SEVERE WX : Winter Weather Advisory View Alerts

Rudy Giuliani lectures another country on ethics

It is bad enough that the President of the United States is ...

Posted: Sep 1, 2018 9:11 PM
Updated: Sep 1, 2018 9:11 PM

It is bad enough that the President of the United States is breaking long-standing ethical standards in US government, but when President Donald Trump's attorney, Rudy Giuliani, stepped into the contentious battle over corruption in another country, Romania, he embarrassed the United States by speaking out against clean government; he made the uphill battle for democracy advocates in Romania even steeper; and he muddied US foreign policy, taking a stand directly contrary to that of the US State Department.

Romanians have been fighting what may be a losing battle to uproot corruption in their country. The tens of thousands who have taken to the streets to defend the rule of law had until now seen the United States as an ally. That's why, when a local news site published a letter from Giuliani to Romania's President, it detonated a bombshell of disbelief.

Political Figures - US

Rudy Giuliani

Biochemistry

Continents and regions

Corruption

Democracy

DNA

Donald Trump

Eastern Europe

Ethics

Europe

Forms of government

Genetic biochemistry

Genetics

Government and public administration

Government bodies and offices

Health and medical

Louis Freeh

Medical fields and specialties

North America

Romania

Science

Society

The Americas

United States

US federal government

White House

Incredibly, Giuliani's letter to the country's largely-ceremonial President urged Romania to throttle the National Anticorruption Directorate, known as DNA, claiming that anti-corruption efforts were causing "damage to the rule of law ... under the guise of effective law enforcement." Giuliani proposed that "amnesty should be given to those who have been prosecuted and convicted through the excesses of the DNA." And he warned that the anti-graft drive risks driving away foreign investment.

Giuliani is an independent lawyer and businessman. He is free to defend criminals and crooks. But he is also a very high-profile lawyer for President Trump. People around the world see him on television speaking on Trump's behalf. So, his words, even if he maintains they have no connection with the US government, carry special resonance.

Romanian citizens and the country's opposition have fought valiantly to stop the ruling party's campaign to defang the DNA in a battle for the future of a country in a region where authoritarian governments have been steadily dismantling democratic practices. Half a million people took to the streets last year to protest a bill that decriminalized certain forms of corruption. And when the ruling party fired the head of the DNA, Laura Codruta Kovesi, the late Republican Sen. John McCain, along with Sen. Chris Murphy, a Democrat, wrote Romania's Prime Minister to express America's concerns.

The State Department, the European Union, and other prominent organizations have spoken up in favor of the besieged anti-corruption campaign that Giuliani denigrated. Romanians have come to expect support for democracy from the United States, so Giuliani's letter came not only as a shock, but also as a deep disappointment.

The prominent entrepreneur and activist Sebastian Burduja published an open message to Giuliani, saying, "Your letter, Mr. Giuliani, is far from what we would expect from a fighter for democracy, freedom and the rule of law." He demanded to know if Giuliani was speaking for the President. "Is this your letter," he asked, "or is it a message that represents the position and official policy of the US government?" He went on to explain the disastrous consequences that entrenched corruption has had for his country.

By now you've probably guessed why Giuliani is suddenly so interested in the intricacies of Romanian justice: It's about money. Giuliani acknowledged he sent the letter on behalf of his company, Giuliani Security & Safety, which had been retained by another firm with an unsettling pedigree, Freeh Group International Solutions, a company owned by former FBI director Louis Freeh -- who counts among his clients Gabriel Popoviciu, a Romanian sentenced to seven years in prison for corruption in a fraud and corruption case, and Alexander Adamescu, another Romanian under investigation by DNA for bribery.

The common practice of former US government officials selling their services and using their contacts in part to benefit the highest bidder is a disturbing facet of US public life. One would hope that, at the very least, they would screen their customers for ethical behavior and perhaps avoid clients who pay him to push against an entity whose purpose is to clean up pervasive corruption. That may be legal, but when the advocacy that runs contrary to US policy is being carried out by a man who is so closely associated with the President, the problem is not just optics. It may directly undercut US interests.

Notably, not everyone was displeased with Giuliani's letter. The letter received high praise from the leader of Romania's ruling party, Liviu Dragnea, of the Social Democratic Party, the party that has been trying to blunt the DNA's powers. It is he who spearheaded the push to fire the DNA's Kovesi. Dragnea noted approvingly in a Facebook post that Giuliani "puts his finger on the wound."

As it happens, Dragnea would benefit from Giuliani's proposed amnesty. One of the country's most powerful politicians, he's barred from serving as prime minister because of a 2015 conviction for election fraud, for which he was given a suspended sentence. He is expected to appeal a guilty verdict and a prison sentence on another case of abuse of office.

