They were there to see Las Meninas

Way back on August 22

President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani confirmed Thursday that the State Department assisted his efforts to press the Ukrainian government to probe two prominent Democratic opponents of the president: former Vice President Joe Biden and the Democratic National Committee.

Specifically, Giuliani has wanted Ukrainian officials to look into any impropriety related to the former vice president’s push to crack down on corruption in Ukraine and his son Hunter Biden’s involvement in a natural gas company there. Giuliani also sought to have Ukraine examine whether the Democratic National Committee worked in connection with Ukrainian officials to harm Trump’s 2016 campaign by releasing damaging information on the president’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort.

Giuliani had conversations with Andriy Yermak, a Ukrainian official closely allied to Zelensky, on the phone and in person in Madrid. (Why in Madrid? Was Giuliani trying to play Casablanca? Madrid is neutral territory so if he talks to a Ukrainian official there it doesn’t count as a violation of the Logan Act? Or just that Giuliani is more interested in Madrid than Kiev? Who knows.)

Trump’s attorney [i.e. Giuliani] confirmed to NBC News that the State Department helped put him in touch with Yermak.

“Times completely turned a story about astounding allegations of serious crimes of state concerning Dems into a piece trying to suggest I did something nefarious except they can’t say what it is,” Giuliani told NBC News in a text message Thursday. “Typical spin against Trump or anyone close to him.”

The State Department put Yermak “in contact with me,” Giuliani said. “Not other way around, and I told him they should not be cowered [out of] fully investigating serious possible crimes like bribery, extortion, fraud, money laundering and illegal interference in 2016 election.”

But but but Giuliani wasn’t (and isn’t) a government employee. He’s Trump’s personal lawyer. What business does he have meeting with foreign officials? Especially given the fact that Yermak wasn’t clear about his status?

The Times reported that Yermak was sent to Washington to build relationships with U.S. officials, discuss sanctions related to a Russian oil pipeline and lay the groundwork for a meeting between Trump and the Ukrainian president…

Yermak told the Times he asked Volker to arrange discussions with Giuliani, additionally saying it was unclear to him whether Giuliani was representing Trump in their discussions.

Which means Giuliani and the State Department people were careful not to make it clear to Yermak that Giuliani is not a government employee and was not representing Trump as part of his administration but only as his dirty personal lawyer.

Comments are closed.