Rudy Hears it Through the Grapevine

Paul Waldman writes,

In an interview Tuesdaywith former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, the president seemed to be road-testing a new explanation for the entire scandal, that Giuliani was some kind of freelance rogue agent who unbeknownst to Trump took over American policy toward Ukraine, doing things that Trump was neither aware of nor bears any responsibility for.

What was Giuliani doing in Ukraine on Trump’s behalf? “Well, you have to ask that to Rudy, but Rudy — I don’t, I don’t even know,” Trump said.

But isn’t he Trump’s lawyer? “Rudy has other clients, other than me,” Trump said. “He’s done a lot of work in Ukraine over the years.”

So he didn’t direct Giuliani to go to Ukraine and pressure their government? “No, I didn’t direct him.”

Even for Trump, that’s a brazen set of lies. We now know without a shadow of a doubt that Trump tasked Giuliani with managing his Ukraine “policy,” including his effort to pressure Ukraine to help smear Biden in advance of 2020. Giuliani engineered the firing of U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. American diplomats worked with Ukraine to craft a public statement vowing the investigation Trump wanted — but had to run it by Giuliani. Giuliani and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo were in regular contactabout Ukraine.

And as the testimony of multiple witnesses in the impeachment inquiry made clear, Trump continually, repeatedly decreed that Ukraine policy should be coordinated with Giuliani. “He just kept saying: Talk to Rudy, talk to Rudy,” testified Ambassador Gordon Sondland.

Indeed, Trump told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on their July 25 call: “Rudy very much knows what’s happening and he is a very capable guy. If you could speak to him that would be great.”