Phone call in 2019 reveals how Giuliani pressured Ukraine to investigate baseless Biden conspiracies
Unreleased footage of a phone call in 2019 between Rudy Giuliani and Ukrainian officials reveals how the Trump adviser and lawyer tried to pressure the foreign government to investigate Joe Biden, according to CNN.
On the call, Giuliani can be heard along with US diplomat Kurt Volker and Andriy Yermak, a senior adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, CNN said.
The audio was recorded in July 2019 and came before Trump himself called Zelensky. That conversation became a central part of the former president’s first impeachment trial, in which he was accused of asking Ukraine for help with his campaign.
The recording of the phone call, which lasts about 40 minutes, shows how Giuliani continued to pressure the Ukrainian government in 2019 to investigate conspiracies about then-candidate Joe Biden. As a reward, he seems to dangle improved relations with the US.
Giuliani could hear Yermak tell that Zelensky should publicly announce investigations into possible Biden corruption in Ukraine, as well as allegations that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election to hurt Trump’s chances of winning. Neither claim has been proven.
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Audio of a July 2019 appeal by Rudy Giuliani sees him suggesting to a Ukrainian official that the country could have a “better relationship” with the US if it investigated Joe Biden. Giuliani and his girlfriend Maria Ryan are pictured together in New York City on Sunday
Trump ordered Giuliani to search for ‘dirt’ on Hunter and Joe Biden in Ukraine
Giuliani spent many months meeting Ukrainians trying to find some dirt about Biden and his family.
‘Everything we need from the president [Zelensky] that is, I’m going to put an honest prosecutor in charge, he’s going to examine and dig up the evidence, which currently exists and is there any other evidence of involvement in the 2016 election, and then the Biden thing has to be carried out. Someone in Ukraine should take that seriously.’ Giuliani said during the audio.
During the conversation, Giuliani insisted that the officials start investigations.
The former New York City mayor suggested that US-Ukraine relations would improve if Zelensky launched the probes and that a public announcement could clear the way for Zelensky to visit the US, or meet in person with Giuliani.
Giuliani did not respond to CNN’s requests for comment, the news network said. He has said before that he did nothing wrong.
Volodymyr Zelensky took over as president of Ukraine in May 2019
“That would clear the air very well,” Giuliani said, according to the recording. “And I think it would be possible for me to come and make it possible, I think, for me to talk to the President (Trump) to see what I can do to make sure all misunderstandings are set aside.” pushed… I kind of think this could be a good thing for a much better relationship.”
In the call, Giuliani can be heard aggressively chasing the Ukrainians in an attempt to get them to undermine Joe Biden — all part of a quest to damage his candidacy.
The audio could call into question Trump’s oft-repeated statement that there was “no quit pro quo” through which Ukraine would get US aid if Zelensky granted political favors to Trump.
“I received information from a reliable researcher, an international investigator, that there was a certain amount of activity in Ukraine during the 2016 elections,” Giuliani told Yermak.
Giuliani is implied that if there were an investigation into Biden, it would “really clear the air” and potentially clear the way for Zelensky to visit the US
Sail away? Former NYC mayor and Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani and his girlfriend Maria Ryan attend Sunday’s Sail to Freedom NYC celebrating 299 years of Hellenic Independence at the Chelsea Piers.
“Another one was involved with (George) Soros… Soros is apparently behind a lot of this,” Giuliani said. Soros, a liberal billionaire philanthropist, has been the subject of a number of GOP conspiracies.
Giuliani told Yermak, “I’m not telling (Zelensky) what to say,” despite Zelensky clearly stating on several occasions that she should announce investigations into the Bidens at Trump’s request.
While Yermak patiently listened to Giuliani’s demands, he tried to keep the conversation professional and tried to arrange dates for Zelensky to visit the US, while hinting that he could continue to “investigate.”
“I am absolutely certain that once the dates of President Zelensky’s upcoming visit to the United States are known, I will be ready to personally undertake the preparation,” Yermak said. “And of course I’ll be ready to come, and we can sit down in person and discuss in detail all the questions, all this research you mentioned in our conversation.”
Trump and Giuliani, two New Yorkers who have known each other for decades, in August 2020
Volker told Giuliani Trump would speak to Zelensky to congratulate him on his parliamentary victory.
Giuliani and Volker both suggested to Yermak that Zelensky mention the “investigations” during every Trump conversation.
“I’m sure Zelensky will say that,” Yermak said.
“Believe me, that would be good for all of us,” Giuliani replied. “It would do that very quickly. And I can assure you that as far as I’m concerned, I think they should talk this week.”
Volker said, “I’ll push for that too,” insisting that the two leaders speak on the phone.
Trump finally spoke to Zelensky three days later.
Trump brought some of the same conspiracy theories about Biden to Zelensky.
The call shows the level of pressure Giuliani put on Ukraine to investigate the then-Democrat presidential candidate and his son, Hunter Biden.
“I’d like you to do us a favor and investigate the allegations,” Trump said.
Trump’s appeal eventually led to a whistleblower complaint from an intelligence official who alleged that Trump abused his powers and solicited foreign aid in the 2020 election from Ukraine.
The plan fell through and Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives, though later acquitted in a Senate trial.
A criminal investigation into Giuliani and his dealings in Ukraine is currently underway, investigating whether he violated lobbying laws while coordinating with ex-officials who allegedly made fun of him about the Bidens, including his son Hunter, who had business dealings in Ukraine.
Giuliani’s Manhattan home was the target of an April raid organized by New York prosecutors, who have spent the past two years investigating whether Giuliani acted illegally while working on Ukraine. Giuliani has denied all wrongdoing and has not responded to requests for comment on the audio recording.