In Brief

Team Trump goes into battle against impeachment campaign

US president’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani leads the fightback against mounting pressure

Donald Trump’s team has intensified its fightback against a rapidly intensifying campaign for an impeachment.

The US president and his “army of surrogates” went into “battle” yesterday, The Guardian says, with Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, at the helm.

How effective Giuliani’s efforts are is a matter of debate in the US. In an at-times incoherent interview on ABC’s This Week, Giuliani said: “I’m not investigating Joe Biden. I fell on Joe Biden in investigating how the Ukrainians were conspiring with the Hillary Clinton campaign to turn over dirty information.”

CNN says Giuliani’s “slipshod strategy” has “backfired spectacularly” on Trump, and “Giuliani himself now faces the prospect of being in the crosshairs of the House's impeachment investigation,” with Democrats saying they have questions for him. 

The former New York mayor is himself implicated in Trump’s efforts to solicit the help of the Ukrainian government in his 2020 re-election bid, and the Daily Beast reported that Biden’s camp has written to news networks to ask them no longer to book Giuliani, arguing he “has demonstrated that he will knowingly and willingly lie in order to advance his own narrative”.

Meanwhile, lawyers acting for the whistle-blower at the centre of the impeachment drama say that their client’s personal safety is in danger partly as a result of the president’s remarks.

In a letter to the acting Director of National Intelligence, the lead attorney for the unnamed intelligence official expressed fears on Sunday that the whistle-blower could be put “in harm’s way” were his or her identity made public. 

The development came after the New York Times reported that the US president made an indirect threat and showed contempt for the institutional protections afforded to whistle-blowers under federal law.

With tensions rising high, Trump upped the stakes on Twitter yesterday, demanding to meet his accuser.

“Like every American, I deserve to meet my accuser, especially when this accuser, the so-called ‘Whistleblower,’ represented a perfect conversation with a foreign leader in a totally inaccurate and fraudulent way,” Trump wrote. 

The drama began when a whistle-blower from the intelligence community reported an “urgent concern” that the president had used his office to “solicit interference from a foreign country" in the 2020 US election.

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