These days, Rudy Giuliani wears two main hats. He runs a foreign consulting and legal practice and he advises President Trump.
These dual roles raise the possibility that Giuliani’s advice to Trump is influenced by his work for foreigners. Indeed, according to this report in the Washington Post, Giuliani touts his closeness with Trump when pitching his services to foreigners. For example, says the Post:
In one meeting with a prominent Ukrainian political figure in early 2018, Giuliani was explicit that hiring him would provide a route to the president, according to a person in attendance.
Giuliani wasn’t lying. Indeed, testimony by Bill Taylor, the acting ambassador to Ukraine, and others has made it clear that Giuliani was the point man for Trump’s policy towards Ukraine and, in fact, shaped that policy. It’s the Trump-Giuliani Ukraine policy that will lead to the president’s impeachment.
There’s a name for people who peddle influence as Giuliani does — swamp creature.
I’m not the only conservative bothered by Giuliani’s influence over Trump. According to the Post, Attorney General Bill Barr “has counseled Trump in general terms that Giuliani has become a liability and a problem for the administration.” The Post says it has multiple sources for this assertion.
Nor is Barr the first adviser to express wariness over Giuliani. The former mayor wanted to be Secretary of State under Trump. However, lawyers working for the transition team raised red flags about possible conflicts of interest arising from his work overseas. The conflicts are equally concerning in Giuliani’s role as unofficial shaper of American foreign policy.
Giuliani took himself out of the running for Secretary of State, and said on Fox News that he planned to pursue his private legal and consulting business “with even more enthusiasm” than before Trump’s election. He has, and that’s his right.
Giuliani didn’t say he intended to play a role in shaping administration foreign policy. In the end, though, he has had more influence over that policy than did Rex Tillerson, the man Trump chose to be his Secretary of State.
The president would be wise to follow Bill Barr’s advice that he distance himself from Giuliani. I don’t think he will, though.
Understandably, Trump seems to have a blind spot when it comes to the hugely successful mayor of the city Trump called home. In addition, Trump seems to have a blind spot when it comes to some aspects of ethics.
That’s one reason why he will never succeed in clearing the swamp.