Donald Trump is in trouble, and he appears to know it.
While there’s certainly some poetic justice in the fact that Ukraine is at the heart of the latest calls for impeachment, and while there is a link to the 2016 election, that the president would have survived the Mueller probe only to be brought down by a comparatively petty demand that Volodymyr Zelensky re-launch the Burisma probe, is absurd and speaks to Trump’s penchant for pushing the envelope at every possible opportunity.
Rudy Giuliani – who spearheaded the effort to compel Ukraine to go after the Bidens – is now on the defensive, both on behalf of his client (the president) and himself. For whatever reason, Trump still lets Rudy appear on national television despite Giuliani having shown, time and again during the Mueller investigation, that he isn’t capable.
After getting embarrassed by CNN’s Chris Cuomo last week (despite Cuomo literally pleading with Rudy to “be careful”) Giuliani had an opportunity to play to a friendly crowd with Fox’s Maria Bartimoro on Monday.
Despite the Trump-friendly venue, it did not go well. Giuliani came across as a raving geriatric, ranting and gesticulating wildly as his paranoid, beady eyes darted around the room.
After allowing Rudy to spend a solid 10 minutes expounding on every conceivable angle of the Burisma story (a story which, you’re reminded, everyone has already heard dozens of times, including from Hunter Biden himself in a New Yorker profile), Bartiromo had finally heard enough.
“The president’s skeptics are not focused on that at all”, Maria said, literally extending her right arm in an effort to shut Giuliani up. “Look, I understand, I understand”, she pressed, trying in vain to shout Rudy down in the interest of getting to the only question that matters which is “Did the president threaten to cut off aid to the Ukraine?”
“No. No, that was a false story”, Giuliani said.
“100%?”, Bartiromo asked, waving her hand for effect.
Giuliani faltered. “Well, I can’t tell you if it’s 100%”.
“Because we know the US administration did delay aid to the Ukraine”, Bartiromo continued, literally shouting at that point. “Why?”
Rudy deflected, pivoting back to a Wall Street Journal editorial that has the White House upset. He called it “a false” story.
Eventually, Bartiromo gave up. “Ok”, she said, in the kind of fatalistic cadence you use when you realize you’re dealing with someone who has absolutely no intention of telling you the truth or even keeping up the pretense of being credible.
Giuliani’s disaster of an interview came 24 hours after Trump admitted, while screaming at reporters before departing for a Texas stadium rally with India’s Narendra Modi, that Biden did come up on the July 25 call at the heart of the whistle-blower complaint which is still being withheld from Congress.
“You’re going to see”, Trump said Monday, when asked what was said on the call.
Or maybe we won’t.
Because White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham told Fox that releasing a transcript of the conversation “could set a bad precedent”. Steve Mnuchin said the same thing on Sunday.