Rudy Giuliani's desperate efforts to clear his name blow up in his face

Rudy Giuliani's desperate efforts to clear his name blow up in his face
President Donald J. Trump recognizes former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani prior to signing H.R. 1327; an act to permanently authorize the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Monday, July 29, 2019, in the Rose Garden of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian)

Even if you ignore the fact that he had to quickly cancel plans to appear at a Kremlin-sponsored conference on Friday, Rudy Giuliani is having an objectively terrible day.

All week, Giuliani has been frantically trying to clear himself of any accusations of wrongdoing in the unfolding Ukraine scandal. The matter exploded this week and triggered a reinvigorated push for impeachment focused on Giluani and President Donald Trump's combined efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden, as documented in a White House phone call memo. Separately, Giuliani has been quite open about his efforts on Trump's behalf, admitting that he has been "meddling" in an investigation to promote his client's interests.

But when a whistleblower in the intelligence community accused the president and Giuliani of potentially criminal activity, as was revealed this month, all hell broke loose. Giuliani gave an enraged interview Thursday to the Atlantic, saying "It is impossible that the whistle-blower is a hero and I’m not. And I will be the hero! These morons—when this is over, I will be the hero.” And on Fox News Thursday night, he desperately tried to shut down accusations that he was freelancing in Ukraine by sharing text messages from State Department officials.

He didn't seem to realize this made the situation more serious, not less. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-NY), a candidate for president, tweeted:

Then on Friday, another shoe dropped that looks like another bad sign for Giuliani, the State Department, and Trump. As first reported by Arizona State University student newspaper the State Press and confirmed by CNN, one of the officials Giuliani apparently texted with — as shown on Fox News Thursday night — has abruptly resigned.

"Executive Director of the McCain Institute Kurt Volker resigned from his position as the U.S. Special Envoy for Ukraine Friday, following reports he collaborated with Ukraine and President Donald Trump," the State Press reported. "Volker met with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Friday to announce he would be resigning, [an ASU] official said."

Pompeo, meanwhile, is facing pressure because of Giuliani's activities. House Democrats subpoenaed the secretary turn over documents related to the impeachment inquiry in an expedited fashion, they announced Friday, seeking to have a hearing with him within a week. In their letter announcing their subpoena, they cited Giuliani's own tweet about his texts with Volker as raising "more troubling questions about State Department officials' possible involvement in the President's efforts to press Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 election."

The investigation will certainly zero in on what, exactly, Giuliani's role has consisted of.

Separately, the watchdog group American Oversight filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the department seeking Volker's text messages with the former New York mayor.

By revealing that such texts exist — texts that involve government employees conducting official business — Giuliani guaranteed that they'll get extra scrutiny. That could open up much more trouble than he anticipated. The more he tries to defend himself, the worse things seem to get.

UPDATE: This report initially incorrectly said Democrats have subpoenaed Pompeo's testimony. Instead, they have subpoenaed State Department documents from him.

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