Opinion Opinions | New revelations about Barr and Giuliani strengthen case against Trump

17:45  05 december  2019
17:45  05 december  2019 Source:   washingtonpost.com

New charges are likely in case against Rudy Giuliani associates, prosecutors say

  New charges are likely in case against Rudy Giuliani associates, prosecutors say Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman helped Rudy Giuliani in an effort to get the government of Ukraine to launch investigations of former Vice President Joe Biden."We think a superseding indictment is likely," said a prosecutor during a hearing in U.S. District Court in Manhattan for the case of Giuliani associates Lev Parnas, Igor Fruman and two other men, Andrey Kukushkin, and David Correia, who are accused of violating federal campaign finance laws.

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a man wearing glasses and looking at the camera: (Drew Angerer/Getty Images) © Drew Angerer/AFP/Getty Images (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

One of the strongest arguments made by experts testifying against President Trump is that he poses a present and continuing threat to our democracy. By adopting the stance that extorting a foreign leader into helping him rig the election was perfectly fine, Trump has confirmed he’ll keep using the levers of government to continue to corrupt it on his behalf.

“If left unchecked, the president will likely continue his pattern of soliciting foreign interference in the next election,” one constitutional scholar called by Democrats testified on Wednesday. “No misconduct is more antithetical to our democracy.”

Trump: Giuliani 'wants to go before Congress' about Ukraine trip

  Trump: Giuliani 'wants to go before Congress' about Ukraine trip Trump added that Giuliani will “make a report” of his findings to submit to Attorney General William Barr and Congress. “He has a lot of good information,” Trump said. “I have not spoken to him about that information yet.” © Alex Brandon/AP Photo President Donald Trump. Giuliani, who is reported to have traveled to Ukraine this week to continue his quest to dig up dirt on Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden, has come under fire during the impeachment hearings for carrying out a shadow diplomacy to aid Trump's re-election.

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The latest nefarious doings of none other than William P. Barr and Rudolph W. Giuliani have now forcefully underscored this very point. In so doing, Trump’s attorney general and his personal lawyer — whose roles Trump views as one and the same — have helpfully strengthened the case against Trump.

Two new investigative reports demonstrate that Barr and Giuliani are, in effect, continuing to carry out elements of the very same corrupt scheme for which Trump is currently getting impeached. Their activities have been described as “brazen,” but the truth is worse: They demonstrate with great clarity that Trump’s efforts to corrupt our political system will continue — a reminder of why he’s being impeached in the first place.

'Weird': Congress reacts to Giuliani's latest Ukrainian venture

  'Weird': Congress reacts to Giuliani's latest Ukrainian venture Rep. Matt Gaetz, one of President Donald Trump's top allies, said the recent trip by the president's attorney to Ukraine was "weird" and "odd."However, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., told ABC's "This Week" it was promising to hear that Trump said Giuliani wants to speak to Congress about his latest trip to Ukraine.

Barr hits a snag

The Post reports that Barr has hit a major snag in his efforts to validate Trump’s claim that the investigation into Russian sabotage of the 2016 election was a hoax. Michael Horowitz, the Justice Department inspector general, privately asked Connecticut U.S. Attorney John Durham, who’s executing Barr’s review of the origins of that investigation, to validate a key element of Trumpworld’s “theory” of those origins — and he did not.

This is terribly inconvenient for Barr — and Trump and his propagandists. They hope such a review will allow them to cast the whole Russia investigation — and its findings of Russian sabotage and extensive efforts by Trump to coordinate with and benefit from it — as illegitimate.

Central to this is the idea that the Maltese professor who first told a Trump adviser about dirt gathered by Russia on Hillary Clinton — which launched the original FBI probe — was a U.S. agent setting up the Trump campaign. Horowitz, who is also examining the probe’s origins, has reportedly determined that he was not, and asked Durham — and intelligence agencies — to produce evidence to the contrary. They couldn’t.

Comey in op-ed after IG report: 'Barr needs to stop acting like a Trump spokesperson'

  Comey in op-ed after IG report: 'Barr needs to stop acting like a Trump spokesperson' Former FBI Director James Comey criticized Attorney General William Barr in a Washington Post op-ed on Monday, saying he "needs to stop acting like a Trump spokesperson." Comey called on Barr to provide "an acknowledgement of the truth" and admit he was wrong in the aftermath of Inspector General Michael Horowitz's released report on the FBI's investigation into connections between the Trump campaign and Russia."Well, the wait is over, andComey called on Barr to provide "an acknowledgement of the truth" and admit he was wrong in the aftermath of Inspector General Michael Horowitz's released report on the FBI's investigation into connections between the Trump campaign and Russia.

