This Shocking Abuse of Office Continues

Rudy's the Bagman for the 2020 Collusion
on May 30, 2018 in Washington, DC.
Rudy Giuliani, former New York City mayor and current lawyer for U.S. President Donald Trump, speaks to members of the media during a White House Sports and Fitness Day at the White House on May 30, 2018. (Photo by A... Rudy Giuliani, former New York City mayor and current lawyer for U.S. President Donald Trump, speaks to members of the media during a White House Sports and Fitness Day at the White House on May 30, 2018. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) MORE LESS
|
May 10, 2019 12:37 p.m.
JOIN TPM FOR JUST $1

If you’re still worried about the collusion described in the Mueller Report forgot about that because it probably means you’re not focused enough on how President Trump’s top advisors are already, more or less openly, trying to muscle Ukraine into targeting Trump’s political enemies in the US to throw the 2020 election in Trump’s favor.

I really cannot overstate how important this is.

As you know, Ukraine remains highly dependent on the United States, diplomatically, economically and even militarily, at least in the sense of arms sales. Russia continues a de facto occupation/insurgency in the country’s east. Crimea has already been annexed by the Russian Federation. The government of Ukraine is in little position to say no to anything the US government asks for.

There’s already substantial evidence that Trump used his leverage to get the Ukraine government to end its cooperation with the Mueller probe in 2018. There’s really little question this happened. The open question is whether the President or his representatives had to ask explicitly or whether the government didn’t need to be told.

In any case, the President is now sending his personal representative, Rudy Giuliani, to Kiev to meet with thee incoming government of Ukraine to demand that the new government begin investigations into Hillary Clinton’s campaign, into the ‘origins’ of the Mueller probe and finally to target former Vice President Joe Biden. The claims against Biden are really bogus on their face and others have said as much. Bloomberg found that even key claims Giuliani coaxed the Times into publishing a week ago were false. But these issues are almost beside the point. The President is using his leverage as commander-in-chief to demand that the highly dependent government of Ukraine to target his political enemies in the US.

To the extent President Trump has leverage over Ukraine, that is not his personal property or asset. It’s power he exercises on behalf of the American people. But here he’s using it openly to target political enemies.

According to the Times, Giuliani is working with usual suspects Victoria Toensing, her husband Joe DiGenova and a high dollar Trump donor Lev Parnas, a Ukrainian-American businessman who appears to be close to Giuliani.

Giuliani told the Times: “There’s nothing illegal about it. Somebody could say it’s improper. And this isn’t foreign policy — I’m asking them to do an investigation that they’re doing already and that other people are telling them to stop. And I’m going to give them reasons why they shouldn’t stop it because that information will be very, very helpful to my client, and may turn out to be helpful to my government.”

The investigation they’re allegedly already doing is the one Giuliani lobbied the outgoing prosecutor to begin. As Giuliani notes, he wants this because it is “very, very helpful to my client”, who of course happens to be the President of the United States and whose attitude and whims are close to life and death matters for the Ukrainian government. This is the most open and shut kind of abuse of office imaginable.

Masthead Masthead
Editor & Publisher:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Senior Editor:
Special Projects Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Reporter:
Senior Newswriters:
Newswriters:
Editor at Large:
General Manager & General Counsel:
Executive Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Publishing Associate:
Front-End Developer:
Senior Designer: