- US President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, claimed Tuesday that he has been dealing with Ukrainian officials at the request of the State Department.
- The claim, to Fox News, is a new twist in the spiraling Ukraine scandal, which culminated yesterday in impeachment proceedings beginning against President Donald Trump.
- The State Department asking Giuliani to handle diplomacy with another country would be highly unusual. It is not supported by other evidence.
- When Fox host Laura Ingraham asked why he was a better choice than the Justice Department or FBI to look at this, Giuliani said the FBI’s work was “flawed,” implying he would do better.
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President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, said that the reason he became involved in US-Ukraine relations — now the root of an impeachment inquiry into Trump — is because the State Department asked him to.
Giuliani, in a rambling exchange with Fox News host Laura Ingraham, claimed that officials asked him to deal with Ukrainian officials directly.
When challenges as to why he would be asked instead of another agency, perhaps the FBI, Giuliani responded that he was a better choice because the FBI’s work is “flawed.”
“I never talked to an Ukrainian official until the State Department called me and asked me to do it,” he told Ingraham. “And then I reported to every conversation back to them.” Business Insider has contacted the State Department about Giuliani’s claims.
He then held up his phone on air, saying to host Laura Ingraham: “Laura, I’m a pretty good lawyer, just a country lawyer, but it’s all here, right here. The first call from the State Department.”
Giuliani’s interview took place after The Washington Post published an article which claimed that Giuliani dealt with Ukrainian officials on behalf of Trump, a strange situation which cut out national security officials in the White House, who were left reading media reports to work out what Giuliani was doing.
The article, citing current and former US officials, said that some officials tried to stop Trump meeting or talking with Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, for fear that he would pressure him to investigate Ukrainian business activities by Hunter Biden, the son of Joe Biden.
One such call went ahead. Its contents sparked a whistleblower complaint alleges impropriety by Trump, which has spiralled into an announcement by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that she would open an impeachment inquiry into Trump.
Trump confirmed that he raised Biden on the call, but he has repeatedly denied wrongdoing in his dealings with Zelensky. He has said he will release a transcript of his call with Ukraine, though this has yet to take place.
One US official told the Post that Giuliani’s close involvement with Ukraine is what caused the current situation.
“Rudy — he did all of this,” they said. “This s—show that we’re in — it’s him injecting himself into the process.”
When asked by Ingraham why he dealt with Ukraine, rather than officials from FBI or the Deparment of Justice, Giuliani said: “Because the FBI performance is the entire investigation including up to this moment is flawed.”
“Why am I doing it, Laura? I… can’t you figure it out? I’m his defense lawyer. I’m defending him. He’s my client. I don’t know, only Donald Trump is not entitled to a defense in America.”
Giuliani had previously told Fox News on Monday that the State Department had asked him to deal with one Ukrainian.
“The State Department called me and said would I take a call from Mr. [Andriy] Yermak, who’s number two or three to the president-elect, who is now the president,” he said then.
But the State Department then said in a statement to The Hill: “Mr. Giuliani is a private citizen and acts in a personal capacity as a lawyer for President Trump. He does not speak on behalf of the U.S. Government.”