A lawyer on President Trump’s impeachment defense team on Monday called Trump personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani a “minor player” in the Ukraine inquiry who nonetheless came out smelling better than lead House Democratic impeachment manager Adam B. Schiff.
Presidential lawyer Jane Raskin said Democrats have portrayed Mr. Giuliani unfairly as the “proxy villain” in their impeachment case.
“Fact is, in the end, after a two-year siege on the presidency, two inspector general reports and a $32 million special counsel investigation, turns out Rudy was spot on,” Ms. Raskin told senators. “Seems to me, if we’re keeping score on who got it right on allegations of FISA abuse, egregious misconduct at the highest level of the FBI, of alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, and supposed obstruction of justice in connection with the special counsel investigation — the score is Mayor Giuliani four, Mr. Schiff zero.”
She urged senators not to be distracted by House Democrats’ focus on him.
“Yes, Mayor Giuliani was President Trump’s personal attorney, but he was not on a political errand,” Ms. Raskin told the Senate during the second day of the president’s defense. “In this trial, in this moment, Mr Giuliani is just a minor player, that shiny object designed to distract you.”
House impeachment managers have cited Mr. Giuliani’s role as a private go-between for the president in Ukraine, seeking to start an investigation of Joseph R. Biden that would harm the Democratic presidential candidate in 2020. Ms. Raskin, who noted that she served with Mr. Giuliani in defending Mr. Trump during special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russian collusion probe, said the former New York mayor’s work began in late 2018, six months before Mr. Biden announced his candidacy, and was directed instead at the 2016 election.
“He was doing what good defense attorneys do,” she said of Mr. Giuliani. “He was gathering evidence regarding Ukrainian election interference to defend his client against the false allegations [of Russian collusion] being investigated by special counsel Mueller. But the House managers didn’t even allude to that possibility. Instead, they just repeated their mantra that Giuliani’s motive was purely political. And that speaks volumes about the bias with which they have approached their mission.”
Mr. Giuliani was working with two former associates, who are now indicted on campaign finance violations, something that Ms. Raskin didn’t mention. Testimony from several impeachment witnesses indicated that he played a role in seeking the ouster of former Ukraine ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, whom he believed was impeding his investigation there.
U.S. intelligence agencies long ago concluded that Russia, not Ukraine, interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Ms. Raskin said Mr. Giuliani’s actions have been vindicated, compared with allegations raised by Mr. Schiff, House Intelligence Committee chairman, against the president.
“The bottom line is, Mr Giuliani defended President Trump vigorously, relentlessly, and publicly throughout the Mueller investigation,” she told senators. “The House managers may not like his style. You may not like his style. But one might argue that he is everything Clarence Darrow said a defense lawyer must be — outrageous, irreverent, blasphemous, a rogue, a renegade.”
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