On Fox News, Giuliani refuses to say Trump did not dangle $400 million in aid for Biden dirt
Rudy Giuliani has been running from network to network in an attempt to muddy the waters after the emergence of reporting that Donald Trump used $400 million in financial aid to the Ukraine as leverage to coerce the country’s new president to open an investigation into the son of Trump rival Joe Biden, and even into the former vice president himself.
Much as he did on his appearance on CNN last week, Giuliani insisted something wasn’t true, only to immediately backtrack in the next sentence. In this case, Fox News host Maria Bartiromo asked him about reporting in The Wall Street Journal that Donald Trump threatened to cut off aid to Ukraine if it didn’t begin an investigation into Joe Biden. That report said that Trump told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to meet with Giuliani, a private citizen who acts as Trump’s personal attorney, eight different times in one phone call, and that he was dangling as incentive $250 million in financial and military aid to Ukraine.
So, did Donald Trump dangle the promise of foreign aid if a foreign country created a (bogus) investigation into Joe Biden and his son? No, of course not! Well, maybe? Rudy can’t really say.
BARTIROMO: Did the president threaten to cut off aid to Ukraine? GIULIANI: No, no. That was a false story. BARTIRO… https://t.co/rqPX9YVc8v— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar) 1569240253
In fact, Giuliani traveled to Spain, where he met with a Zelensky aide, in the weeks following the phone call between Trump and Zelensky. Shortly after, not only was the $250 million in aid released to Ukraine, but a mysterious $140 million in additional funds, paid for by U.S. taxpayers, was added, bringing the the total to $400 million.
Rudy Giuliani is not an elected representative of the United States. He has not been confirmed to any role representing the United States. He is described as the “personal attorney” of Donald Trump, but in truth, he is the only member of Trump’s legal team (that I’m aware of) who works entirely for free. Furthermore, Giuliani seems to have acted as a co-conspirator in this case, and a case could be made that he and Trump no longer have attorney-client privilege because of the crime and fraud exception to the attorney-client privilege rule. In 1989, the Supreme Court made clear there are crime and fraud exceptions to the rule:
The attorney-client privilege is not without its costs. Since the privilege has the effect of withholding relevant information from the factfinder, it applies only where necessary to achieve its purpose. The attorney-client privilege must necessarily protect the confidences of wrongdoers, but the reason for that protection–the centrality of open client and attorney communication to the proper functioning of our adversary system of justice–ceases to operate at a certain point, namely, where the desired advice refers not to prior wrongdoing, but to future wrongdoing. It is the purpose of the crime-fraud exception to the attorney-client privilege to assure that the “seal of secrecy” between lawyer and client does not extend to communications made for the purpose of getting advice for the commission of a fraud or crime.
Congress must immediately call private citizen Rudy Giuliani to testify about this, as well as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who had a hand in organizing Rudy’s Spanish meeting. Others who should be called to testify:
- Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, whom Trump fired in May, reportedly because she wasn’t doing enough to press the Ukrainians to investigate the Bidens.
- U.S. special representative to Ukraine Kurt Volker, who met with President Zelensky the day after the Trump-Zelensky phone call
- Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, who added an extra $140 million to the Ukraine aid package for reasons that have not been explained. Mnuchin had no answer when Chuck Todd asked him on Sunday where the additional money came from. It wasn’t approved by Congress.
🚨 Mnuchin doesn't have a response when Chuck Todd asks him if he can explain "how all of the sudden when the [Ukrai… https://t.co/959tVipj7c— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar) 1569166514
- Former Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, who resigned only four days after the phone call and left office only three days after the whistleblower complaint was filed.
- Former Deputy Director of National Intelligence Sue Gordon, who was forced to resign so that Trump could install a loyalist in the role, despite a federal statute mandating her elevation to acting director. Trump reportedly refused to even let her attend security briefings.
At the end of the day, it seems multiple potential crimes were committed here: extortion, bribery, conspiracy to engage in extortion, and conspiracy to violate election law. It’s time for Congress to immediately act and start getting people under oath. The fastest way to move this process forward is for YOU to pick up the phone and contact your representative TODAY and tell them to act.