On Wednesday, two Ukrainian men – Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman – were arrested at Dulles International Airport as they tried to board an international flight. Earlier that day, the two, according to The Wall Street Journal, had lunch with Rudy Giuliani.
Yes, the same Rudy Giuliani who is President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer and preferred television surrogate. And the same Parnas and Fruman who had been helping Giuliani look into debunked allegations regarding the actions of Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, in Ukraine.
Now, it’s important to note that the felony campaign finance allegations that led to the arrest of Parnas and Fruman have no tie to Giuliani’s efforts in Ukraine. (The two men did make several hundred thousand dollars of donations to the Trump-aligned America First super PAC and, again, according to the Journal, they met with Trump and his son, Donald Trump Jr., this past spring.)
But even so! In Giuliani we are talking about one of the most high-profile figures in the Trump orbit – and one supposedly dealing with the President’s legal well-being. When two dudes who you have been working closely with to dig up dirt against a potential 2020 rival from a foreign country – and with whom you just had lunch! – get arrested on their way out of the country, it doesn’t er, look good.
And this is far from the first time that Giuliani has drawn all sorts of the wrong attention to Trump and his handling of Ukraine.
In what can only be described as a bizarre interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo last month, Giuliani first denied, then seconds later, admitted that he has pushed the Ukrainians to investigate Biden and his son, Hunter.
Around that same time, Giuliani shouted down a fellow Fox News guest who was raising questions about Trump – and Rudy’s – interactions with the Ukranians. “Shut up moron. Shut up. Shut up,” yelled Giuliani. “You don’t know what you’re talking about, idiot.”
And then there was this from Giuliani during a(nother) Fox News appearance:
“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.”
And lest we forget, there was this epic Giuliani quote to The New York Times about his actions in Ukraine back in the spring: “We’re not meddling in an election, we’re meddling in an investigation, which we have a right to do.”
Whether Giuliani actually did anything illegal in his actions in Ukraine remains a very open question. But what is not up for debate – or even close – is that Giuliani appears to be right in the middle of virtually every Ukraine controversy coming out of the Trump White House. And that his response to being at the center of these stories is wildly inappropriate, especially when you consider that the MO of the White House – or, at least, the President – is to say there is no “there” here, and everyone should just move on.
“How is Trump continuing to allow Giuliani to act as his agent,” asked New Yorker staff writer (and CNN contributor) Susan Glasser. “It seems Giuliani’s entanglements are seriously threatening the Presidency at this point.”
Uh, yeah. Bigly.