Posts tagged with "Rudy Giuliani"

Adam Schiff: ‘Dangerous’ Trump chooses own personal interests over country and Constitution

January 27, 2020

House impeachment manager Representative Adam Schiff (D-California) showed off his prosecutorial chops on Thursday night, January 23, capping the second round of the Senate inquiry, the Huffington Post reports.

Schiff, who is also the chairman of the House Intelligence Commitee, delivered a fervent appeal, the news outlet said; imploring Republicans to vote to remove Donald Trump from office because the president had put his political aspirations ahead of the nation’s interests.

Schiff said that no one was arguing in good faith that Trump wasn’t guilty of putting his personal political interests ahead of the interests of the United States when he withheld aid to Ukraine to pressure its government to smear a political rival.

“He’s done what he’s charged with. He withheld the money, he withheld the meeting, he used it to coerce Ukraine to do these political investigations. He covered it up, he obstructed us, he’s trying to obstruct you, and he’s violated the Constitution,” Schiff said.

“Do we really have any doubt about the facts here? Does anyone really question if the president is capable of what he’s charged with? No one is really making the argument ‘Donald Trump would never do such a thing’ because, of course, we know that he would and, of course, we know that he did,” Schiff said.

“That makes him dangerous to us, to our country,” Schiff said. “Why would Donald Trump believe a man like Rudy Giuliani over a man like [FBI Director] Christopher Wray? Why would anyone in their right mind believe Rudy Giuliani over Christopher Wray? Because he wanted to, and because what Rudy was offering him was something that would help him personally, and what Christopher Wray was offering him was merely the truth.”

If Russia tries to interfere in the 2020 election, Schiff said, Trump will choose his own personal interests over the interests of the country yet again.

“Let’s say they start blatantly interfering in our election again to help Donald Trump. Can you have the least bit of confidence that Donald Trump will stand up to them and protect our national interest over his own personal interest? You know you can’t, which makes him dangerous to this country. You know you can’t. You know you can’t count on him,” Schiff said.

“The American people deserve a president they can count on to put their interests first,” Schiff said. “The framers [of the U.S. Constitution] couldn’t protect us from ourselves if right and truth don’t matter. And you know that what he did was not right.”

“No Constitution can protect us if right doesn’t matter anymore. And you know you can’t trust this president to do what’s right for this country. You can trust he will do what’s right for Donald Trump. He’ll do it now. He’s done it before. He’ll do it for the next several months. He’ll do it in the election if he’s allowed to.”

“Right matters. And the truth matters,” Schiff said. “Otherwise we are lost.”

It’s unlikely that Republicans took those words to heart. Were the American people listening? The polling numbers have not been released yet.

Research contact: @HuffPost

Ukraine announces investigation into Trump flunkies amid reports of surveillance of Yovanovitch

January 20, 2020\

Ukraine finally has announced an investigation, but it has nothing to do with Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden or his son Hunter. Rather, the small eastern European nation has opened a criminal investigation into allies of President Donald Trump, following reports that they had U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch under surveillance while she was stationed in Kyiv, the Ukrainian government said on January 16.

According to a report by The New York Times, “The move was a remarkable departure from past practice for the new government of President Volodymyr Zelensky, which has tried hard to avoid any hint of partisanship in its dealings with Washington.”

The current situation has heightened those sensitivities, with Ukraine caught in the middle of the conflict between Democrats and Republicans over the impeachment of Trump for his pressure campaign on Ukraine.

But the recent release of documents in Washington has prompted a change of course, the Times notes. On Tuesday, just before the president’s impeachment trial in the Senate was scheduled to begin, House Democrats published text messages to and from Lev Parnas —who managed the president’s campaign of coercion on the ground in Ukraine for Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer. The texts pointed directly to the surveillance of Ambassador, Marie Yovanovitch.

The Internal Affairs Ministry of Ukraine said in a statement released last Thursday that “the published messages contain facts of possible violations of Ukrainian law and of the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations, which protect the rights of diplomats on the territory of another state.”

Ukraine “cannot ignore such illegal activities” on its territory, the statement said, adding that the national police had started criminal proceedings after analyzing the new material.

“Our goal is to investigate whether there were any violations of Ukrainian and international laws,” the ministry said in the statement. “Or maybe it was just bravado and fake conversation between two U.S. citizens.”

However, Ukrainian law and international obligations to protect the rights of diplomats serving on its territory forced the country to respond, the statement said. It called on the F.B.I. to provide all available “information and materials” related to people “who may be involved in a possible criminal offense.”

