President Donald Trump now admits he sent his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani to Ukraine to dig up dirt on 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter, a central part of Trump’s impeachment.
Trump on Thursday explained why he chose to “use Rudy” in an interview for Fox News host Geraldo Rivera’s podcast, perhaps feeling at ease after being acquitted by the Republican-led Senate earlier this month.
“Was it strange to send Rudy Giuliani to Ukraine, your personal lawyer? Are you sorry you did that?” Rivera asked Trump.
“No, not at all,” Trump said.
“Here’s my choice: I deal with the Comeys of the world, or I deal with Rudy,” he continued, referring to former FBI Director James Comey, whom he fired in 2017 after the FBI began investigating his 2016 campaign. The investigation mushroomed into special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian election interference.
Trump said he has “a very bad taste” for U.S. intelligence officials because of Mueller’s investigation, so he chose Giuliani to do his bidding.
“So when you tell me, why did I use Rudy? And one of the things about Rudy, number one, he was the best prosecutor, you know, one of the best prosecutors, and the best mayor,” Trump told Rivera. “But also, other presidents had them. FDR had a lawyer who was practically, you know, was totally involved with government. Eisenhower had a lawyer. They all had lawyers.”
In November, Trump denied that he sent Giuliani to Ukraine, despite congressional testimony from multiple witnesses, including career diplomats and government officials, who said Giuliani met with and pressured Ukrainian officials as part of Trump’s plot to coerce a foreign government into aiding his reelection.
“No, I didn’t direct him, but he is a warrior, he is a warrior,” Trump said in an interview on former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly’s radio show, when asked if he instructed Giuliani to “do anything” in Ukraine.
But then-ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland testified that Trump gave him “express direction” to work with Giuliani.
Giuliani also was mentioned in Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, when Trump told Zelensky to “speak to him.”
“Mr. Giuliani is a highly respected man,” Trump said, according to the summary of the call released by the White House. “He was the mayor of New York City, a great mayor, and I would like him to call you. I will ask him to call you along with the Attorney General. Rudy very much knows what’s happening and he is a very capable guy. If you could speak to him that would be great.”
Giuliani said this week his Ukraine snooping uncovered “smoking gun” evidence of the Bidens’ involvement in corruption. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a prominent Trump defender, said Attorney General William Barr told him there would be an “intake process” for Giuliani to funnel his dirt to the Justice Department.
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