Rudy Giuliani has made a surprise visit to Kyiv — but the city isn’t buzzing with his arrival. It’s groaning.
Giuliani arriving with his shady band of conspiracy theorists — just as Democrats move to officially file impeachment charges against President Donald Trump — is the last thing Ukrainians who have tried desperately to stay out of the drama unfolding in Washington wanted. Kyiv is trying to focus on upcoming peace talks with Russia to end the war simmering in its east, but Giuliani’s visit meant the headlines were all about impeachment once more.
Officials from the office of President Volodymyr Zelensky to the US embassy to everyone in between know that the arrival of the bombastic mayor is nothing but trouble.
“Holy shit. I don’t believe in such coincidences,” Ukrainian anti-corruption activist Daria Kaleniuk wrote of Giuliani’s arrival on Facebook, noting that it comes just days ahead of long-anticipated peace talks between Zelensky and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Paris on Monday.
Giuliani, who is being investigated by federal prosecutors looking into whether he violated federal lobbying laws, is on a mission to “destroy” the Democrats’ impeachment narrative via a documentary series on the vehemently pro-Trump One America News Network (OAN). But judging by the questionable cast of Ukrainian characters he’s meeting, whatever information he manages to dig up is likely to be extremely dubious. “I’m just a country lawyer trying to show his client is being framed. I will do it,” Giuliani told Fox News. He didn’t answer calls or text messages seeking comment on Thursday.
Giuliani’s meddling in Kyiv is what helped lead to the impeachment inquiry in the first place — a host of witnesses have told investigators how they feared his “irregular channel” of diplomacy, focused on digging up dirt on the President Trump’s political rivals, could do lasting damage to the US–Ukraine relationship. [Continue reading…]