Rudy Giuliani is a name that comes up frequently in the media, discussions surrounding President Trump, impeachment and basically anything that has to do with politics. But who is he, and what exactly is his role in all the chaos?
A Republican politician, attorney and public speaker, Giuliani first became known in 1983 when President Ronald Reagan appointed him as head of the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. In 1994, his reputation as a “hard-charging, mob-busting prosecutor” earned him a win in the New York City mayoral election. After the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001, Giuliani’s approval rating skyrocketed to 79%, and he became “a sort of heroic elder statesman for the Republican Party.” He was also named Time’s Person of the Year, as well as “America’s Mayor” by Oprah Winfrey.
In 2006, Giuliani was rated the nation’s most popular politician of either party, and in 2008, he ran for president as a Republican primary candidate. Although he led in the polls early on, his popularity soon faded largely due to criticism of his personal life. There was also an alleged claim that he billed tens of thousands of dollars of mayoral security expenses to obscure city agencies while visiting a woman with whom he was having an extramarital affair. After this, he seemingly retired from the public eye, working for his own private law firm.
Giuliani reemerged in 2016 when he publicly supported and helped kickstart Trump’s presidential campaign. He appeared alongside Trump at several rallies and spoke in favor of him at the Republican National Convention. Upon Trump’s election, Giuliani was not immediately granted a cabinet position, but Trump kept him close, turning to him for advice pertaining to the Muslim ban and naming him head of a cybersecurity working group, among other roles.
However, this all changed in April 2018, when Michael Cohen, who was serving as Trump’s personal attorney, was booted from the position following an FBI raid of his hotel room. Later that year, Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty for aid in Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election, along with covering Trump’s tracks throughout the process. In May 2018, Trump appointed Giuliani in his place.
Since then, Giuliani has been seen in the media frequently, speaking on Trump’s behalf pertaining to actions and decisions that have been scrutinized by the nation. Just working for Trump alone has made Giuliani’s name controversial, and he is often accused of lying to protect the administration. But recently, he has found himself in particularly hot water.
In September, a whistleblower complaint rocked the nation. The whistleblower, who remains anonymous, brought attention to evidence proving that Trump urged Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky to interfere with the 2020 election by investigating potential opponent Joe Biden. Giuliani, as it turns out, was also involved in this situation. Although the phone call occurred in July, in March, Giuliani delivered a collection of compiled “evidence” against the Biden family to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. This collection was not reported to have any real credibility, and some of the files it contained appeared to be coordinated.
This summer, Giuliani reportedly had several meetings in which he pushed Zelensky to open an investigation into the Biden family. According to Giuliani, Biden prompted Ukraine to fire Viktor Shokin, its prosecutor general, during his vice presidency in order to protect his son, who sat on the board of a Ukrainian energy company whose owner was supposedly corrupt. However, no evidence proved this claim. But when Giuliani’s theory was proven wrong, he continued to rearrange his story. He even tried to get in the good graces of Shokin’s successor, who eventually concluded that the Biden family was not at fault. Upon that conclusion, Giuliani proceeded to change his narrative once more, painting Shokin as the good guy when he had previously asserted that he was dishonest.
Now, as the impeachment investigation continues, more evidence has been compiled against Giuliani. In an appearance on Fox News in September, Giuliani explicitly stated that the State Department was fully aware and supported his involvement with Ukraine. Even after a spokesperson pointed out that he “is a private citizen and acts in a personal capacity” for the President, Giuliani produced text messages indicating the State Department’s involvement and was not shy to read them on the air. He argued that State officials were pushing him to keep in contact with Ukraine.
Despite whisperings about Giuliani no longer working as Trump’s attorney, the President tweeted earlier this month, “[Giuliani] may seem a little rough around the edges sometimes, but he is also a great guy and a wonderful lawyer. Such a one sided Witch Hunt going on in the USA.” The attorney still refuses to let up on his story and claims that he’s done a service to the government. However, his future is not looking too bright.