It’s true that Horowitz will also reportedly announce serious irregularities with the FBI’s original handling of the investigation, and Trump’s propagandists will hype this to the skies. But the bottom line is Horowitz is expected to conclude that the investigation’s basis was legitimate, and while we don’t know what Durham will conclude, it seems clear he’s finding little to validate Trumpworld’s wild theories.

The key point here is that Barr, who is gearing up to cast doubt on Horowitz’s conclusions, is continuing to use the levers of government to carry out Trump’s overall corrupt project — which Trump is actively cheering on. Barr is trying to undercut the legitimacy of the Russia investigation’s conclusions — which would help make Russia’s criminal attack on our political system and Trump’s nefarious reaping of its gains disappear.

That’s exactly what Trump tried to extort Ukraine into helping him do, by announcing an “investigation” into the lie that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered, thus validating that lie — part of the corrupt plot for which he’s being impeached.

Giulianis Settle Ugly Divorce Case, Avoiding a Public Trial

  Giulianis Settle Ugly Divorce Case, Avoiding a Public Trial The acrimonious divorce case of Rudolph W. Giuliani and his estranged wife, Judith, a battle that had played out in court and across tabloid headlines for more than a year and a half, came to an abrupt — and harmonious — end on Tuesday evening, according to her lawyer. The couple have resolved all their differences and financial squabbles, according to an emailed statement from Bernard E. Clair, Mrs. Giuliani’s lawyer, and they “intend to remain friends in the years to come.” The Giulianis, who had been married since 2003, were to begin their divorce trial in Manhattan early next year. The details of the settlement will remain confidential, Mr. Clair added.

Giuliani’s latest moves

Giuliani is doing the same as we speak. The New York Times reports that Giuliani has traveled to Budapest and Kyiv, where he’s meeting with shadowy Ukrainian figures to keep building the case that Joe Biden and his son Hunter acted corruptly in Ukraine.

This line of nonsense has been thoroughly debunked, but Giuliani met with one of its key proponents, and is participating in the filming of a fake “documentary” that’s designed to make that narrative seem true.

In other words, Giuliani — who was the ringleader of the scheme to pressure Ukraine to announce investigations that would also make that narrative seem true — has continued to try to achieve the same goals that drove the corrupt plot for which Trump is being impeached.

This, in and of itself, does not necessarily add to the case for impeachment. But, tellingly, when the Times pressed Giuliani to say whether he kept Trump informed of these latest moves, he refused to answer, even though he had previously kept Trump regularly apprised. That means it’s possible Trump has blessed Giuliani’s continued efforts to smear Biden with lies, though without the direct extortion element.

Trump’s intent is corrupt

All of this reinforces the corrupt intent that Trump has exhibited throughout. Republicans still laughably claim Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky only because he cared about “corruption” in Ukraine. But this shows again that Trump’s primary concern has been to achieve announcements of investigations into only the things that would help him politically.

Eric Holder, once Obama’s ‘wingman,’ now calling out Barr for loyalty to Trump

  Eric Holder, once Obama’s ‘wingman,’ now calling out Barr for loyalty to Trump Eric Holder, who headed the U.S. Justice Department under former President Barack Obama, penned a column late Wednesday in which he calls Attorney General William Barr an unfit successor due to "nakedly partisan" actions and loyalty to President Trump. Barr has been a favorite target of Trump critics since becoming attorney general in February following the departure of Jeff Sessions. Barr's detractors see him as a high-ranking enabler of the president who may use the department to serve Trump's personal and political interests.In an interview with Fox News earlier this year, Barr said he was ready for the criticism.

In his July 25 phone call with Zelensky, Trump directed him to talk to Barr and Giuliani, who would, Trump hoped, act as his henchmen in helping Zelensky carry out those investigations. The two have simply continued to carry out this very same effort on Trump’s behalf.

Even as Trump is getting impeached for using the power of his office to falsify the story of his corruption of our last election and to corrupt the next one, he’s still trying to accomplish both goals. And in Barr’s case, he’s cheerfully continuing to rely on the manipulation of the levers of government to do so.

Read more:

Jennifer Rubin: Barr and the GOP cannot handle the truth

Paul Waldman: This scandal keeps getting worse for Rudy Giuliani

E.J. Dionne Jr.: The moral imperative of impeachment

Elizabeth Holtzman: Here’s how broad the House should go in framing articles of impeachment

Jennifer Rubin: Republican squawking can’t distract from Democrats’ key points in hearing

The Post’s View: Democrats should not give up the fight to hear from more witnesses

Lindsey Graham invites Rudy Giuliani to Judiciary panel to discuss recent Ukraine visit .
"Rudy, if you want to come and tell us what you found, I'll be glad to talk to you,” Lindsey Graham says.In an interview airing on Face the Nation Sunday, the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman said that Giuliani, who is serving as the president’s personal attorney, could appear before his committee separately from the impending Senate impeachment trial.

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