Arsen Avakov, Ukraine’s interior minister, said the United States should take part in the investigation.

“Ukraine expects the United States of America to respond promptly and looks forward to cooperation,” the Interior Ministry’s statement said.

Research contact: @nytimes

Parnas: Trump gave the orders on Ukraine; Giuliani, Pence, and Barr were ‘on the team’

January 17, 2020

The White House reeled as more damning evidence on the Ukraine plot emerged this week, even as the House voted to release its two articles of impeachment to the Senate.

Lev Parnas—the indicted associate of the president’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, who has been implicated in an alleged attempt to coerce Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky—told Rachel Maddow of MSNBC in an exclusive and explosive interview aired on January 15, “… Trump knew exactly what was going on.”

“He was aware of all my movements. I wouldn’t do anything without the consent of Rudy Giuliani or the president. I have no intent, I have no reason to speak to any of these officials,” Parnas revealed.

“I mean, they have no reason to speak to me. Why would President Zelenskiy’s inner circle or Minister Avakov or all these people or President Poroshenko meet with me? Who am I? They were told to meet with me. And that’s the secret that they’re trying to keep. I was on the ground doing their work,” Parnas said.

Zelenskiy was elected president in April, defeating incumbent Petro Poroshenko. Arsen Avakov is Ukraine’s interior minister, NBC News reported.

On Tuesday, the network said, House Democrats released records as part of the evidence that attorneys for Parnas turned over to House impeachment investigators, which show that Giuliani requested a private meeting with Zelenskiy, then the president-elect, with Trump’s “knowledge and consent.”

The evidence appears to bolster Democrats’ argument that Giuliani was doing Trump’s bidding by trying to dig up dirt on Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and the Democratic National Committee.

In response to Parnas’ interview, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said Thursday morning, “These allegations are being made by a man who is currently out on bail for federal crimes and is desperate to reduce his exposure to prison.”

“The facts haven’t changed — the president did nothing wrong and this impeachment, which was manufactured and carried out by the Democrats has been a sham from the start,” Grisham said.

In a statement to “The Rachel Maddow Show” while the program was airing, Giuliani denied that he told Ukrainian officials that Parnas spoke on behalf of Trump.

“Never,” Giuliani responded when asked whether Parnas was speaking for Trump.

Asked whether he believed Parnas was lying, Giuliani said, “All I can say is the truth.” Giuliani said of Parnas, “He’s a very sad situation.”

The president, himself, continued to stick to the same script, tweeting, “Cryin’ Chuck Schumer just said, “The American people want a fair trial in the Senate.” True, but why didn’t Nervous Nancy and Corrupt politician Adam “Shifty” Schiff give us a fair trial in the House. It was the most lopsided & unfair basement hearing in the history of Congress!”

The impeachment articles against Trump center on an alleged campaign by Trump to pressure Zelenskiy to announce investigations into Biden and his son Hunter, who served on the board of the Ukrainian energy company Burisma in 2014 until he left last year.

“Yeah, it was all about Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, and also Rudy had a personal thing with the Manafort stuff. The black ledger,” Parnas told Maddow.

Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager, is serving a 7½-year prison sentence for tax evasion and violating federal lobbying laws after having been charged

Parnas also told the MSNBC anchor that Vice President Mike Pence’s planned trip to attend Zelenskiy’s inauguration in May was canceled because the Ukrainians did not agree to the demand for an investigation of the Bidens. “Oh, I know 100% . It was 100%,” he said.

Asked whether Pence was aware of a “quid pro quo” around the visit, Parnas replied by quoting Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, who said during the House impeachment inquiry: “Everybody was in the loop.”

Maddow said her show asked for comment from Pence and had not received a response.

Parnas said Attorney General William Barr was also likely aware of what was going on. Parnas said that he never spoke with Barr but that “I was involved with lots of conversations” that Giuliani and another person had with Barr in front of him.

“Mr. Barr had to have known everything. I mean, it’s impossible,” Parnas told Maddow. “Attorney General Barr was basically on the team.”

Asked about Trump’s denial that he knows him, Parnas said, “He lied.”

Parnas said he wants to testify in the Senate impeachment trial. “I want to get the truth out,” he said, “because I feel it’s important for our country.”

The impeachment trial has been scheduled to start on January 21.

Research contact: @NBCNews

Ring of truth: House Intel report reveals Giuliani, Nunes, and White House call records

December 5, 2019

Call records obtained by impeachment investigators have given them new ammo against President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani—including details on his interactions with the White House, several Ukraine associates; and Representative Devin Nunes (R-California), the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, The Wall Street Journal reported on December 3.

