Giuliani: Will he take the rap for Ukraine?
President Trump and Republicans have found their fall guy, said Jonathan Chait in NYMag.com. For weeks, GOP House members have signaled that they intend to portray Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, “as a rogue agent” who was acting on his own, rather than on Trump’s orders, in arm-twisting Ukraine into announcing an investigation of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. Now Trump has all but made this “fantastical” strategy official. Asked by former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly if he’d directed Giuliani to go to Ukraine, Trump said, “No, I didn’t direct him, but Rudy’s a warrior.” When O’Reilly asked what Giuliani was doing there, Trump said you’d “have to ask that to Rudy.” In an even more astonishing descent into “gaslighting,” Trump said Giuliani might have been serving “other clients” when he went to Ukraine.
“Even for Trump, that’s a brazen set of lies,” said Paul Waldman in The Washington Post. The rough transcript of the July 25 phone call in which he asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for a “favor”—investigating Biden—clearly shows him saying, “Rudy very much knows what’s happening…. If you could speak to him, that would be great.” And by his own admission, Giuliani “engineered the firing” of former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch when she tried to block his efforts to seize control of U.S. policy there. Multiple witnesses have testified that Trump “repeatedly decreed that Ukraine policy should be coordinated with Giuliani.” As Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland told House investigators, “He just kept saying, ‘Talk to Rudy, talk to Rudy.’”
The president’s strategy could badly backfire, said TheDispatch.com in an editorial. Giuliani is now under federal investigation for his activities in Ukraine. Twice, during recent interviews, he said he had “insurance” to keep Trump from throwing him under the bus. That’s a pretty ominous warning to Trump from a guy who surely doesn’t want to spend a day in prison. What a fall from grace, said Gregory Wallance in TheHill.com. Once lauded as a fearless prosecutor who brought the Mafia to heel, then as the mayor who rallied New York City following 9/11, he’s been exposed as an “unscrupulous, scheming conniver” willing to lie shamelessly and smear anyone who gets in his way. He’ll go down in history as the human “hand grenade” who “blew everyone up.” ■