Why The Lincoln Project Is Taking on Rudy Guiliani

The Lincoln Project, an anti-Donald Trump conservative political group, is taking on Rudy Guiliani, who has been serving as Trump's personal lawyer, and it's all related to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. Guiliani recently appeared as a guest on former Trump advisor Steve Bannon's War Room podcast to discuss the impending impeachment trial against Trump. During the interview, Guiliani baselessly claimed that The Lincoln Project had a hand in planning the siege at the Capitol, for the purpose of making it look like it was a crowd of Trump supporters.

The Lincoln Project has hit back at Guiliani, with the group revealing that its lawyer, Matthew Sanderson, has issued a letter demanding that he take back his claims or further legal action will be pursued. "You committed a textbook case of defamation," Sanderson wrote in the letter. "You publicly accused The Lincoln Project of an infamous and criminal act it had nothing to do with, as you very well knew. You lied." Guiliani has until Wednesday, Feb. 3, to retract his claims.

While speaking to MSNBC, Lincoln Project co-founder Steve Schmidt stated that he would be "thrilled" to sue the former New York City mayor, as well as Bannon and Trump. "Steve Bannon knows he's going to get sued by us also, and he is, and so is Donald Trump who is Rudy Giuliani's client, and Rudy Giuliani is acting on his behest," Schmidt said. "But look, it is very difficult to sue somebody for defamation or libel in the United States, but our lawyers are telling us that Rudy is well across the line so we're thrilled about this."

Notably, during Giuliani's interview on War Room, Bannon did scold him for his unfounded claims, which came after Giuliani refused to name a man he alleges was involved with the riot and with The Lincoln Project. "The defense is going to have to show that this thing was planned and a lot of the people involved in the planning, Antifa and even some right-wing groups, were enemies of his," Giuliani said. "And they were doing it in order to hurt him. Including some right-wing groups that operate for the Lincoln Project or have been working with the Lincoln Project at various times."

Bannon attempted to force Giuliani to be more transparent, saying, "Hang on. Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa—what are you saying 'working for the Lincoln Project?' Right-wing groups like who?" At this point, Bannon tried again to get Giuliani to name the individual, but he refused. Bannon then chided his fellow Trump-ally for making claims he can't or won't back up with evidence.

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"This is why we're getting blown up all the time," Bannon said. "You can't throw a charge out there like that and say, 'Yeah, I've got a double-secret probation guy who I can't mention but he worked for Romney and he worked for the Lincoln Project.'" At this time, there is no word on whether or not Giuliani intends to issue an apology and retraction.