By Dan Peak
Commoner Call (1/2/20)
Dear Fellow Readers,
Trump’s personal clown lawyer Rudy Giuliani might as well be Trump’s pay-for-play Secretary of State.
We are told that Rudy is not being paid by Trump. To date we only know that Giuliani has received $500,000 from indicted associate Lev Parnas, who has been paid $1 million by indicted Russian billionaire oligarch Dymtro Firtash who is linked to Russian mafia in addition to being at the center of all things Trump-Ukraine conspiracy theories. Of course Trump has acknowledged that he’s getting his guidance from Russian President Vladimir Putin, but it’s Firtash that seems to be at the heart of constructing the phony stories.
Giuliani trots back and forth to Ukraine by way of Firstash’s place of house arrest while fighting extradition to the US, Vienna.
Before digging into added perspective on the sordid tale, let’s make sure we remember, Putin is not so much helping Trump as he is helping himself.
I went with the Daily Kos representation of the NBC story for brevity, but you can link here.
A Trumpster defense has been “No Ukrainians Were Harmed…”. The truth is far different:
“Except for the way it put everyone in Ukraine at risk. And the way it signaled to Vladimir Putin that he had a green light to carry on with his plans to dismantle Europe, rebuild the Soviet Union, and destroy that pesky idea of liberal democracy.
“As reports, Ukraine’s five-year effort to hold back invading Russian forces has cost the lives of 13,000 people and left nearly 430,000 children displaced, orphaned, or otherwise traumatized. Meanwhile, the ever-shifting border has left 2 million people ringed-in by land mines and military forces. Against that backdrop, any sign that support from the United States is weakening is seen not as a temporary delay, but as an existential threat.”
Giuliani is paid indirectly by an indicted Russian oligarch wanted by the US for money laundering while setting Ukraine policy for Trump which is all about finding dirt on a political opponent to benefit Trump’s personal reelection.
And Trumpsters and Republicans want you to understand that there is no problem with any of this. Giuliani is the conduit to make sure the conspiracy theories get attention.
Add to list
“…Giuliani’s ongoing role as Trump’s attorney overlaps with his ongoing efforts to bolster Trump in the media. This is with Trump’s blessing, Giuliani New York magazine’s Olivia Nuzzi earlier this month.
“Trump “was annoyed because over the last couple of weeks I’ve been pulling all his facts together and I haven’t been on television,” Giuliani said. “People who think he doesn’t like me on television, I don’t know where they get that from. It’s just the opposite.””
Trump pushes his own ‘truths’ through repetition of lies and force of personality. None of Giuliani’s ‘finds’ have any credibility. Even Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) “ over the weekend that any evidence presented by Giuliani should be scrubbed for possible Russian propaganda, an obviously important step, given the among several of those with whom he has been working.”
Giuliani has no interest in validating his conspiracy theories and neither do Trump or his promoters over at Fox News.
Trump strives for his own truths and Giuliani is his personal promoter.
But Giuliani is not the only agent of a pay-to-play State Department and Ukraine is not the only place the Trump shills are making money. U.S. policy working against you? Call Giuliani for a direct pipeline to Trump to ‘fix’ this, or try this guy…
“Erik Prince, a major Republican donor and founder of controversial security firm Blackwater, has been referred to the U.S. Treasury Department for possible sanctions violations tied to his recent trip to for a meeting with a top aide of President Nicolas Maduro, two senior U.S. officials said.
“But the fact the visit was flagged underscores the concern of officials in the Trump administration over what appeared to be anunauthorized diplomatic outreach to Maduro. This, as support for opposition leader Juan Guaidó inside Venezuela — if not Washington — appears to be waning.”
Prince was not indicted for lying to Congress during special counsel Mueller’s investigation. One of a number of unanswered questions, but here he is again, reminiscent of his Seychelles meeting with a Russian banker to establish a secret back-channel of communication during the Trump election effort.
I never said Giuliani wasn’t also angling for a payout from Venezuela, only that he was not the only one. Here’s Rudy’s story.
That’s right; Giuliani is negotiating US-Venezuela relations with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. Giuliani was not coordinating with Sec. State Mike Pompeo or with then national security adviser John Bolton, he was — once again — running rogue with US policy – exactly what he’s done with and for Trump in Ukraine.
Don’t cry for Rudy, he does get paid for his fine work (like Ukraine/Firtash). As usual, Rudy’s clients and associates are only of the finest quality:
Yet another money-launderer in trouble with the US Justice Department. Makes you wonder yet again: is Trump or any Trumpster actually working in the best interest of the US?
One final point. Here’s a headline to highlight on a challenge that will likely receive some clarity early in 2020.
The Truth Out article references this New York Times lengthy explanation of how Trump et al manipulated military aid to Ukraine And yes, it was a quid pro quo. deal The New York Times article is titled, “Behind the Ukraine Aid Freeze: 84 Days of Conflict and Confusion”.
The Truth Out article gives a good summary comment:
“In an attempt to retroactively justify President Donald Trump’s decision to place a hold on nearly $400 million in congressionally-appropriated aid to Ukraine, top lawyers in the White House budget office — in concert with the Justice Department — reportedly developed an argument that Trump could simply override Congress and flout relevant laws by simply asserting his authority as commander-in-chief.”
In so many ways Trump acts as if he is singularly able to ‘decide’, laws be damned.
There are three separate cases that will be heard by the Supreme Court. All three cases involve requests for Trump’s financial and tax records, two from the House and one from Manhattan District prosecutor. These cases were always going to go all the way to the Supreme Court and we are there; arguments will be heard in March.
Trump legal defense for him as a unitary — sole decider — executive says he cannot be investigated while in office. One Dem argument points out that the requests are about Trump’s personal life, not his role as president, and the requests are of third-parties like his accounting firm, Mazars, and the Trump Organization.
Political historian Heather Cox Richardson offered a lengthy update on various court challenges of Trump’s self-purported expansive authority that will be affected by a SCOTUS decision. Richardson highlights the Trump argument of absolute immunity for White House staff, here.
Congress has been ceding authority to the President for many decades. In 2020 we’ll see if the Judiciary interprets any limits of executive authority.
By the way, Trump is not the only state executive who presumes immunity, here’s another trying to stay a step ahead of the law: Netanyahu To Ask Israeli Parliament For Immunity From Criminal Charges.
Happy New Year! Impeach AND Remove!
(Commoner Call cartoon by Mark L. Taylor, 2018. Open source and free for non-derivative use with link toe www.thecommonercall.org )