Rudy Giuliani's Actions in Ukraine for Trump 'the Highest of High Crimes,' Says Law Professor

A Georgetown University law professor said the actions of Rudy Giuliani in Ukraine show that President Donald Trump has committed the "highest of high crimes" by abusing the power of his office to advance his own interests.

On Wednesday evening, Giuliani, who is Trump's personal lawyer, tweeted that "everything I did was to discover evidence to defend my client against false charges."

Responding to the tweet, Georgetown's Professor Marty Lederman wrote that it "confirms what was so outrageous," namely that Giuliani did not represent the United States but was operating solely in the interests of his client.

Trump is facing an impeachment inquiry over his conduct towards Ukraine. House Democrats accuse Trump of attempting to solicit the interference of a foreign government in the 2020 election for his own political advantage.

Giuliani has spent months chasing down spurious corruption allegations against former Vice President Joe Biden—a leading candidate for the 2020 Democratic nomination—and his son Hunter Biden, who sat on the board of a Ukrainian gas company.

The former New York City mayor was also pursuing a widely-debunked conspiracy theory that the DNC conspired with the cybersecurity company CrowdStrike to frame Russia for election meddling, and that the evidence is held on a server in Ukraine.

It was part of his effort to defend his client against special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, which concluded that Russia interfered in the 2016 election to benefit Trump, though the probe did not establish a conspiracy between the Kremlin and the campaign.

Now, it has emerged that Trump asked Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to open investigations into both the Bidens and the CrowdStrike conspiracy theory in a July 25 phone call of which the White House released a summary.

During that call, Trump urged Zelenskiy to speak with Giuliani—who had no official capacity with the U.S. government—to discuss the potential investigations. Zelenskiy said his assistants had met with Giuliani and that he hoped to meet him when he comes to Ukraine.

Moreover, Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat to Ukraine, testified to Congress that he thought Trump was dangling a potential White House meeting for Zelensky and withholding military aid from the country as leverage to ensure the investigations were opened and publicly announced.

It is evidence of a quid pro quo between the Trump and Zelensky regarding the investigations. Trump denies any wrongdoing and insists there was no quid pro quo.

This month, two of Giuliani's associates working with him in his Ukraine inquiries, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, were indicted on campaign finance charges.

They are accused of covertly funneling Russian money to U.S. political campaigns and using it to try to influence U.S.-Ukraine relations by pushing for the recall of the ambassador in Kyiv.

"With all the Fake News let me make it clear that everything I did was to discover evidence to defend my client against false charges," Giuliani wrote on Twitter last night. "Dems would be horrified by the attacks on me, if my client was a terrorist. But they don't believe @realDonaldTrump has rights. Justice will prevail."

Georgetown's Lederman wrote: "This merely confirms what was so outrageous: Giuliani wasn't a representative or employee of the United States; his duty of loyalty was 100% to his (personal capacity) client. And yet Trump told Ukraine it had to dance to Rudy's tune.

"A tune *designed to advance Trump's personal interests*--in order to remain in the U.S.'s good graces (e.g., to secure access, aid, etc.).

"This is the highest of high crimes—using the leverage of his position as chief diplomat to advance his own interests—and it's hard to imagine anything more inconsistent w/Trump's constitutional oath & duty and more revealing of his utter unfitness for office.

"And that'd be true *even if there were no quid pro quo* (but of course there was, which makes it all the worse)."

According to Article II, Section 4, of the U.S. Constitution: "The President, Vice President and all Civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors."

Rudy Giuliani Ukraine Donald Trump CrowdStrike Biden
Former New York City Mayor and attorney to President Donald Trump Rudy Giuliani visits "Mornings With Maria" with anchor Maria Bartiromo at Fox Business Network Studios on September 23, 2019 in New York City. Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

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