This is the first in what will be a series of articles breaking down the transcript of the phone call released by Trump of his July 25 conversation with Ukrainian President Zelenskyy. This article addresses Rudy Giuliani’s prominent role in the transcript and explains why he is there.
The release of the above linked transcript of Trump’s call with Zelenskyy is a bombshell, compelling evidence that Trump conspired with the leader of a foreign nation to meddle in our next election. Trump urged the Ukrainian President to investigate Trump’s most likely opponent in the 2020 Presidential race.
Key to all of that was a strange name, Rudy Giuliani. In the call Trump emphasizes Giuliani as his point man for Zelenskyy again and again. In the context of coordinating Urkaine’s meddling in the our next election, here are some of Trump’s references to his personal attorney:
“Mr. Giuliani is a highly respected man. He was the mayor of New York City, a great mayor, and I would like him to call you. I will ask him to call you along with the Attorney General . . . Rudy very much knows what’s happening and he is a very capable guy. If you could speak to him that would be great . . . I will have Mr. Giuliani give you a call.”
All of this leads to some obvious questions.
- Who in the Hell is Rudy Giuliani?
- Is he a diplomat?
- Part of the Department of State?
- Any kind of freaking government employee?
- Any position to represent the government of the United States?
- Confirmed by the Senate, pursuant to our Constitution, to do so?
The answers to those last five questions are, no, no, no, no and no.
There were six questions, the first being “who in the Hell is Rudy Giuliani?” The answer, in terms of our governmental structure is . . . nobody. He is nothing but the personal attorney for Trump. Not White House attorney, not official attorney, not government employed attorney, not a member of the Department of Justice, just Trump’s personal attorney, employed personally by Trump.
In this regards he stands in the same, now prison shoes, of Michael Cohen. He is nothing more than Cohen ever was, just perhaps less honest.
Yet, here is Rudy Giuliani, no kind of government employee, heading up major “diplomatic” initiatives with the Ukraine. An initiative to conduct a criminal investigation of Trump’s political rival, Joe Biden and his son. The FBI is not called upon to do this. The Department of Justice is not either, accept for Attorney General Barr in a secondary role, behind Giuliani who is obviously the primary contact and point man.
In response to this concern Trump Administration talking points, that in another “best people” bumbling moment were sent to every Democrat in Congress, instructed Republicans to argue that Trump only brought up Giuliani after Zelenskyy did.
Many Republicans dutifully regurgitated these talking points.
Here’s the problem. The talking points ignore the context by which Zelenskyy first brought up Giuliani. A context which makes it worse by establishing that Giuliani had already begun diplomatic efforts on behalf of the United States government even though he is not any kind of representative of the United States. As Zelenskyy said,
“I will personally tell you that one of my assistants spoke with Mr. Giuliani just recently and we are hoping very much that Mr. Giuliani will be able to travel to Ukraine and we will meet once he comes to Ukraine.”
Giuliani himself, in the course of two sentences, brilliantly denied he ever asked Ukraine to investigate Biden before saying “of course” he did exactly that. Listen to the typically bizarre, scatterbrained performance by the personal attorney to the President yourself:
So let’s cut to the bottom of this. Why is a man who is not any kind of diplomat, not from the Department of State, not a freaking employee or representative of the United States government of any kind, the primary point of contact and pivot man for a major “diplomatic” initiative for the President of the United States with a foreign government?
The answers are simple. Incredibly simple. It’s for the same reasons Trump previously had prior personal attorney, and now in prison, Michael Cohen do his dirty work. There are at least two reasons:
- Trump hopes that by having his personal attorney perform them he can claim his misdeeds are protected by the attorney/client privilege. More precisely, he hopes to preclude the key witness, Rudy Giuliani himself, from testifying against him because of the attorney/client privilege. This really won’t work. As the Michael Cohen case illustrates the attorney/client privilege is lost when the attorney participates in the crime with his client. Which raises another point. Attorney ethical rules prohibit an attorney from representing a client in matter where the attorney himself is a potential witness. Given that a formal impeachment investigation has begun, Giuliani can no longer ethically represent Trump in this matter. See Rule 3.7 of the New York Bar Rules of Professional Conduct.
- Trump believes that, as with Michael Cohen, if he has his attorney do the dirty work then it is the attorney who will take the fall. Trump is playing Giuliani for a sucker and a patsy, just as he did with Cohen.
If Trump really, legitimately believed he had something on Biden he would ask the FBI to look into it. Instead he seeks to have his extra-governmental personal attorney do it, with a foreign leader that Trump effectively extorted loyalty from.
Rudy Giuliani’s role as America’s ambassador to Ukraine is explained.
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