Giuliani Plays Down Role in Proposed Ukraine Statement on Corruption

Shannon Stapleton/File Photo/Reuters

Rudy Giuliani, a central figure in the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, on Saturday played down his role in a proposed statement negotiated between U.S. diplomats and Ukrainian officials this summer about fighting corruption in the eastern European country.

Kurt Volker, Trump’s former envoy to Ukraine, told lawmakers on Thursday that Giuliani had said the statement should include a reference to a gas company on which the son of Trump’s political rival, Joe Biden, had served as a board member.

Giuliani said Volker and Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, came to him about the proposed statement on corruption and asked for his advice on what should be in it.

“They had the idea of a statement and they asked my advice about it, that’s all,” Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney, told Reuters in an interview. He declined to say what his advice was. “I was so little involved in it that I never even saw the statement.”

That statement was one of a series of choreographed steps that Ukraine needed to secure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy a meeting with Trump in Washington, according to evidence before U.S. House of Representatives committees spearheading the impeachment inquiry.

In prepared testimony to the committees, Volker said Giuliani had called him and Sondland and said “he believed the Ukrainian president needed to make a statement about fighting corruption” and that he had discussed it with a top aide to Zelenskiy.

On Aug. 16, the aide, Andriy Yermak, provided Volker with a draft but it included no reference to 2016 or Burisma, the Ukrainian gas company that Hunter Biden was involved in between 2014 and 2018.

He said he spoke to Giuliani again, who said he thought it should include a specific reference to Burisma and 2016, relating to accusations of election interference. Volker said “there was no mention of Vice President Biden in these conversations.”

Volker said he edited the draft statement to include the points, but Yermak did not want to mention Burisma and 2016, and he agreed. Ultimately, the statement was shelved.

Giuliani and others have made unsubstantiated allegations that when Joe Biden was vice president of the United States, he had a prosecutor fired to halt an investigation into Burisma. Biden has dismissed the allegations and no evidence has emerged to support them.

Trump pressed Zelenskiy in a July 25 phone call to investigate the Bidens. That call is now the basis of the impeachment inquiry.

Volker also said in his testimony that he put no credence in the allegations against Biden, whom he said he had known for 24 years. Biden is now a leading contender for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

(Reporting by Karen Freifeld; editing by Ross Colvin and Chris Reese)

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Ed
Member

Millie, I sort of agree with you, but I can’t see one side being inherently more corrupt than the other. Power corrupts, and both sides of the aisle are tainted by it. Whether it’s liberals trying to spend our tax money on nonsense (though I’m generally in support of massive healthcare reform) or conservatives putting corporate profits ahead of public good, it’s hard to find someone that ticks all of the boxes that I care about. For me, it’s none of the current Dem candidates, but I’m not crazy about how things have been going for the last few years,… Read more »

Paul
Member

Wait! Hold on a second! Isn’t Toodie-fruitie-Rudy a reject from SNL for being too dumb? Maybe I’m wrong. Never mind….

Ed
Member

Millie, that’s irrelevant. Biden fans don’t care one bit about the drivel that comes out of his mouth, any more than Trump fans care what comes out of his respective mouth. The next election isn’t going to be won by either of those fans. It will be decided by swing voters, and if Biden’s corruption seems less of an issue than Trump’s, he’ll get many of those votes.

Bad Penguin
Guest
Bad Penguin

Ukraine is as Corrupt as the rest of the former Soviet block countries. At least half of all cash we give them will end up being siphoned off. Yes I have been to Ukraine a few times.

Joey
Guest
Joey

Why don’t the democrats want to investigate Biden? What are they hiding? Another scandal under the Obama administration?

Millie Tyler
Member

There would be no reason for President Trump to consider Biden a political rival when Biden himself presents as a terrible candidate every time he open his mouth.

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