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Abrams: Giuliani’s Ukraine dealings slimy, but criminal?

(NewsNation) — A story that’s fallen under the radar with the midterm election counts and news of a special counsel beginning work in the Trump investigation was that Rudy Giuliani will not face criminal charges in connection with a long-running investigation of Donald Trump’s former lawyer.

He was investigated for encouraging Ukraine to dig up dirt on the Biden family, and specifically the president’s son, Hunter Biden, without registering as a foreign agent. This was all leading up to the 2020 presidential election.

After a nearly three-year probe, it’s been announced that Giuliani will not be charged for violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act or for his alleged attempts to oust the then-American ambassador to Ukraine.

Bob Costello, Giuliani’s attorney, told ABC News, “We are very pleased that they did this. I’m not surprised that they did this because I saw the evidence, or lack thereof, and knew Rudy Giuliani didn’t do anything wrong.”

Giuliani put is own spin on the news, tweeting: “There was never any charges. There was never a crime. It was all theater.”

After the FBI raided Giuliani’s New York City home and office in April 2021, seizing his phones and computers, his son Andrew lashed out against the Justice Department, telling the media, “Any American, whether you are red or blue should be extremely disturbed by what happened here today, by the continued politicization of the Justice Department.”

“This is disgusting,” he continued. “This is absolutely absurd. And it’s the continued politicization of the Justice Department that we have seen. And it has to stop. If this can happen to the former president’s lawyer, it could happen to any American. Enough is enough.”

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And many on the right on social media have echoed that sentiment, while many on the left have criticized the decision not to prosecute.

I don’t agree with either side.

I am happy that federal prosecutors did not believe there was enough to prosecute. I don’t wish Giuliani or anyone else to be prosecuted for something prosecutors cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt, but particularly someone as prominent as the former New York City mayor.

But for all the whining and complaining about the system from Giuliani and his allies (it’s unfair, it’s political, it’s a witch-hunt, it’s corrupt, etc.), the DOJ evaluated the evidence and decided not to pursue charges, as happens.

And for those who say, “Why was there even an investigation to begin with? It was clearly political.”
I would point you to one Greg Craig.

He’s a lifelong Democrat and former White House counsel under former President Barack Obama. Following his time in the White House, while in private practice, Craig was the lead attorney for his firm’s work for the former president of Ukraine.

Craig was also investigated by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York — the very same department that investigated Giuliani — and for the same possible crime: failure to report his work for a foreign government under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

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The difference is the case against Craig went further. After his case was passed to federal prosecutors, Craig was eventually indicted for making a false statement to investigators about his role in work that his law firm did for the Ukrainian government. And in September 2019, the career Democrat was acquitted.

It’s not about politics. Enforcing possible FARA violations is tough.

Tom Barrack, a longtime ally of Donald Trump, was indicted last year in New York. He was accused of acting as an unregistered foreign agent and dealing with the United Arab Emirates. He was acquitted on all FARA violation charges, as well.

But Barrack had a bit more of a gracious response to his news than Giuliani, saying, “These 12 people, normal people with such complex, unbelievable facts in front of them, somehow fight through all of the quagmires to find lady justice with a torch burning, and a judge who protects them. God bless America, the system works.”

I tend to agree with Barrack. Look, maybe Barrack and Craig never should have been prosecuted. But Giuliani wasn’t. They didn’t make up the facts around what happened. What Giuliani did was slimy, but it may not have been criminal, and that was sorted out through an investigation that we should appreciate rather than condemn depending on your political affiliation.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author, and not of NewsNation.