The last may be most worrisome, for when the former New York mayor and current raving madman went on CNN on Thursday night to explain the president’s promise, his primary defense was to shout out Joe Biden’s name — 24 times (with cameos for George Soros and Whitey Bulger’s nephew). Giuliani said he had proof that Biden bribed the Ukrainian government to protect his son, but “I don’t have to give you the proof” — and, alas, available evidence doesn’t support Giuliani’s claim.
In the process, Giuliani managed to contradict himself within seconds, first saying he didn’t ask Ukraine to investigate Biden, then saying, “Of course I did.” He completed his defense of the president with a series of random interjections shouted at host Chris Cuomo: “You are a sellout. . . . Come after me! . . . Go somewhere on an island. . . . Do you think I’m a fool? . . . I’m institutionally insulting you. . . . Holy God! . . . You don’t think there’s a Deep State? . . . Wait, wait, damn it, let me finish! . . . Of course I’m making sense! . . . You shouldn’t be embarrassed for me. . . . Of course I’m aware of what I’m saying! . . . You shouldn’t have a good night!”
Clearly, Trump and his wild-eyed lawyer can do better. I am here for them.
The Post reported Wednesday night that the administration was blocking Congress from learning about an “urgent” intelligence-agency whistleblower complaint involving Trump’s promise to a foreign leader, it listed possible countries as Russia, North Korea, Qatar, Pakistan and the Netherlands. This left open the hopeful possibility that Trump, having failed to buy Greenland from Denmark, had entered into a promise to buy Aruba from the Dutch. This would likely be a friendly transaction, because the people of Aruba’s capital, Oranjestad, would welcome an orange president.
Even if the mystery leader turned out to be Putin, all was not lost. Trump needn’t have promised Putin Ukraine. Maybe he promised him something innocuous, such as a Mar-a-Lago membership, a Presidential Medal of Freedom or Alaska. Maybe it was as simple as promising Putin a new steed for his next horseback photo shoot.
The defense became trickier Thursday night, however, when The Post reported that Trump’s “promise” did indeed involve Ukraine, and Friday, with reports that he asked Ukraine to investigate Biden’s son. This raised the ominous possibility that Trump might have offered to give Ukraine a promised $250 million in military aid against Russia-backed separatists only if Ukraine provided dirt on Biden (or information helpful to imprisoned former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort).
Still, there are plenty of totally benign explanations for why Trump withheld the $250 million:
1. Trump was just joking, like when he asked Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails. (The new Ukrainian president was a comedian!)
2. Mexico was supposed to pay for it.
3. Biden took the $250 million!
5. Trump needed the $250 million because Saudi emoluments were in arrears at the Trump International Hotel in Washington.
7. Trump needed the money because the Air Force stopped booking personnel at Trump’s resort in Scotland.
8. The Pentagon repurposed the $250 million to build the wall.
10. Trump needed the funds for hush money.
11. The funds were needed to keep Giuliani under 24-hour supervision in a tranquil setting.
In the unlikely event all these explanations fail, Trump could finally fall back on this one, which has the virtue of being true: His “promise” wasn’t necessary. Russia is already interfering in the 2020 election cycle, undoubtedly to help Trump as it did last time. Trump has also befriended many of the world’s most brutal autocrats and strongmen, in North Korea, the Philippines, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Hungary and Brazil — and some of them are sure to give Trump an assist in the election as well.
Is Trump “dumb enough” to believe he has to ask?