Giuliani Pressured Ukraine To Investigate Biden Conspiracy Theories, New Audio Shows
Former President Donald Trump‘s longtime adviser Rudy Giuliani pressured to Ukrainian government in 2019 to investigate conspiracies about then-candidate Joe Biden, according to new phone call audio recently released.
During the 40-minute call, Giuliani can be heard telling U.S. diplomat Kurt Volker and senior Ukrainian adviser Andriy Yermak that President Volodymyr Zelensky should publicly announce investigations into Biden’s alleged corruption and 2016 election meddling.
“All we need from the President [Zelensky] is to say, I’m gonna put an honest prosecutor in charge,” Giuliani said. “He’s gonna investigate and dig up the evidence, that presently exists and is there any other evidence about involvement of the 2016 election, and then the Biden thing has to be run out. Somebody in Ukraine’s gotta take that seriously.”
This audio goes against Trump’s assertion that “there was no quid pro quo,” meaning Zelensky was never promised U.S. government support in return for political favors.
In the recording, Giuliani clearly states that the U.S.-Ukraine diplomatic relationship would improve if Zelensky did what was asked of him. “That would clear the air really well,” Giuliani said. “And I think it would make it 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 about making sure that whatever misunderstandings are put aside… I kinda think that this could be a good thing for having a much better relationship.
Giuliani is currently under investigation for allegedly coordinating with Ukrainian ex-officials to dig up dirt on the Bidens.
Giuliani reportedly presented officials with false right-wing conspiracy theories about Biden’s diplomatic dealings in Ukraine. “I got information from a reliable investigator, international investigator, that there was a certain amount of activity in Ukraine during the 2016 election,” he said.
Giuliani also falsely claimed that U.S. embassy officials attempted to “produce dirt on then-candidate Trump and Paul Manafort.”
He added: “Another one was involved with (George) Soros … Soros apparently is behind a lot of this,” according to phone call audio.
Additionally, Giuliani brought up Biden’s push to fire Zelensky’s predecessor, Petro Poroshenko, a top prosecutor. “To me, as a lawyer, it sounds like a bribe,” he said. “A bribe is offering something of value in exchange for official action. So, he offered Poroshenko a $1.2 billion loan guarantee, critical to Poroshenko’s success as president, in exchange for getting rid of a prosecutor general.”
Giuliani told the Ukrainians that he only wants “the truth” to come out and that he would not explicitly tell Zelensky “what to say.” However, he still made it obvious which specific probes Trump wanted Zelensky to announce.
Ex-Zelensky adviser Igor Novikov condemned Giuliani’s collusion: “We’re a country fighting an active war with Russia for many years. So, anything to do with swapping favors within our bilateral relationship in exchange for trying to get us involved in U.S. domestic politics is just wrong, on many levels, morally, ethically and probably even legally.”
Indeed, during the phone call, Yermak attempted to discuss legitimate diplomatic matters, like arranging a date for Zelensky’s first official visit to the US.
By the end of the call, it appeared that Yermak understood what it would take to get on Trump’s good side.
“I’m sure that Zelensky will say that,” Yermak said, referencing Giuliani and Volker’s request for Zelensky to mention the investigations during an upcoming call with Trump.
Volker responded: “Good.”
This infamous phone call became a central part of Trump’s first impeachment trial; Trump was ultimately acquitted after a Senate trial.