Rudy Giuliani’s interview on CNN last night, in which the president’s personal lawyer thundered about a supposedly corrupt bargain former Vice President Joe Biden struck in Ukraine, was a master-class in far-right pathology. There were the claims that American media was the “enemy,” and that the supposed conspiracy involving Biden and Ukraine also extended to right-wing bogeymen like George Soros. There was the notion that a “deep state” had roped in its allies in the media to stifle the news about the billions of dollars supposedly flowing directly into Biden’s coffers, all while the Obama administration threatened Ukraine with retribution if they didn’t investigate Donald Trump himself.
In a bizarre year, this one was an exceptionally bizarre moment.
Buried within Giuliani’s claims, though, was a new reality with which Americans on both sides of the political aisle will have to contend moving forward. All of us – in the U.S., in Kyiv, in Moscow and Beijing and elsewhere – watched the president’s personal lawyer go on television, admit that he pressured another government to open an investigation into a presidential rival, and did so with the effective blessing of the sitting president himself.