The records of those calls were included in a draft report by the House Intelligence Committee released Tuesday. The panel alleged that Trump had abused his office for personal and political gain by pressuring Ukraine for dirt on his political opponent Joe Biden and his son Hunter—with the help of the Giuliani.

According to the Journal,” the phone records suggest Giuliani’s deep involvement in several key episodes that have become a focus of the impeachment probe.” The frequent contacts between Nunes and two figures at the center of the inquiry—Giuliani and one of his indicted associates—are viewed as highly unusual and are likely to redouble calls from Democrats for Nunes to face an ethics inquiry.

A lawyer for the Giuliani associate, Lev Parnas, said his client’s conversations with Nunes in April were focused on corruption investigations in Ukraine. However, by that point, Parnas had for months been helping Giuliani push Ukraine to investigate Biden and alleged interference by Ukraine in the 2016 U.S. election—the effort that set off the impeachment inquiry.

A spokesman for Nunes didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Representative Adam Schiff (D-California), the House Intelligence Committee chairman, said Tuesday that the phone records showed “considerable coordination” among the parties under investigation, including the White House. The records only show the timing and length of calls placed and don’t include their content.

The phone records show that on April 24, the day that Marie Yovanovitch, then the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, was recalled to Washington, Giuliani spoke at least eight times with a White House phone number. He already has acknowledged pressing the president to remove Yovanovitch from her post, and Trump subsequently ordered her to be recalled, The Wall Street Journal has reported.

Giuliani didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from the news outlet. He and the president have denied any wrongdoing.

Research contact: @WSJ

Republican group pummels Trump with derogatory ad: ‘What Is He Afraid Of?’

December 2, 2019

Republicans for the Rule of Law—a nonprofit group of lifelong conservative GOP members who are “dedicated to defending the institutions of our republic”— has called out President Donald Trump with a critical TV ad.

In its new 32-second clip released online November 27, The Huffington Post reports, the group questions the White House’s refusal to allow key witnesses in the Ukraine scandal to testify before Congress in the impeachment inquiry that targets Trump.

“These witnesses must testify,” the voiceover says, referring to a lineup of Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, along with White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and former National Security Adviser John Bolton.

“What is Trump afraid of?” the narrator adds.

The ad is slated to air on Fox News’ flagship morning show “Fox & Friends” for several days after Thanksgiving.

Republicans for the Rule of Law Executive Director Sarah Longwell said in a statement that the House impeachment hearings “have presented startling evidence” that Trump “abused his power, strong-arming a foreign government to interfere on his behalf in the upcoming election, and damaging national security in the process.”

“The president denies the allegations, but won’t let key administration officials― including Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, and White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney―testify to Congress,” Longwell added. “If the president did nothing wrong, what does he have to hide? If they tell the truth, what is he afraid of? Most importantly, will Republicans in Congress allow the president to simply ignore their constitutionally mandated oversight role?”

According to the HuffPost, the group last week launched a campaign that aimed to educate GOP voters―who polls have shown remain steadfast in their support of Trump―on the facts of the Ukraine scandal that prompted the impeachment inquiry.

Research contact: @HuffPost

Giuliani: ‘Collusion is not a crime’

July 31, 2018

Rudy Giuliani, attorney and spokesperson for President Donald Trump, said in a pair of July 30 interviews that he was at a loss for how colluding with the Russians would be categorized as a crime, Business Insider reported.

The comment—all but an admission that the POTUS had, indeed, colluded with a hostile foreign power—came shortly after Trump’s former personal lawyer and “fixer” Michael Cohen claimed to CNN on July 26 that he was with his then-boss and several other Trump Organization executives in 2016 when Donald Trump, Jr., told his father he could “get dirt” on Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton from the Russians.

Instead of denying that there was any collusion, as Trump has been doing since he took office, Giuliani shifted the conversation by noting that the president did not “pay them for hacking,” which he said was the real offense.

Speaking with the hosts of the Fox and Friends morning show, Giuliani said he has “been sitting here looking in the federal code trying to find collusion as a crime.

“Collusion is not a crime,” he said, adding that the president is “absolutely innocent.”

Then in a discussion with CNN’s New Day, Giuliani said if you “start analyzing the crime, the hacking is the crime.”

“The president didn’t hack,” Giuliani said. “He didn’t pay them for hacking. If you got the hacked information from the Russians here at CNN and you played it, would you be in jeopardy of going to jail? Of course not.”

