“Shut up moron. Shut up. Shut up. You don’t know what you’re talking about, idiot.”
That was Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, shouting down a guest on Fox News who disagreed with him about the whistleblower complaint filed against the President regarding a conversation he had in July with the President of Ukraine.
While Trump might like that sort of thing – the President is big into bullying – a shouting Giuliani isn’t exactly the sort of image the administration likely wants to convey on Ukraine. After all, Trump himself has said that the call between himself and Volodymyr Zelensky was “perfect” and that the transcript of said call, which isn’t a transcript at all, will prove that this was much ado over nothing. That cool-as-a-cucumber vibe isn’t exactly in keeping with Giuliani’s televised rage.
And, Tuesday night wasn’t the first time in recent weeks where Giuliani has flown off the handle – either in anger or seeming chaos – regarding Ukraine.
Remember last week (seems like months ago now!) when Giuliani first denied to CNN’s Chris Cuomo that he asked Ukraine to look into Joe Biden and then, literally seconds later, reversed himself to say “of course” he had asked the Ukrainians to investigate Biden. (Even almost a week later, that moment is incredibly surreal.)
Or this, from a Wednesday morning Fox News interview with Giuliani:
“You want to know why I started investigating Ukraine back in November of last year? Because a very, very significant distinguished investigator came to me and said, ‘the Ukrainians for a year-and-a-half have been trying to get to your FBI information much more significant.’ There was actually real collusion that involved the Ukrainians. But the FBI did everything they could to keep this information away, and I’m going to tell you why I think. Because at the core of this is an FBI agent, Greenwood or something, she put all this together. The suspicion was at the time she was working for George Soros. The reality is she’s now employed by George Soros.”
Soros! The favorite bogeyman of the right! It was him behind all of this Ukraine stuff! Of course!
Here’s the thing: Ever since the news broke in May that Giuliani was pressuring the Ukrainians to investigate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, for alleged corruption in the country, the former New York City mayor has been acting very very strange. (Important note: Every independent fact-checker who has looked at the idea that Joe or Hunter Biden did something unethical has concluded they did not.)
“We’re not meddling in an election, we’re meddling in an investigation, which we have a right to do,” Giuliani told The New York Times, which originally broke the news of his plans to travel to Kiev to exert his influence to bring about an investigation. Amid the firestorm created by Trump’s personal lawyer traveling to a foreign country to urge said country to dig into a potential political rival of the President, Giuliani canceled the trip – insisting he had been “set up” by Ukrainians who opposed Trump.
But that canceled trip was only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Giuliani’s involvement in Ukraine, according to a Washington Post story published Tuesday night with this headline: “Giuliani pursued shadow Ukraine agenda as key foreign policy officials were sidelined.” That piece includes this key paragraph:
“After the conclusion of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation of Russia’s role in the 2016 election, Giuliani turned his attention to Ukraine, officials said, and soon began pushing for personnel changes at the embassy while seeking meetings with Zelensky subordinates. He also had his own emissaries in Ukraine who were meeting with officials, setting up meetings for him and sending back information that he could circulate in the United States.”
The question all of this behavior raises is: Why? Why is the President’s lawyer so emotional and well, angry, every time the subject of what he did (or didn’t do) in Ukraine comes up?
The best case answer for Giuliani is that he cares deeply about his work in Ukraine for Trump, believes – again, against all independent fact-checkers – that the Bidens really did act inappropriately and feels like the “real” story isn’t getting out.
But man, does that seem unlikely. The other possibility is that Giuliani is sensitive about all of this because he is aware at some level that he is waaaaaaay out on a limb on Ukraine and he is hyper-sensitive about that fact.
Regardless of the reason, Giuliani’s angry demeanor simply does not comport with what the Trump White House is trying to sell on Ukraine. Which makes it all the more interesting that Giuliani just keeps going on TV to talk – and yell – about it.