Giuliani's letter looks like it was written by Dragnea, according to one opposition politician. And it echoes a plan by Freeh, to "restore the rule of law in Romania."

It is that concerted attack on efforts to restore faith in Romania's institutions that has produced massive demonstrations by people trying to salvage the democracy they built after breaking the shackles of one of the most repressive communist regimes of the Cold War era. They had dreamed of a Western-style democracy, and viewed the United States as a source of inspiration and support.

It's a sign of our times that now the same lawyer who is defending the embattled President of the United States is selling his services to those trying to roll back the rule of law in Romania. If Giuliani values what's left of his reputation, he should screen his client list while he serves as Trump's lawyer. And he should keep quiet on issues related to foreign policy as long as his name is associated with the US presidency.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 608519

Reported Deaths: 9693
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion840461335
Lake45349684
Allen32803548
Hamilton29394315
St. Joseph27380381
Elkhart24404345
Vanderburgh19411249
Tippecanoe17970138
Johnson15069295
Porter14783169
Hendricks14401248
Madison10965221
Vigo10726181
Clark10677144
Monroe9383110
Delaware9116134
LaPorte9065163
Howard8236144
Kosciusko806983
Warrick672999
Hancock6697104
Bartholomew6484100
Floyd6428110
Wayne6136162
Grant5991115
Dubois555579
Boone551168
Morgan541295
Henry507864
Marshall503984
Cass483263
Dearborn479845
Noble473059
Jackson425047
Shelby417581
Lawrence391079
Clinton373043
Gibson370359
Harrison348144
DeKalb347164
Montgomery345754
Knox335639
Miami321444
Steuben313745
Whitley307326
Wabash303251
Adams300936
Ripley298445
Putnam296850
Huntington291659
Jasper289034
White273243
Daviess270474
Jefferson263338
Decatur247683
Fayette247148
Greene239862
Posey239328
Wells236051
LaGrange228862
Scott225339
Clay222532
Randolph213548
Jennings198936
Sullivan192333
Spencer191321
Washington186423
Fountain184027
Starke175443
Jay167623
Owen165737
Fulton164030
Orange159534
Carroll158015
Rush155118
Perry154229
Vermillion149134
Franklin148333
Tipton132332
Parke13078
Pike116926
Blackford111022
Pulaski97037
Newton90921
Brown88035
Benton86610
Crawford7999
Martin73713
Warren6817
Switzerland6615
Union6287
Ohio4907
Unassigned0376

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 859841

Reported Deaths: 10680
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin101171707
Cuyahoga855711125
Hamilton64017448
Montgomery43107418
Summit34836761
Lucas31350625
Butler30973232
Stark25786435
Warren19671140
Lorain19017223
Mahoning17321338
Lake16080154
Clermont15926111
Delaware1438878
Licking13204137
Trumbull12809316
Fairfield1279381
Greene12055137
Medina11591168
Clark10942265
Wood10348158
Allen9897126
Portage9296109
Miami916873
Richland9139118
Marion7459113
Tuscarawas7381182
Columbiana7327124
Pickaway726150
Wayne7034171
Muskingum703141
Erie6152129
Hancock552390
Ross548998
Scioto539164
Geauga508455
Darke470292
Ashtabula453073
Lawrence452654
Union451828
Sandusky436662
Mercer433589
Seneca430166
Huron428741
Auglaize422264
Shelby421222
Jefferson419269
Belmont416840
Washington388740
Athens38009
Putnam374975
Madison355129
Knox352622
Ashland344938
Fulton338443
Defiance330086
Crawford322374
Preble320637
Brown312921
Logan307332
Ottawa293943
Clinton290143
Williams278667
Highland275118
Jackson263845
Guernsey254125
Champaign252028
Fayette236530
Morrow23234
Perry231318
Holmes225474
Henry218749
Hardin213033
Coshocton205622
Van Wert202245
Gallia196726
Wyandot196051
Pike176217
Adams176115
Hocking172024
Carroll155616
Paulding144321
Noble120540
Meigs108624
Monroe100732
Harrison89121
Morgan83130
Vinton70213
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Cloudy
30° wxIcon
Hi: 31° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 30°
Angola
Cloudy
28° wxIcon
Hi: 29° Lo: 21°
Feels Like: 23°
Huntington
Cloudy
30° wxIcon
Hi: 31° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 30°
Fort Wayne
Cloudy
30° wxIcon
Hi: 31° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 30°
Lima
Cloudy
29° wxIcon
Hi: 32° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 23°
Dry start to Monday, snow/freezing rain moves in late
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events