When it comes to the Ukraine affair, virtually no one has attempted to say that Rudy Giuliani did not play a significant role in events that ultimately led to President Donald Trump’s impeachment. That’s what Trump impeachment defense lawyer Jane Raskin did on Monday afternoon.
If you read the “transcript” (it’s a memo), as the president and his defense often implore the public to do, Giuliani is mentioned multiple times by name and as a point of contact for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky regarding the “investigations.” And it was Giuliani and his indicted business associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman who were working behind the scenes to dig up dirt on the Bidens at Trump’s direction, House Democrats say, as part of a shadow foreign policy campaign to solicit interference in the 2020 election and to solicit an investigation of a Kremlin-sponsored debunked conspiracy theory that Ukraine, not Russia, systematically interfered in the 2016 election.
“Mr. Giuliani is just a minor player,” said defense counsel Jane Raskin, offering a robust defense of Giuliani’s work. Sondland testified Trump told them to “talk to Rudy” on Ukraine. “Until Rudy was satisfied, the president wasn’t going to change his mind,” Sondland said
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) January 27, 2020
Raskin attempted to wave that all away, calling Giuliani “just a minor player” for the purposes of the impeachment trial (which, as GOP expert witness Jonathan Turley noted, is undercut by the fact that Raskin mentioned Giuliani and felt the need to address his role in all of this).
“In this trial, in this moment, Mr. Giuliani is just a minor player, that shiny object designed to distract you,” Raskin said. “Senators, I urge you most respectfully, do not be distracted.”
On the one hand, Raskin praised Giuliani for being “spot on” about the Mueller Probe and FISA abuse.
"Fact is in the end after a two-year siege of on the Presidency…Rudy [Giuliani] was spot on. It seems to me if we're keeping score…The score is Mayor Giuliani four Mr. Schiff zero." – Jane Raskin pic.twitter.com/su7bNFJeDT
— Francis Brennan (Text TRUMP to 88022) (@FrancisBrennan) January 27, 2020
On the other, Raskin said Giuliani was merely a “shiny object” in the eyes of Democrats who are eager to take advantage of a distraction for political gain.
Trump attorney Jane Raskin says Democrats are distracting from the "holes in their case" by using a "shiny object" saying, "Rudy Giuliani is the House manager's colorful distraction."
One wonders who her client really is here-Trump or Giuliani. pic.twitter.com/JMzTZqrZJJ
— Amee Vanderpool (@girlsreallyrule) January 27, 2020
“House managers would have you believe,” Raskin argued, “that Mr. Giuliani is at the center of this controversy. They’ve anointed him the proxy villain of the tale, the leader of a rogue operation. Their presentations were filled with ad hominem attacks and name-calling. ‘Cold-blooded political operative,’ ‘political bag man. But I suggest to you that he’s front and center in their narrative for one reason and one reason alone: to distract from the fact that the evidence does not support their claims.”
Trump counsel Jane Raskin: "The House managers would have you believe that Mr. Giuliani is at the center of this controversy."
"But I suggest to you that he's front and center in their narrative…to distract from the fact that the evidence does not support their claims." pic.twitter.com/upSFlrYl5P
— ABC News Live (@ABCNewsLive) January 27, 2020
“If both the law and the facts are against you, present a distraction, emphasize the sensational fact or perhaps a colorful and controversial public figure who appears on the scene, then disport certain facts and ignore others, even when they are the most problem probative, make conclusory statements and insinuate the shining object is far more important than the actual facts allow. In short, divert attention from the holes in your case,” Raskin said at the start of her speech. “Rudy Giuliani is the House managers’ colorful distraction. He’s a household name.”
[Image via Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images]