There’s a good bet on what he found: nothing, or at least nothing real. Though the former New York mayor has been snooping around Ukraine for most of the year, he still hasn’t turned up any evidence of wrongdoing by former Vice President Joe Biden or his son Hunter Biden. Giuliani has proved willing to seize on any allegation, no matter how thin or how unreliable the source, and the claims and innuendos he’s imported have been shot down in a series of debunkings that would be embarrassing for anyone with any remaining shame. (Asked about his legacy in January, Giuliani said, “What do I care? I’ll be dead.”)
Giuliani also effectively confirmed Democrats’ charge that Trump fired U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch out of personal political motives—something Intelligence Committee Republicans tried to cast doubt on. “I believed that I needed Yovanovitch out of the way,” Giuliani told The New Yorker’s Adam Entous. “She was going to make the investigations difficult for everybody.” If there was any evidence the investigations were anything more than a political errand, that might be justifiable—but there is no such evidence, and a great pile of it on the other side of the ledger.
This is not the place to make the case that Trump’s behavior has been inappropriate, though it clearly has. The point is that even as Trump prepares to face an extremely rare sanction, he hasn’t done anything to moderate his behavior. Caught with his right hand in the cookie jar, he has thrust his left into it too. Marched before the parole board, he has promised to reoffend once turned loose on the streets.
No president has ever liked or approved of an impeachment proceeding against him, but other presidents faced with impeachment have at least tried conciliation. When Andrew Johnson faced removal for firing the secretary of war, in violation of an act of Congress, he sought to find a compromise candidate for the role.
Read: The Clinton impeachment, told by the people who lived it
Bill Clinton, facing his own impeachment, went before cameras and apologized for lying about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky. (The apology was a day late and a dollar short; then-Representative Lindsey Graham, who had hoped Clinton would offer an apology complete enough to head off impeachment, was famously disappointed, and impeachment went forward.)
Richard Nixon took the most dramatic step to de-escalate, resigning from office rather than face impeachment when he realized his fellow Republicans would not defend him.
By contrast, Trump’s defiance would come as a surprise if this were not what the country had long since come to expect from him, who, as my colleague Megan Garber recently noted, has only publicly apologized on one occasion, and then only tepidly and briefly. The president has options besides apology, of course. He could offer some acknowledgment that his behavior might have crossed lines, while insisting he intended no harm and had good intentions. He could provide a classic nonapology, apologizing to anyone who was offended. He could even simply desist from the offending behavior.