Despite scrutiny, Giuliani heads abroad to advance pro-Trump gambit  12/04/2019 17:54:19   Steve Benen

Common sense suggests Rudy Giuliani should probably take it easy for a while, and perhaps consider a lower profile. After all, Donald Trump’s personal attorney is reportedly facing a possible criminal investigation, and as the presidential impeachment process moves forward, the former New York City mayor is at the center of a highly scandalous scheme.

But Giuliani isn’t laying low at all. The New York Times reported today on his latest trip abroad and the extension of his misguided mission in eastern Europe.

Even as Democrats intensified their scrutiny this week of Rudolph W. Giuliani’s role in the pressure campaign against the Ukrainian government that is at the heart of the impeachment inquiry, Mr. Giuliani has been in Europe continuing his efforts to shift the focus to purported wrongdoing by President Trump’s political rivals.

Mr. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, met in Budapest on Tuesday with a former Ukrainian prosecutor, Yuriy Lutsenko, who has become a key figure in the impeachment inquiry. He then traveled to Kyiv on Wednesday seeking to meet with other former Ukrainian prosecutors whose claims have been embraced by Republicans, including Viktor Shokin and Kostiantyn H. Kulyk, according to people familiar with the effort.

To provide some context to this, note that Giuliani published a tweet this week, announcing that he’d begun work on an important project with the One America News Network (OANN), which is effectively a media outlet for those who see Fox News as a bit too moderate.

The Republican lawyer added that the project intends to bring before the American people information that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and his recent proceedings covered up.

If this is starting to sound a little kooky, it gets much worse.

It appears Giuliani is still trying to dig up dirt on Joe Biden, and to that end, he’s in eastern Europe this week, talking to witnesses who’ve been eager to promote highly dubious claims about Biden, Marie Yovanovitch, and those who helped convict Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort.

As today’s New York Times report added, Giuliani is conducting interviews with witnesses in a pretty amazing way: Some of the Ukrainians interviewed by Mr. Giuliani were sworn in on camera to testify under oath in a manner that the network claims debunks the impeachment hoax.

In case this isn’t obvious, these interviews are not official legal proceedings. The on-air conversations do not constitute actual testimony. The fact that Giuliani’s allies are being sworn in on camera is television drama intended to make the segments appear more legitimate.

If Giuliani expects this embarrassing display to help change the impeachment debate, he should probably start lowering expectations now.

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