded: "But by the time he recommended him for Homeland Security Commissioner, he darn well knew that the guy was connected to this company."

Indeed, the Times reported that, "last year in testimony to a state grand jury," Giuliani "acknowledged" that the city investigations commissioner, Edward J. Kuriansky, "told him that he had been briefed at least once" about Kerik's ties to Interstate Industrial before Giuliani appointed Kerik police commissioner in 2000. Giuliani claimed that "neither he nor any of his aides could recall being briefed about Mr. Kerik's involvement with the company." Previously, the Times reported in March that Giuliani testified that he "had no memory of the briefing, but he did not dispute that it had taken place."

The November 3 Times article 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.

On December 3, 2004, President Bush nominated Kerik to head the Department of Homeland Security. On December 10, 2004, Kerik withdrew his nomination, reportedly citing as the reason that "he had not paid taxes for a domestic worker who may have been an illegal immigrant."

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 November 9 edition of Fox News' Special Report:

BRET BAIER (guest host): Charles, how do you think Rudy Giuliani has dealt with this? Has he dealt with it effectively? He's said so far, "I made a mistake because I didn't vet him." But as far as the follow-up questions, they don't elicit a lot of answers other than that.

KRAUTHAMMER: Well, I mean his only defense is to say, "He was a friend, I trusted him, he did a good job, and I didn't suspect there was anything serious here."

Look, I think the fact that he recommended him for Homeland Security is, in some odd way, exonerating. I mean, the man is not an idiot. If he had actually thought there was real criminality here, as we see in the indictment, you don't recommend a guy for a post like that if you assume he really is linked with the Mafia, he really has been involved in corruption.

He was a friend, and he overlooked rumors or stories he had heard, even a briefing or two. But in the end, Rudy's image is the sheriff who rode into town and cleaned it up. So he has a deputy who has got a shady past who might have been involved in bad stuff. I don't think it rubs off. He says, "I admitted it. I made a mistake."

Now, if it comes out that he was either aware or enabled or involved in any way in this corruption, he's finished. But I can't imagine he did precisely because he acted as if the guy was above the board in recommending him to the president.

KONDRACKE: Well, there is -- I mean, The New York Times had a big, long story last Saturday indicating that the now-deceased investigations commissioner of New York City told Giuliani and told aides of Giuliani that Kerik was involved in this -- in this construction company that had mob ties, and that the investigative commissioner did not say that that ruled him out, and Giuliani decided to overlook the allegation and appoint him anyway. But by the time he recommended him for Homeland Security commissioner, he darn well knew that the guy was connected to this company.

Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Charles Krauthammer
Show/Publication
Special Report with Brit Hume
Stories/Interests
Rudy Giuliani, 2008 Elections
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