Wednesday, November 13, 2019

The Case for the Impeachment Defense

By Rudy Giuliani| The Wall Street Journal

President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in New York, Sept. 25. PHOTO: SAUL LOEB/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

My client’s call with the Ukrainian president was innocent, and the House inquiry is a travesty.

If your only sources of news the past two months have been CNN and MSNBC, you probably think President Trump has committed some heinous act that is deserving of being drawn, quartered and carted out of the White House.

That’s a false narrative built on selectively leaked testimony from Rep. Adam Schiff’s closed-door Intelligence Committee hearings. The manner in which he and Speaker Nancy Pelosi are conducting this impeachment investigation is unprecedented, constitutionally questionable, and an affront to American fair play.

The conversation my client, President Donald J. Trump, had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on July 25 was innocent. During a congratulatory call, the newly elected Mr. Zelensky brought up the need to “drain the swamp” in his country. 

Rooting out corruption was one of Mr. Zelensky’s campaign pledges, and Mr. Trump asked him to investigate allegations of corruption at the highest levels of both governments. It was a matter of serious mutual concern.

In particular, Messrs. Zelensky and Trump discussed Ukrainian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. 

A Ukrainian court ruled in December last year that the National Anti-Corruption Bureau and Ukrainian lawmaker Serhiy Leshchenko illegally interfered in the 2016 election by releasing documents related to Paul Manafort. A January 2017 report from Politico implied that the officials released the information to hurt the Trump campaign. 

The site reported that a Democratic National Committee contractor, Alexandra Chalupa, dug for dirt on Mr. Manafort’s work in Ukraine. This past May, Valeriy Chaly, Ukraine’s ambassador to the U.S., told the Hill’s John Solomon that Ms. Chalupa came to the embassy looking for damaging information on Mr. Manafort. 

Ms. Chalupa has denied conducting opposition research with Ukrainian officials for the DNC but told Politico that she provided what information she found on Mr. Manafort to “a lot of journalists.” Needless to say, the matter could still use investigating.

Mr. Trump also briefly brought up his concerns regarding former Vice President Joe Biden’s conduct toward Ukraine while his son, Hunter Biden, worked for the Ukrainian company Burisma. 

Andriy Derkach, a member of Ukraine’s Parliament, told the press in early October that he had reviewed documents showing that Burisma transferred $900,000 to Rosemont Seneca Partners, a lobbying firm owned by Hunter Biden, and that the money was for lobbying Joe Biden.

In my view, the former vice president should be investigated for bribery, and at the very least both Bidens’ behavior deserves serious scrutiny.

For Messrs. Trump and Zelensky to discuss these issues was not only proper but an exercise of Mr. Trump’s responsibility as U.S. president as expressed in Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution: “to take care that the laws of the United States are faithfully executed.”

Moreover, Mr. Trump requested that Ukraine root out corruption; he didn’t demand it. His words were cordial, agreeable and free of any element of threat or coercion. 

Mr. Trump offered nothing in return to Ukraine for cleaning up corruption. If you doubt me, read the transcript. Allegations of Burisma-Biden corruption weren’t even a major part of the conversation. The focus was on Ukrainian corruption broadly speaking and out of a five-page transcript Mr. Trump spent only six lines on Joe Biden.

Moreover, Mr. Zelensky has made clear he felt the call was a perfectly normal, friendly and appropriate conversation, one in which he felt no pressure of any kind.

In an ideal America, politicians would be held to the same standard regardless of party, and this inquiry would be over. But the left’s inability to accept the results of the 2016 election and fear of Mr. Trump’s policy agenda have driven the Democrats into a frenzy. 

Call it Trump derangement syndrome or a corrupt double standard, but there can be little doubt that Mr. Biden would not be pursued so aggressively were he in Mr. Trump’s place. The dominance of the left-leaning media is one of the main reasons that Capitol Hill Democrats can get away with acting this way.
If the American people are allowed to see the facts of the matter, the truth will prevail. 

But if the allegations against Joe and Hunter Biden aren’t fully investigated, we won’t have equal justice under the law. 

Politicians of both parties should insist on fairness. That necessarily includes defending the right of political opponents to have their say before the American people—even President Trump.

Mr. Giuliani is Donald Trump’s personal attorney. He served as mayor of New York, 1994-2001.