Will Ukraine’s president-elect see the funny side of Giuliani’s visit on Trump’s behalf?


Rudolph Giuliani, President Trump’s personal lawyer, has said he will visit Kiev to meet Ukraine’s president-elect Volodymyr Zelensky, and talk to him about investigations involving former vice-president Joe Biden and Paul Manafort, the imprisoned former Trump campaign chairman.

Will Mr Zelensky find that funny? As a professional comedian he might. Mr Giuliani’s visit is part of an effort by Mr Trump’s supporters to damage Mr Biden’s 2020 candidacy and discredit special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation as well. This, by possibly looking into the origins of the special counsel’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and Mr Biden’s son’s involvement in a company owned by a Ukrainian oligarch. So far so laughable.

As a professional comic Mr Zelensky might find especially hilarious Mr Guiliani’s following statement: “We’re not meddling in an election, we’re meddling in an investigation, which we have a right to do.”

That should provide lots of laughs for Mr Zelensky. Remember his response to his rival – incumbent President Petro Poroshenko – during the presidential debate before the election. The candidates were facing in a stadium – a non-standard venue chosen by the comedian – and Mr Poroshenko highlighted his own achievements, from fighting back against Russia in eastern Ukraine to securing visa-free entry to the European Union for all Ukrainian citizens. But Mr Zelensky stayed in comic mode. He irreverently spoke Russian, and all but laughed at Mr Poroshenko’s patriotic slogan, “Army, Language, Faith.”

Send in the clowns, as Nina Khrushcheva, Professor of International Affairs at The New School, recently wrote. Perhaps they are the only way to respond to the actions of politicians like Donald Trump. And his emissaries like Rudi Guiliani.