Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani penned a Wall Street Journal op-ed Tuesday, centering his case for President Donald Trump’s innocence on the dubious logic that Trump only “requested” and did not “demand” that the Ukrainian President make up a Biden scandal.
“Moreover, Mr. Trump requested that Ukraine root out corruption; he didn’t demand it,” he wrote. “His words were cordial, agreeable and free of any element of threat or coercion. Mr. Trump offered nothing in return to Ukraine for cleaning up corruption.”
In fact, many witnesses in the impeachment inquiry have now testified to the fact that military aid to Ukraine was held back as leverage to force Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to go after the Bidens.
However, as spurious as the logic may seem, Giuliani may be getting at the newest Republican talking point to push back against the inquiry, now that their complaints about the private hearings are moot. They seem to be floating a “it wasn’t a crime because it was unsuccessful” kind of approach — that any pressure Trump put on Ukraine didn’t matter, because he ended up releasing the military aid without getting what he wanted in return.
Giuliani has become increasingly implicated in the Ukraine pressure campaign, and recently lawyered up as federal investigators scrutinize his business relationship with his now-arrested associates Lev Parns and Igor Fruman.