Rudy Colludy Twisting Ukraine's Arm To Investigate Joe Biden

Third verse, same as the first. Little bit louder, and a little bit worse. Or in Donald Trump's case, a whole lot louder, and so, so much worse. Rudy Giuliani has once again rung up his pal Ken Vogel at the New York Times to announce that he is concocting a bullshit scandal out of thin air to damage Donald Trump's political rivals. If the paper wants to get in on the ground floor of this one, Rudy can arrange a front row seat for the low-low price of simply printing this Ukrainium One nonsense as if it might actually be true.

Perhaps we are too hard on the Times. Without their particular brand of access journalism, would we get Rudy unfiltered shouting, "HEY EVERYONE, I'M GOING TO UKRAINE TO LEAN ON THE GOVERNMENT TO GIN UP A SCANDAL AGAINST MY CLIENT'S POLITICAL RIVALS"?

"We're not meddling in an election, we're meddling in an investigation, which we have a right to do," Mr. Giuliani said in an interview on Thursday when asked about the parallel to the special counsel's inquiry.

"There's nothing illegal about it," he said. "Somebody could say it's improper. And this isn't foreign policy — I'm asking them to do an investigation that they're doing already and that other people are telling them to stop. And I'm going to give them reasons why they shouldn't stop it because that information will be very, very helpful to my client, and may turn out to be helpful to my government."

Indeed, somebody might call it "inappropriate" for the president's personal lawyer to use the weight of the US government to pressure foreign legal authorities to investigate his political rivals. Somebody could even describe it as banana republic crazy shit that the American president is asking a foreign government for help with his reelection campaign.

He said his efforts in Ukraine have the full support of Mr. Trump. He declined to say specifically whether he had briefed him on the planned meeting with Mr. Zelensky [Ukraine's incoming president], but added, "He basically knows what I'm doing, sure, as his lawyer."

Ukraine, if you're listening ...

But since the Uranium One story was a complete fabrication and that managed to catch fire, it would behoove us to pay attention to this shit before it really takes hold. We've already done a preliminary dive into the particulars, but the main thrust here is that Joe Biden's son Hunter was on the board of a Ukrainian natural gas company called Burisma, whose owner Mykola Zlochevsky was under investigation by state prosecutors. In 2016, Joe Biden and a consortium of Western powers threatened to withhold US aid from Ukraine if the chief prosecutor, a comically corrupt character named Viktor Shokin, was not immediately removed. And even though the investigation into Zlochevsky had gone dormant in 2014 and 2015, Rudy Giuliani insists that Joe Biden was only insisting on good governance in Ukraine to help enrich his own son and thus it is LOCK HIM UP.

And while it was exceedingly poor judgment for Hunter Biden to take money from Ukrainians while his father was lobbying against corruption in that country, we're not sure what the vice president should have done about it. Was he supposed to ground his 46-year-old son and take away his car keys? Refuse to advocate against corruption in Ukraine? On this point, Rudy and the rest of the liars are unclear. But perhaps we can all agree not to elect Hunter Biden president, okay?

Giuliani's campaign appears to have already netted its first scalp. He and Victoria Toensing -- a legal bottom feeder who's been flogging horseshit in Wingnutistan since the Clinton administration -- have been meeting with Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko to encourage him to investigate both the Biden story and possible overtures by the Clinton campaign to get dirt on Paul Manafort. In March, Lutsenko alleged and then walked back an allegation that America's Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch gave him a list of people not to prosecute. Foreign Policy reports:

Lutsenko's allegations about Yovanovitch came two weeks after she issued scathing remarks about Ukraine's anti-corruption efforts and called on the authorities to fire special anti-corruption prosecutor Nazar Kholodnytsky. In wiretapped phone conversations, Kholodnytsky allegedly coached suspects on how to avoid corruption charges.

Lutsenko made his claim against Yovanovitch in an interview with Hill.TV's John Solomon, which aired on March 20. That same day, the Hill published two further pieces based off what appears to be the same interview with Lutsenko, in which the prosecutor said he had opened a probe into alleged attempts by Ukrainian law enforcement to tip the 2016 U.S. presidential election in favor of Hillary Clinton by leaking financial ledgers with details of payments made to Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort by former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

You'll be astonished to discover that the Trump administration just You're Fired Yovanovitch, leaving us with no ambassador as Ukraine's government transitions to a new president in June. This being GREAT AGAIN is awesome! Incoming president Volodymyr Zelensky says he intends to replace Lutsenko, so who even knows how the pieces will shake out over the summer.

While we're out here in the weeds, though, again with JOHN SOLOMON and his crap? The guy whose own co-workers flipped out over his insane Uranium One coverage, forcing The Hill to switch him over to the opinion section, is back at it pretending that the Mueller investigation was illegitimate because maybe a DNC staffer asked the Ukrainians if Paul Manafort was a guilty sumbitch. Which he was! The guy is currently in jail for bringing in $20 million of "blood money" he got paid by Ukrainian oligarchs to ratfuck the election in favor of Putin's candidate (haha, funny, we mean in Ukraine!), but somehow it was ILLEGAL to ask if the guy was dirty?

And we know irony is long dead, but the fact that the GOP admits that they are colluding with a foreign government to prove that Hillary colluded with a foreign government to influence the 2016 election is a little too on the nose, even for the nightmare hellscape that is 2019.

Okay, that's enough crazy shit for now. But pay attention to this story, idiotic as it is. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice ... WON'T GET FOOLED AGAIN.

(Goddamn them for making us miss W!)

[NYT / Bloomberg / FP]

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Liz Dye

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.


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