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.
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.
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.
“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.”
“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]
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