The pushback from Trumpists is beginning with much disinformation and noise. The coming weeks will unfortunately be far too interesting because the latest episode with Ukraine is one clearly created while Trump has been POTUS*, even as its foundation was laid by Paul Manfort, among others, like Rudy Giuliani.
There are several different federal laws that might apply to Giuliani’s conduct here. Most obviously, Giuliani appears to be in violation of the Logan Act, which makes it a crime for private citizens who attempt to intervene without authorization in disputes or controversies between the United States and foreign governments. He is Trump’s personal lawyer, not a government official, and so his involvement is clearly a complicating, detrimental element for U.S. diplomatic interests. Ukraine officials need to know who is speaking for the president and, as Ukrainian journalist Serhiy Leshchenko wrote this week, who is trying to “drag” Ukraine into a U.S. presidential election.
More significant, Giuliani and Trump’s reported actions raise the real specter of a federal criminal bribery and extortion conspiracy. While Attorney General William Barr has made it clear that he will not prosecute Trump due to current DOJ policy, Giuliani enjoys no such privilege or immunity. And, while the factual record is not fully developed, federal investigations are opened every day against people with far less known and incriminating information. Any objective prosecutor, I believe, would agree with that.
“Rudy — he did all of this,” one U.S. official said. “This s—show that we’re in — it’s him injecting himself into the process.”
— Perry McCabe (@pmccabe33) September 25, 2019
— Kathleen (@kpmaestas0989) September 25, 2019
— Harry Litman (@harrylitman) September 25, 2019
— Adam Schiff (@AdamSchiff) September 24, 2019
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) September 25, 2019
— Andrew Wortman (@AmoneyResists) April 23, 2019
— Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) September 25, 2019
— Ned Price (@nedprice) September 24, 2019