If there’s one thing we know about Rudolph Giuliani, it’s that he hates it – hates it — when Hunter Biden takes ethically dubious jobs in Eastern Europe. The president’s personal attorney has spent much of the past year trying to strong-arm the Ukrainian government into investigating Joe Biden’s son for any corrupt practices (real or imagined) that he may have engaged in while serving on the board of the Ukrainian energy company Burisma. Giuliani’s efforts on that front have caused Donald Trump no small number of headaches — and could cost the 75-year-old multimillionaire his freedom.
But as of last month, none of the fallout from Rudy’s Kiev vacation was enough to quell his appetite for unearthing Hunter Biden’s shady dealings in the former Soviet bloc. “We haven’t moved to Romania yet,” Giuliani told Fox News in September, referring to Hunter’s unspecified illicit activities in that nation. “Wait ‘til we get to Romania.”
As it happens, Hunter Biden did once enjoy an ethically questionable gig in Romania. In 2016, when his father was still vice-president, Hunter agreed to provide legal advice to Gabriel Popoviciu, a Romanian real-estate tycoon who’d recently been convicted on charges of corruption, and was mounting an appeal. In 2014, Joe Biden had forcefully advocated for the Romanian government to crack down on graft within its borders. And there is no evidence that Popoviciu secured any favors from the White House as a result of hiring Hunter. But it is extremely plausible that he hired Biden’s son in the hope that doing so he might ingratiate himself to the Obama administration. If Popoviciu merely wanted the advice of any undistinguished young attorney, he presumably could have found one with a lower hourly rate — and more familiarity with the finer points of Romanian law — in his home country.
So, you can understand why a stickler for legal ethics like Rudy Giuliani would object to Hunter’s behavior. After all, Popoviciu ultimately lost his appeal, and was sentenced to seven years in prison for his kleptocratic land deal. To monetize one’s affiliation with the White House — by providing legal assistance to such a crook — goes against everything Giuliani stands for.
Which, to be clear, is nothing. Rudy Giuliani stands for nothing (he’s more the sitting type). As NBC News reports:
Popoviciu was convicted in 2016 but launched an appeal. He assembled a high profile legal team to fight the conviction, which included former FBI director Louis Freeh … Freeh continued working on behalf of Popoviciu [after his appeal failed]. Last year, he tapped Giuliani, his longtime friend, to assist in his Romanian work.
Giuliani’s hiring created what appears in hindsight a strange-bedfellows arrangement. Giuliani, who has been the loudest critic of Hunter Biden’s work in the Ukraine, was working on the same side as the younger Biden in Romania.
In August 2018, Giuliani wrote a letter to Romania’s president and prime minister criticizing the country’s recent efforts to rein in corruption as overly aggressive. Giuliani’s position contradicted the U.S. stance on anti-corruption efforts in Romania.
I’m starting to think that Team Trump’s avowed concerns with corruption in Eastern Europe may not be entirely on the level.