House Republicans appear to be throwing Giuliani, Sondland, and Mulvaney under the bus to save Trump

Mick Mulvaney
(Image credit: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images)

House Republicans appear to have a new strategy to defend President Trump from mounting evidence that he used the U.S. government to squeeze Ukraine for politically beneficial investigations of Democratic rivals past and present: Talk loudly and throw other Trump allies under the bus. Specifically, The Washington Post reports, Trump's House defenders are effectively offering up U.S. Ambassador Gordon Sondland, Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, and acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney "to be fall guys" in the Ukraine scandal.

All three Trump allies played overlapping roles in the Ukraine story: Sondland informed Ukraine it had to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden to get a White House audience and unfreeze military aid; Trump told his ad hoc Ukraine team to go through Giuliani, who reportedly specified the targets Ukraine needed to investigate and was also behind the ouster of U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovich; and Mulvaney was involved in freezing the Ukraine aid and admitted on camera it was tied to Ukraine investigating the Democratic National Committee, a statement he later tried to walk back.

House Republicans have now started "sowing doubts about whether Sondland, Giuliani, and Mulvaney were actually representing the president or freelancing to pursue their own agendas," the Post reports. This is just one theory Republicans are testing out — others include that Trump didn't have "corrupt intent," that quid pro quos are commonplace, and that Trump is too incompetent to carry one off. "In a sign of how the GOP is scrambling, however, many of those theories run counter to each other," the Post notes.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.

SUBSCRIBE & SAVE
https://cdn.mos.cms.futurecdn.net/flexiimages/jacafc5zvs1692883516.jpg

Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

The blame-the-aides strategy also isn't without risks. Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen flipped after being fed under the bus, and on MSNBC Thursday night, former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner speculated to Ari Melber that if Giuliani is charged in either of the two investigations where he's a central figure, "there's nowhere to go but up," and rather than risk prison, "he's gonna sing." Peter Weber

To continue reading this article...
Continue reading this article and get limited website access each month.
Get unlimited website access, exclusive newsletters plus much more.
Cancel or pause at any time.
Already a subscriber to The Week?
Not sure which email you used for your subscription? Contact us