May 10, 2019 - Politics

Schiff on Giuliani's Ukraine trip: "It just takes your breath away"

Rep. Adam Schiff and Mike Allen. Photo: Lawrence Jackson for Axios

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) told Axios' Mike Allen Friday that Rudy Giuliani's trip to Ukraine to ask Ukrainian President-elect Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate opponents of President Trump is an example of the "ethical standards of the country being dumbed down to where anything goes as long as you stay above that bar of criminality."

I give Giuliani credit for consistency. He said just a few weeks that there's nothing wrong with seeking help from a foreign power. ... The fact that he would be so open about it, boastful almost, doing it with the knowledge and support of the president — it takes your breath away. I continue to think I'll cease to be shocked. And then I'm shocked again.
Imagine in an ordinary world, the lawyer of the president going to a foreign power and trying to encourage them to investigate the family of a political opponent. He said some people might think it's improper. Arguably everyone thinks it's improper. But that's not stopping them.

The backdrop: The New York Times reported Thursday that Giuliani is planning to travel to Kiev in the coming days to urge Zelensky to pursue 2 inquiries — one into the origins of the Mueller investigation and one into former Vice President Joe Biden's alleged intervention in Ukrainian politics on behalf of his son.

Giuliani told the Times' Ken Vogel:

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. 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.

Go deeper: Ukrainian official casts doubt on Biden conflict scandal promoted by Giuliani

What's next

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Kobe Bryant on court for the Los Angeles Lakers during the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest on All-Star Saturday Night, part of 2010 NBA All-Star Weekend at American Airlines Center in Dallas in February 2010. Photo: Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

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Bolton alleges in book that Trump tied Ukraine aid to investigations

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

We are living in a measurably different political and media landscape than when the Senate acquitted President Bill Clinton of impeachment charges in 1999.

The big picture: These dynamics are setting the pace as President Trump’s legal team speeds through arguments to seek a fast acquittal.