“Here’s my choice: I deal with the Comeys of the world, or I deal with Rudy,” Trump said, referring to former FBI Director James Comey. Trump explained that he has “a very bad taste” of the US intelligence community, because of the Russia investigation, so he turned to Giuliani.
Trump is now personally confirming that he dispatched Rudy on a plot to rig the 2020 election immediately following the entry of Joe Biden into the race:
Early May: 1-2 weeks later, a plan to rig the election against him was put into motion. Conducted by Giuliani and, now acknowledged to be directed by Trump, who immediately looped in his National Security Advisor, Chief of Staff, and Chief Legal Counsel. The original reporting from NYT on Bolton’s manuscript:
President Trump directed John R. Bolton, then his national security adviser, to help with his pressure campaign to extract damaging information on Democrats from Ukrainian officials, according to an unpublished manuscript by Mr. Bolton….Mr. Trump gave the instruction, Mr. Bolton wrote, during an Oval Office conversation in early May that included the acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, the president’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani and the White House counsel, Pat A. Cipollone, who is now leading the president’s impeachment defense.
“We’re not meddling in an election, we’re meddling in an investigation, which we have a right to do,. There’s nothing illegal about it,” he said. “Somebody could say it’s improper. And this isn’t foreign policy — I’m asking them to do an investigation that they’re doing already and that other people are telling them to stop. And I’m going to give them reasons why they shouldn’t stop it because that information will be very, very helpful to my client, and may turn out to be helpful to my government.”
Bolton’s manuscript goes on to show that Trump was directing this scheme in detail through staff other that Giuliani, and was attempting to extort Zelensky from the get go:
Mr. Trump told Mr. Bolton to call Volodymyr Zelensky, who had recently won election as president of Ukraine, to ensure Mr. Zelensky would meet with Mr. Giuliani:
Mr. Parnas’ phone included a screenshot of a previously-undisclosed May 10, 2019, letter from Mr. Giuliani to then-President-elect Zelensky. The one-page letter signed by Mr. Giuliani states, in part:
Dear President-Elect Zelensky:
I am private counsel to President Donald J. Trump. Just to be precise, I represent him as a private citizen, not as President of the United States. This is quite common under American law because the duties and privileges of a President and a private citizen are not the same. Separate representation is usual process.
However, I have a more specific request. In my capacity as personal counsel to President Trump and with his knowledge and consent, I request a meeting with you on this upcoming Monday, May 13th or Tuesday, May 14th. I will need no more than a half-hour of your time and I will be accompanied by my colleague Victoria Toensing, a distinguished American attorney who is very familiar with this matter.
Mr. Parnas texted a copy of the letter to a close aide to then-President-elect Zelensky shortly after it was drafted.
Mr. Giuliani’s letter makes clear that his trip, which he publicly described at the time as an effort to “meddle in an investigation,” was undertaken with the knowledge and support of President Trump.
And now that impeachment is over, Bolton and Giuliani never even having been called as a witnesses, Trump feels comfortable admitting everything. Because this interview is a flex. Because the ultimate defense of his actions is always the same: “Fuck you. I can do whatever I want”.
And he’s right. Unless we stop him.