Giuliani says he will cooperate with Trump impeachment inquiry — only if the president gives him the green light

Kadia Tubman
Reporter
Rudy Giuliani, President Trump's personal attorney, defended himself Sunday on "This Week With George Stephanopoulos" from accusations lodged by a former White House official that he has trafficked unfounded theories about foreign interference in the 2016 presidential election. (Photo: Jeff Neira/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images)

President Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, said Sunday he would cooperate the House impeachment inquiry, but only if directed by his client.

Trump, according to a memo of his July 25 phone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and an anonymous whistleblower complaint, repeatedly pressed Ukrainian officials to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, and noted that Giuliani would be in contact with Ukraine on the probe.

“Rudy very much knows what’s happening and he is a very capable guy,” Trump told Zelensky. “I will have Mr. Giuliani give you a call and I am also going to have Attorney General [William] Barr call and we will get to the bottom of it.”

The investigation was based on a dubious claim that, as vice president in 2016, Biden pushed Ukraine’s government to oust a prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, who was investigating Burisma, a Ukrainian gas company that had Hunter Biden on its board starting in 2014, where he received a monthly salary of $50,000.

While Joe Biden did call for the prosecutor’s removal, he was one of many international leaders who did so in response to concerns about corruption, a fact that undercuts Giuliani’s claim that Biden acted in his son’s interests. The investigation into Burisma had been closed prior to the vice president calling for the prosecutor’s ouster, Bloomberg News reported. In fact, in late 2014, the Obama administration pressed the Ukrainians to assist the U.K. in a separate investigation into Burisma’s owner.

Yet, despite the lack of evidence, Giuliani began pressing the Ukrainians to investigate the Bidens’ role in the prosecutor’s firing earlier this year and has maintained his argument that there was wrongdoing on behalf of the Bidens.

Giuliani was named “a central figure” in Trump’s effort to use “the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election,” according to the released whistleblower complaint against the president for his dealings with Ukraine and allegedly withholding almost $400 million in military aid from the country as leverage for a probe into the Bidens. Giuliani could be one of the potential witnesses Democrats in the six House committees involved in the investigation may seek to interview, as they are said to be eyeing a fast-paced impeachment inquiry, which officially began last week.

As Senate Democrats came out in support of the inquiry, Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin said Tuesday there’s an expectation that the “Trump White House will stonewall” congressional investigators.

“Are you going to cooperate with the House Intelligence Committee?” Giuliani was asked by ABC News’ “This Week” host George Stephanopoulos.

“That is a question that has a lot of implications to it,” Giuliani responded. “Believe it or not, I’m an attorney. Everything I did was to defend my client. I am proud of what I did. And I am proud of having uncovered what will turn out to be a massive pay-for-play scheme, not unlike the Clinton Foundation.”

When Giuliani began to discuss digging into “places that Hunter Biden went to sell his father’s office,” Stephanopoulos interjected, asking again if Trump’s attorney would cooperate with the House Intelligence Committee.

“I wouldn’t cooperate with [House Intelligence Committee Chairman] Adam Schiff,” Giuliani said. “I think Adam Schiff should be removed. If they remove Adam Schiff, if they put a neutral person in, who hasn’t prejudged the case, if they put someone in, a Democrat who hasn't expressed an opinion yet — if I had a judge in the case and he had already announced I’m going to impeach, if he already went ahead and did a whole false episode, wouldn’t I move to recuse that judge?”

“So that’s your answer, you’re not going to cooperate?” Stephanopoulos pressed.

“I didn’t say that,” Giuliani pushed back. “I said I would consider it.”

Giuliani added: “If we want fairness here, we’ve got to put somebody in charge of that committee who has an open mind, not someone who wants to hang the president.”

Rep. Schiff, D-Calif., on Sunday said Democrats “had no choice but to move forward with an impeachment inquiry, and our focus will be on the president’s fundamental breach of his oath of office.”

“Coercing a foreign nation to interfere in our election is never ok,” he added. “No matter what the president and his defenders say.”

Giuliani, on "This Week With George Stephanopoulos" holds up what he said were affidavits, including one by Shokin defending himself, that verified his claims that Shokin was dismissed as a result of his investigation of Ukrainian gas company Burisma, and former board member Hunter Biden. (Photo: Jeff Neira/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images)

Giuliani, a nongovernment actor, also defended himself against former White House official Tom Bossert, who on Sunday said Trump made a mistake hiring Giuliani and aired his frustrations with his “completely false” theory that Ukraine was responsible for interference in the 2016 election.

“At this point I am deeply frustrated with what he and the legal team is doing and repeating that debunked theory to the president,” Bossert, who is now an ABC contributor, said. “It sticks in his mind when he hears it over and over again.”

Giuliani responded to Bossert’s comment, saying the ex-Trump official “doesn’t know what he’s talking about,” adding, “I’m not peddling anything.”

“This is not about getting Joe Biden in trouble,” he told Stephanopoulos. “This is about proving that Donald Trump was framed by the Democrats.”

Biden’s presidential campaign on Sunday demanded that heads of the major news and cable networks stop booking Giuliani on their programs.

“We are writing today with grave concern that you continue to book Rudy Giuliani on your air to spread false, debunked conspiracy theories on behalf of Donald Trump,” the letter from top aides Anita Dunn and Kate Bedingfield reads. “While you often fact check his statements in real time during your discussions, that is no longer enough. By giving him your air time, you are allowing him to introduce increasingly unhinged, unfounded and desperate lies into the national conversation.

“We write to demand that in service to the facts, you no longer book Rudy Giuliani, a surrogate for Donald Trump who has demonstrated that he will knowingly and willingly lie in order to advance his own narrative,” the letter went on to say.

Giuliani responded to the letter in a text to the Daily Beast, saying it “sounds like the usual left wing censorship.”

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