Trump hears Rudy got "a lot of good information" over there in Ukraine
Please read this article at the Daily Beast about what Rudy is up to. You're going to need to understand it because the Republicans are talking about throwing this whole ridiculous mess into the Senate trial so they can acquit Trump and further smear Biden.
The witnesses stand, with their right hands raised, as if being sworn in for, well, an impeachment hearing. Only this is not in Congress. The cast of obscure Ukrainians—a group seen at home as odious and discredited—are appearing in a television show with President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph Giuliani, in what he casts as an investigation that parallels the process in Congress.
Read on for the rest of this. As I said, it's important. I think we have to gird ourselves for the possibility that McConnell will not be able to contain the circus in the Senate and the president's henchmen will be unleashed to run this "parallel" impeachment of Joe Biden.
It would only be credible in a parallel world.
Andrii Telizhenko, a former Ukrainian diplomat, has been helping Giuliani produce the show for OAN, the One America News Network, a conservative channel now favored by Trump. OAN is publicizing the two-part broadcast this weekend, promising “witnesses who destroy [House Intelligence Committee Chairman] Adam Schiff’s baseless impeachment case against President Trump.”
“Watch top Ukrainian officials testify under oath the side of the story Schiff doesn’t want you to hear,” proclaims the YouTube promo for the broadcast.
But “top officials” they definitely are not. Indeed, Giuliani’s choice of guest stars in his would-be reality show, and his wider cast of sources, caused shock among many in Kyiv’s establishment who know their questionable backgrounds in considerable detail.
What Giuliani’s collaborators have in common is their willingness to testify in his parallel proceedings—or possibly the impeachment trial in the Senate, in the improbable event they are called—or contribute in other ways to Trump’s cause. Some of them have been doing so for years in Ukraine.
Their testimony won’t accommodate President Donald Trump’s “favor” requested during the infamous July 25 phone conversation with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky. Trump and his representatives made it clear they wanted an announcement by Zelensky of a Biden investigation, and that has not happened. But will Giuliani's machinations help put pressure on Zelensky finally to come around? That remains an open question. Those working with Giuliani include a member of Ukraine’s parliament, the Rada, who is in Zelensky’s party.
Trump asked Zelensky for two things: to investigate the Bidens and explore the debunked theory that Ukraine meddled significantly in the 2016 election. He asked Zelensky to find the “hidden DNC server” mentioned in Russian propaganda in order to discredit Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report indicting 12 members of Russian military intelligence, the GRU, for hacking the Democratic National Committee.
“The server, they say Ukraine has it," Trump told Zelensky. But Ukrainian independent corruption and hacking experts share doubts about Giuliani’s sources’ intentions and the so-called evidence against Joe Biden and his son. They also see no substantiation of Russia’s aggressively propagated conspiracy theory.
Trump also asked Zelensky to work with Giuliani.
These requests, coming at a time when vital military support for Ukraine was frozen and no date was set for a promised White House meeting—pending Zelensky’s cooperation—are what triggered impeachment proceedings against Trump for abuse of power. He is accused of using the authority of the United States government to further his own personal political agenda.
None of the requests has been fulfilled and there is a strong belief among Ukraine’s independent corruption fighters that President Zelensky is not going to take Trump’s side in the impeachment process. Last week, Zelensky studiously avoided Giuliani.
On the way to Kyiv, Giuliani met with Ukraine’s ex-prosecutor general, Yuriy Lutsenko, in Budapest, but so far as we can tell from the promotional video, Lutsenko does not appear on the panel in the OAN show.
In an interview with the BBC in September, Lutsenko said he was ready to testify in the impeachment hearings, that he was “not afraid of anything” other than Ukraine falling victim to the storm around the American scandal. But of course it is one thing to say you are not afraid to testify and a completely different thing to make statements under oath in front of Congress and thereby open yourself up to prosecution. (Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, is now in prison for doing that.)
Lutsenko last September, facing nothing more than a BBC camera, sounded meek when pressed to say if he had evidence to back up the Republicans’ argument that Joe Biden supported the energy company, Burisma, that had appointed his son to its board. “It’s not my jurisdiction,” Lutsenko said. “I cannot do anything that is not connected with Ukrainian law.”
The most knowledgeable source of the multiple probes opened into Burisma Holding, but never completed, are two former prosecutors, Viktor Shokin and Kostiantyn Kulyk.
Some of Trump’s obsession with the Biden issue can be traced to interviews that Giuliani conducted with Lutsenko and Shokin back in January with the help of Ukrainian businessmen Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas, both of whom have since been indicted by the U.S. Justice Department for illegal campaign contributions.
The memos of Giuliani's January interviews were delivered to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s office in a manila envelope with the return address listed as “The White House.” They (and the envelope) are among about 100 pages obtained last month through the Freedom of Information Act by the watchdog organization American .
“Of all the people Giuliani met with in Kyiv, ex-prosecutor-general Shokin would most probably take the risk and testify at the upcoming hearing in the Senate,” Ukrainian politician Borislav Bereza told The Daily Beast. Shokin was removed from his position in 2016 partly as a result of pressure from the United States government, including Biden, who was the Obama administration’s point man on Ukraine. Extensive testimony in Congress by U.S. diplomats supports the conclusion that Shokin’s dismissal was the result of the prosecutor’s own alleged corruption.
“Giuliani and his company wanted Zelensky to interfere in the upcoming U.S. presidential elections. It didn’t work out well.”
— Ukraine’s leading corruption fighter, Daria Kaleniuk
The co-founder of Hromadske TV, Natalia Gumenyuk, sees another role for the former prosecutor in the reality-show hearings: his service to the Kremlin-connected billionaire Dmytro Firtash, who’s awaiting extradition from his villa in Vienna to the United States. “Shokin helps Firtash develop the conspiracy of Ukraine’s interference with the U.S. election in 2016, so once behind bars in the U.S. Firtash could claim he was a victim of political injustice.”
It seems that everybody in Giuliani’s Ukrainian camp has his own agenda...
This is the Trump administration. How can we possibly assume that this won't turn into the most surreal political event we've ever seen? Every political event is the most surreal political event we've ever seen.
It could happen.