For the past several weeks, Rudy Giuliani has been working with right-wing media outlet One America News (OAN) to produce a television special featuring a string of current and former Ukrainian officials defending President Donald Trump’s conduct in withholding military aid to Ukraine and seeking to prove former vice president Joe Biden was guilty of corruption. Giuliani’s “Investigative Special” was even highlighted on Russia’s state-owned news network over the weekend. But such attempts to clear the president, according to one former federal prosecutor, are not just “incoherent,” they are “unwittingly self-defeating.”
“I’m checking out your thread and so far it’s somewhere between ‘utterly incoherent’ and ‘unwittingly self-defeating,’” former federal prosecutor and current CNN legal analyst Elie Honig said in response to Giuliani’s claims.
Prior to the scheduled premiere of the special “Ukrainian Witnesses Destroy Schiff’s Case Part III with Rudy Giuliani” on Sunday, the president’s personal attorney touted the fruits of his labor, claiming he would be revealing evidence that proves both Trump’s innocence and Biden’s guilt. Giuliani is also expected to provide a report to Congress and the Attorney General on his findings.
Giuliani did not provide any such evidence of wrongdoing, instead offering only a series of baseless conspiracy theories and circular reasoning regarding the Bidens, Ukraine, and the 2016 presidential election.
Several video clips posted by Giuliani included the now-infamous clip of Biden publicly stating that the U.S. was prepared to rescind $1 billion in loan guarantees unless then-Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin was fired. Giuliani claimed that the video was proof of Biden engaging in bribery. Giuliani failed to mention that Shokin’s ouster was an essential facet of U.S. foreign policy – with bipartisan support from Congressional Republicans – as well as the stated policy of many Western nations and the I.M.F.
Another former Prosecutor General of Ukraine featured in the Giuliani-OAN series, Yuriy Lutsenko, was forced to retract his allegation earlier this year that former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch gave him a “do-not-prosecute” list of Trump’s political opponents. Lutsenko, who once said publicly that “From the perspective of Ukrainian legislation” Hunter Biden “did not violate anything,” claimed that Yovanovitch committed perjury in congressional testimony.
Meanwhile, a New Yorker story on Monday quoted Giuliani as saying the following about Yovanovitch (an impeachment witness who had a reputation for being “tough on corruption”): “I believed that I needed Yovanovitch out of the way. She was going to make the investigations difficult for everybody.”
Nevertheless, the former New York City mayor has repeatedly claimed to have obtained “documentary evidence” showing Biden bribed officials with laundered money.
Honig told Law&Crime that Giuliani was repeating the unsubstantiated claims of disgraced former Ukrainian officials — at a time when Giuliani is under investigation and his business associates are facing charges related to their activities in Ukraine.
“First, let’s not forget – he is reportedly under criminal investigation by the [Southern District of New York], plus a counterintel investigation,” Honig said. “And two of his business associates [Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman] were recently indicted relating to activity in Ukraine. Yet at the same time, there’s Rudy, back in Ukraine, dealing with former prosecutors widely believed to have been corrupt.”
Honig also noted that Giuliani’s excursion to Eastern Europe could itself be a violation of federal campaign laws.
“Not to mention that Rudy is at best operating in the gray area of the law against soliciting a campaign thing of value (here, arguably political dirt) from a foreign national,” he said.
[image via CNN screengrab]
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