Legal experts and media observers had a day out on the field with President Donald Trump‘s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani after he admitted, on multiple occasions, to his role in forcing out former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.
“You forced out Marie Yovanovitch,” Fox News’ Laura Ingraham noted during a Monday night appearance.
“Of course I did,” Giuliani smirked back.
“But you’re a personal attorney for the president, so why do you need her out of the way?” the host pressed.
To which Giuliani replied:
I didn’t need her out of the way. I forced her out because she’s corrupt. I came back with a document that will show unequivocally that she committed perjury when she said that she turned the vise for Mr. Shokin because of corruption. The fact is: on the record–in the State Department’s own records–the reason given is that he had an operation [and] hadn’t recovered yet. The operation, of course, was two years before. There’s documentary evidence that she committed perjury. I have four witnesses who will testify that she personally turned down their visas because they were going to come here and give evidence either against Biden or against the Democratic Party. There’s no question that she was acting corruptly in that position and had to removed. She should have been fired–if the State Department weren’t part of the deep state.
Giuliani’s comments on the Ingraham Angle clearly didn’t do him much in the way of favors–but was actually something of a sidestep away from comments reported earlier that day. The erstwhile pseudo diplomat and all around hatchet man previously told The New Yorker: “I believed that I needed Yovanovitch out of the way. She was going to make the investigations difficult for everybody.”
Competing motivations sufficiently twisting and perambulating through the ether, the former mayor of New York dug in a bit deeper via Twitter when he posted the following on Tuesday morning:
Recently acquired documentary evidence shows she perjured herself before Schiffless Committee.
Also her embassy stopped a Ukrainian audit of over $5 billion in aid funding put in question in 2017 by Ukrainian auditors.
Enough for now more to come, plenty more.
— Rudy Giuliani (@RudyGiuliani) December 17, 2019
Critical reaction was prompt and withering.
“You just confirmed the exact point of Yovanovitch’s testimony: that you needed her taken out so you could carry forward with your scheme,” noted former Southern District of New York assistant U.S. Attorney and CNN legal analyst Elie Honig.
“[I]f only we all had a nickel for every time Rudy contradicted himself or said something incriminating or insane,” cracked George Conway.
“It is an utter indictment of the GOP that Giuliani can go on the record admitting to rank corruption, but rather than being the final nail in the coffin, by lunchtime it will be their core talking point,” said former Department of Justice (DOJ) spokesperson Matthew Miller.
“If this is what Giuliani talks about openly, I’d love to know what his ‘insurance policy’ consists of,” pondered University of Alabama Law Professor and MSNBC contributor Joyce White Vance.
Vance, however, was actually referring to another slate of Giuliani admissions vis-à-vis Yovanovitch’s ouster reported Monday by the New York Times.
“There’s a lot of reasons to move her,” Giuliani told the outlet, boasting that his campaign against Yovanovitch likely moved Trump to remove her. “I think my information did. I don’t know. You’d have to ask them. But they relied on it.”
“I just gave them the facts,” he continued. “I mean, did I think she should be recalled? I thought she should have been fired. If I was attorney general, I would have kicked her out. I mean–secretary of state.”
Amidst the swirling mass of Giuliani news, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough made an argument that the Overton window has substantially shifted in favor of corruption.
“Once again, Rudy Giuliani just admitted out loud something that in previous administrations you would have congressional investigations about,” he said.
Giuliani’s recent admissions have even upset at least one member of the congressional GOP.
“I think what was in the article about Giuliani today was very disturbing,” Rep. Francis Rooney (R-Florida) told CNN, “And I think it argues again for slowing down, putting these guys under the threat of perjury under oath, and testify. And find out what’s all the things he was doing over there. Why was he so interested in getting ambassador Yovanovitch anyway?”
Rooney plans on retiring.
“Giuliani is a train wreck for Trump,” said former White House ethics advisor Richard Painter. “Trump is a train wreck for the GOP.”
Not losing sight of the larger picture and the congressional backdrop under which Giuliani’s admissions have rankled members of both institutional parties, Painter added that he believed the Republican Party “will not survive” the ongoing impeachment process if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) continued to act in a “corrupt” fashion by holding a “rigged” impeachment trial.
But at least one Republican attempted to hold the line.
“Rudy Giuliani is representing the president well as his personal attorney,” asserted Vice President Mike Pence‘s Chief of Staff Marc Short during a Tuesday morning appearance on MSNBC.
Incredulous host Hallie Jackson pushed back: “Currently is representing him well? Is that a current-tense or a past-tense?”
“He has continued to represent the president well, Hallie,” Short replied.
“And you’re comfortable with the remarks Giuliani is making about wanting Yovanovitch ousted and talking to the president about it?” Jackson asked.
“That’s not for me,” Short insisted, “he’s his personal attorney. He’s not a part of this administration and I think that’s a conversation for Rudy and the president.”
[image via screengrab/Fox News]