Rudy Giuliani has no problem asking a foreign government to go after political rivals. Which makes sense, since we know that his client, President Donald Trump, has done the same.
In a new episode we might call, “Ukraine, if you’re listening,” Giuliani was upfront with the New York Times that he’s heading to the fraught European nation in part to press the incoming president to investigate Joe Biden, the frontrunner in the Democratic field to take on Trump in 2020.
“We’re not meddling in an election, we’re meddling in an investigation, which we have a right to do,” Giuliani told the Times.
Reporter Kenneth Vogel astutely noted the eye-popping optics of the situation:
Mr. Giuliani’s plans create the remarkable scene of a lawyer for the president of the United States pressing a foreign government to pursue investigations that Mr. Trump’s allies hope could help him in his re-election campaign. And it comes after Mr. Trump spent more than half of his term facing questions about whether his 2016 campaign conspired with a foreign power.
Giuliani also said that he wants Ukraine to look into the origins of the Russia investigation, even though Robert Mueller’s report and a separate memo from Trump ally Rep. Devin Nunes (D-CA) concurred that it started when campaign aide George Papadopoulos bragged to a foreign diplomat about potentially getting dirt on Hillary Clinton from Russia.
“There’s nothing illegal about it,” Giuliani told the Times of his trip to Ukraine. “Somebody could say it’s improper. And this isn’t foreign policy — I’m asking them to do an investigation that they’re doing already and that other people are telling them to stop. And I’m going to give them reasons why they shouldn’t stop it because that information will be very, very helpful to my client, and may turn out to be helpful to my government.”
The allegations against Biden involve a supposed conflict of interest between his efforts as vice president in 2016 to oust a Ukrainian prosecutor who he claimed was ineffective at rooting out corruption. Giuliani claims there was a conflict because the prosecutor was pursuing an investigation against a company where Hunter Biden, the vice president’s son, was a board member. But according to a recent Bloomberg report, documents from Ukraine suggests this theory of a conflict makes little sense — the case against the company appears to have been dormant long before the vice president began calling for the prosecutor’s termination.