Rudy Corrupting In Real Time

Ken AshfordL'Affaire Ukraine, Trump & Administration, Trump ImpeachmentLeave a Comment

So as I wrote before, Rudy is in Ukraine right now, suypposedly doing a documentary for OANN. But even Trump supporters are skeptical.

Rudy tweeted last night:

Giuliani is saying out loud that corruption (1) specifically means Joe Biden, and (2) Ukraine must satisfy Giuliani and Trump by investigating it in order to get “assistance” from the United States. He is literally tweeting out the quid pro quo.

And lest there be any ambiguity as to whether Giuliani is speaking on Trump’s behalf, he has dispelled it. Giuliani called his trip “work being done by a lawyer defending his client” to the Daily Beast, and tells the right-wing news network OANN: “The president of the United States, I can tell you this, is asking for this.”

The Republican argument insists that Trump held up military aid and a presidential meeting in order to vouchsafe that the new Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, was really serious about ending corruption. “The Ukrainian government considered issuing a public anti-corruption statement to convey that President Zelensky was ‘serious and different’ from previous Ukrainian regimes,” argues the report. And once Trump was assured Zelensky really had broken from Ukraine’s corrupt old ways, he released the military aid.

So … since Ukraine apparently satisfied Trump’s concerns, why is Rudy there at all now?

Then Rudy started spilling…

Then this morning (sorry, you need to read in reverse order because Rudy doesn’t know how to thread)

I’m not sure what the $5.38 billion going to favored NGOs has to do with Biden. Yes, the prior administration of Ukraine was corrupt — no doubt about it. But Zelensky ran against corruption and there had been many reforms. Why was he required to investigate old corruption (including Burisma) before he got the military aid that Congress required to have sent?

Anyway, the aid was released. So … since Ukraine apparently satisfied Trump’s concerns, why is Rudy there at all now?

Indeed, at this moment, Giuliani is palling around with some of the most corrupt Ukrainians from the old regime. Giuliani held a confab yesterday with pro-Russian Ukrainian MP Andriy Derkach, a former member of the Party of Regions, which was deposed in a popular uprising against its extravagant corruption:

Giuliani is also meeting with Kostyantyn Kulyk, Yuriy Lutsenko, and Viktor Shokin, three notoriously corrupt Ukrainian officials.

It’s long been perfectly obvious that Trump has not only no interest in reducing Ukrainian corruption, but an active interest in reviving it. Still, Giuliani seems intent on snatching away whatever fig leaf Trump’s allies have tried to maintain. That Zelensky is serious and different from previous regimes is exactly what Trump and Giuliani are afraid of.

And finally, the House Republican report takes great pains to insist Giuliani’s contacts with Ukraine were specifically requested by the latter, not foisted upon it. “President Zelensky did not express any concern about Mayor Giuliani’s engagement — in fact, President Zelensky, not President Trump, first referenced Mayor Giuliani in the conversation,” argues the report, “Evidence shows that the Ukrainian government, and specifically Zelensky adviser Andrey Yermak, initiated contact with Mayor Giuliani — and not the other way around.” Therefore, Republicans suggest, Giuliani (and his shady Russian partners, Parnas and Fruman) provided a welcome service to Zelensky, rather than shaking him down for political favors.

And yet here we have the Ukrainian government openly saying they do not want Giuliani in their country. “An official in Zelensky’s office said the president was caught off guard by Giuliani’s arrival, learning about it from the media,” reports BuzzFeed, “The official emphasized that there are ‘no official meetings’ planned with him.”

The headline on ABC’s report on the trip reads, “Giuliani in Ukraine with conservative news outlet in effort to discredit impeachment probe.” The only impeachment report Giuliani is discrediting is the Republican one. He’s vindicating the Democratic impeachment report.

Trump has openly said he has an “absolute right” to demand any country investigate anybody he doesn’t like for any reason of his choosing. He’s not even bothering to pause briefly for impeachment to end before he resumes. If Republicans allow him to stay in office, he will simply keep doing the same thing over and over, and they will have given him permission to do so.


UPDATE — another Rudy tweet just now:

He just thought of it? He had that planned!

These notes sure sound like something House investigators might want to get their hands on. Too bad the White House is blocking them from accessing thousands of pages of documents and records and at least a dozen witnesses.