This is An Insanely Big Deal

Trump defense attorney Rudy Giuliani speaks with Armenian officials in a photo dated Oct. 22, 2018 released by the country's Ministry of Defense.

I need to return to the fact that the country’s biggest paper reported this week that the President’s personal lawyer is conducting unofficial diplomacy abroad, apparently mixed with his own private business and investments, in which he offers friendly treatment from the President of the United States in exchange for those governments targeting the President’s political enemies. This was reported and it wasn’t the biggest story of the week. This is a far, far bigger deal than any other fears about future tampering in a US presidential election using Facebook ads. The stakes are much higher, the danger much greater, when the colluding candidate is also the President of the United States.

This is a classic case of refighting the last (2016) war, while the President is already on to entirely new kinds of corruption and bad acting made possible by holding the presidential bundle of powers.

In this particular case it’s Rudy Giuliani with the now-outgoing government of Ukraine and Joe Biden and his son. But while representing the President in the Mueller probe, Giuliani has not only worked on behalf of an exile Iranian extremist group, every few weeks we find out he’s visiting another foreign capital and holding meetings with the government or major oligarchs in those countries.

Usually, this only crops up or we only find out because it appears in the local press. Here’s just one podcast episode and brief write up about some of these trips. Here’s a less probing but still interesting Times write up. Here’s a story about a Ukrainian mogul investigated by Robert Mueller was a client of Giuliani’s.

It’s a given that this stuff is all sleazy, Giuliani making millions trading on his role as the President’s close advisor and personal lawyer. As long as it’s just sleaze and buck-raking it doesn’t matter that much to me. We’ve got much bigger things to worry about. But this effort to get the government of Ukraine to whip up investigations into Biden is clear evidence that it’s not just that. It is almost certainly just the tip of the iceberg.

This requires tons more attention.

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