I don’t pretend to know which it is, but considering Giuliani has said so many wild, incriminating and demonstrably false things in TV interviews and publicly bragged about finding dirt on Biden, there is little doubt his appearance would go a long way toward promoting impeachment. At the very least, it would of course wreck Trump’s bogus attorney-client privilege and absolute immunity claims.
So one could hardly be surprised that although Giuliani was definitely not acting as Trump’s lawyer on Ukraine matters, he let on that he would hide behind the attorney-client privilege.
For a little while there, Democrats — especially three Democratic senators on the committee who are running for president (Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kamala D. Harris of California and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota) — were pinching themselves, wondering if Graham actually made such an enticing offer.
Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) on Tuesday highlighted a potential dilemma for Giuliani as he decides whether he wants to take up Graham’s offer to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee.In a tweet, Harris responded to Graham’s announcement on Twitter that he asked Giuliani to share his concerns “about corruption and other improprieties involving Ukraine.”“Good. I have questions,” tweeted Harris, who has earned a reputation for her aggressive questioning of witnesses before the committee, including now-Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh.
That would have been the ticket to reverse her drop in the polls. Harris was effective in grilling multiple nominees — including Attorney General William P. Barr, who, by the way, was stumped by her question as to whether Trump ever asked or suggested he investigate someone — as was Klobuchar, who led Kavanaugh to lash out at her question about whether he had engaged in excessive drinking.
Until now, Republicans have been averse to calling Giuliani, both because he might refuse to answer and/or turn the proceedings into a circus, as Corey Lewandowski did. However, the stakes here are extremely high from Giuliani and Trump. If you remember the devastating questioning of Lewandowski undertaken by House Judiciary Committee counsel Barry Berke, you may appreciate how a skilled questioner can expose a witness as a liar and eager Trump accomplice. In the case of Giuliani, who is far less disciplined than Lewandowski, one can only imagine what conversations, communications, meetings and evidence he might reveal.
The reaction of Republicans and Democrats to Graham’s offer should be telling. Democrats, at this point, have a good enough command of the facts to know that Trump, aided by Giuliani, sought foreign assistance from, and held up aid to, Ukraine. They know what Giuliani has said previously. They see a golden opportunity to demonstrate how divorced from reality and contemptuous of the law are Trump and Giuliani. A first-year law student would be able to elicit dangerous admissions from Giuliani.
If Republicans dread the prospect of his testimony, they should ask themselves why they are so afraid to hear Giuliani expound upon his and Trump’s efforts. It might just be that they know the July 25 phone call was not “perfect,” and know full well that a president cannot use a nongovernment official draped in the authority of the president to obtain dirt on a political opponent from foreign governments. They might fear Giuliani’s appearance because he has flat-out admitted to raising the subject of the Bidens with foreign governments and, to boot, has adopted utterly insane conspiracy theories that Trump, his attorney general and a good segment of the Republican Party have bought into.
Graham’s offer really is too good to be true, so do not expect Giuliani to testify under oath. Nevertheless, the reaction to the possibility of his testimony should tell you a lot about the trouble Trump is in, and the impossibility of defending him once somebody (or many bodies) spill the beans.