Giuliani’s comments came a day after Trump took to Twitter to again attack Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is tasked with investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Trump tweeted that there was “No Collusion!” and added that Mueller’s “rigged witch hunt” was “an illegal Scam!”

During his Monday interviews, Giuliani questioned Cohen’s credibility and said the president “did not participate” in the meeting with the Russians, Business Insider said..

Giuliani told CNN he was “happy to tell” Mueller that Trump “wasn’t at the meeting.” Giuliani added that other individuals who could corroborate Cohen’s account would not do so—charging that Cohen is making these claims now because he feels the criminal investigation closing in on him.

Based on the findings of a July 24 Quinnipiac University poll, American voters believe 51% versus 35% “that the Russian government has compromising information about President Trump.” A total of 68% of American voters are “very concerned” or “somewhat concerned” about President Trump’s relationship with Russia, while 32% are “not so concerned” or “not concerned at all.”

Research contact: brown@quinnipiac.edu

With a favorability rating lower than Trump’s, could Jared be ‘disposable’?

May 7, 2018

Daddy’s little girl may not have to face the big problems associated with the ongoing Russia investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. In fact, Ivanka Trump, who has held an unpaid position in the White House since President Donald Trump took office in January 2017, is now being protected—possibly at the peril of her own husband, Jared Kushner—by her father and his new legal counsel, Rudy Giuliani.

On Fox News on May 2, Giuliani sent “a warning” to Mueller that he should not go after Ivanka, because if he does, “the whole country will turn on him.”

On the other hand,  Jared Kushner—Ivanka’s husband, as well as a senior White House aide—was characterized by the president’s lawyer as “disposable.”

“Jared is a fine man, you know that,” Giuliani said. “Men are disposable. But a fine woman like Ivanka? Come on.”

Would the American people agree? Based on an Economist/YouGov poll that was picked up by Newsweek and posted on last week, in January 2017 when Ivanka Trump entered the White House, 42% of Americans had a favorable opinion of her, and 33% had an unfavorable one. While the percentage of those who view her in a favorable light has remained unchanged since that time, the number of those with an unfavorable impression of the president’s eldest daughter has increased to 43%.

A similar scenario has played out with Jared. Considerably less well-known than his wife in 2017, Kushner  then had a favorability rating of 25%, compared with 29% who looked at him in a negative light. Since then, not only has the percentage of those viewing him favorably seen a modest drop (at 22%), but his unfavorability percentage now stands at 42%.

According to respondents, only 22% believe that Kushner can continue carrying out his high-level duties without the top security clearance that gave him access to classified information and was withdrawn in February; while 40 percent think he can’t.

Meanwhile, President Trump is walking back some of Giuliani’s other statements to the Fox Channel this week. There’s no word yet whether he POTUS intends to correct the comments made about his family members.

Research contact: @JessicaGKwong

Giuliani disclosure dumps Trump into Cohen legal mess

May 4, 2018

Just last week, a Politico/Morning Consult poll found that Americans nationwide suspected that Stormy Daniels was telling the truth about her affair with, and payoff by, President Donald Trump. Now, thanks to the POTUS’s new lawyer, Rudy Guiliani, we know it.

Specifically, the poll found, a majority of the U.S. public believed that Trump had bedded the adult film actress.  Fully 56% of respondents said they believed the two had an affair; and 51% said they believed Daniels’ allegations.

Now, in breaking news on May 3, Politico reported that, overnight, Guiliani had told the Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity that the POTUS had reimbursed his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen for a $130,000 payment to Daniels (whose real name is Stephanie Clifford), meant to keep her quiet.

That revelation may represent the final nail in the coffin for Trump’s continuing claims (and legal case) that he did not cheat on his wife or pay off Daniels in an attempt to keep the tryst(s) out of the news.

Indeed, the actress’s lawyer, Michael Avenatti on Thursday said he might send a gift basket to Fox for breaking open the story, according to MSNBC.

In response, Trump continued to deny that he or Cohen had done anything wrong. In early morning tweets, the president said “Mr. Cohen, an attorney, received a monthly retainer, not from the campaign and having nothing to do with the campaign, from which he entered into, through reimbursement , a private contract between two parties, known as a non-disclosure agreement or NDA.

The president said that non-disclosure agreements are “very common” among celebrities and “people of wealth,” and noted that this one was invoked to stop “false and extortionist accusations.”

This follows repeated statements by the president that he knew nothing about the payment and had not reimbursed his lawyer for it.

Research contact: jyuan@politico.com