Friday, May 10, 2019

Scooby Dooby Doo Where Are You

"Meddling Kids", by Wes and Tony at Amazing Superpowers, 2009.

So celebrity attorney Rodolfo Giuliani is flying to Kiyiv to see if he can do some open-air colluding with the Ukrainian president-elect Volodymyr Zelensky on behalf of his famous legal client, Donald J. Trump. He may think Zelensky, a professional comedian and political novice, has something in common with his famous legal client Donald J. Trump, who is also a TV star with no knowledge of public policy or foreign affairs, though I expect Zelensky is a more serious human being. Per Kenneth Vogel in The New York Times,
“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 [on the possibility that the 2016 Trump campaign may have conspired with a foreign power to help them win the election].
“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.”
And I'd have gotten away with it, too, if not for those meddling celebrity attorneys!

The investigation he's encouraging Ukrainian authorities to do, or to keep doing and not stop, depending on which part of the sentence you land in, is to benefit his client by getting some—you guessed it—dirt on Hillary Clinton. I love it, especially in the summer.

The theory being about when Ukrainian authorities in the wake of the 2014 Euromaidan Revolution were investigating the pillaging of ex-president Yanukovych (maybe $12 billion stolen from the country and a personal petting zoo on his palace grounds, of which he said, "I supported the ostriches, what's wrong with that?") and his thugs (somewhere between $70 billion and $100 billion). Investigators found records in a handwritten ledger of $12.6 million in payments to Yanukovych's campaign manager, Paul Manafort, which Manafort had kept secret from everybody including the IRS, and reported the news at a time when Manafort was the campaign manager of Giuliani's famous client Donald J. Trump, who was running for president, so that Manafort had to resign and eventually go to jail for this and a number of other crimes. What Giuliani and the Trumpies "believe" is that the Ukrainian authorities must have been acting at Clinton's behest.

Because why on earth would Ukrainian authorities be investigating the finances of the people who stole $100 billion from their country unless some American politician put them up to it?

And the investigation to determine if Clinton put the Ukrainians up to discovering that Manafort was a tax criminal would be "very, very helpful" to Giuliani's famous client how, exactly? Vogel doesn't really dive into that one, but I imagine it goes sort of like this: Trump has, as Giuliani has frequently assured us, been totally exonerated by the Special Counsel of the crime of conspiring with the Russian government in the 2016 presidential election, but just in case he might turn out to be just a tiny bit onerated, it would be nice if he could say, "What about Hillary? She conspired with the Ukrainian government to force me to fire my campaign manager just because he was a criminal!" Or words to that effect, and even though this would obviously be untrue, an ongoing investigation would enable them to insist that it might be true, and then we could all agree that both sides do it and it can't be helped and why can't we all just move on.

Also hoping for dirt on Joe Biden, whose gross son Hunter took a sinecure board membership with the Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma five years ago, for which I chastised him at the time; Rudy is insinuating that Joe, as vice president, tried to obstruct Ukrainian justice by getting a prosecutor fired when the prosecutor was conducting an investigation of Burisma. Though this cannot possibly be true, since the case in question had been permanently abandoned a couple of years before Joe made this move, see Stephanie Baker and Daryna Krasnolutska for Bloomberg, h/t Jonathan Chait (who seems to have been writing his piece at the same time as I've been writing mine). But that won't bother collusionist Giuliani, who will be satisfied with just spreading the smell of corruption like a snail trail everywhere he creeps, because that's how these people work.

And it certainly is meddling with a foreign power in an election, Trump's in 2020, if the plan is to revive the dead Burisma investigation in the hope of sliming Joe Biden as a presidential candidate, and Giuliani probably will get away with it (Trump's contribution to the technique has been doing it so publicly that nobody can believe he's really doing it—when he finally does shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue, David French or Andrew McCarthy will be publishing learned analyses saying "I'm no Trump fan, but this was clearly self-defense, and besides a sitting president can't commit a murder").

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