President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani announced on Friday that he canceled an upcoming trip to Ukraine that he had planned in an attempt to push for an investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter.
During a Fox News segment, Giuliani said he changed his plans because he feels he might have been “walking into a group of people that are enemies of the president ― in some cases, enemies of the United States.” He offered no specifics about the “people” he was referring to.
As the 2020 election looms, with Joe Biden having recently thrown his hat into the ring, Trump and his allies are raising questions over a possible conflict of interest amid his son’s past position on the board of Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian energy firm. According to The New York Times, Hunter Biden was paid up to $50,000 per month for his work. He joined the board in 2014 and left last April.
While his board membership has been publicly known for years, he held the post as then-Vice President Joe Biden pushed for the ouster of Ukraine’s former Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin, who was heading up a corruption probe into Burisma.
As the Times reports, in the final year of former President Barack Obama’s administration, Joe Biden “threatened to withhold $1 billion in United States loan guarantees if Ukraine’s leaders did not dismiss the country’s top prosecutor, who had been accused of turning a blind eye to corruption in his own office and among the political elite.”
While questions emerged over whether Joe Biden was doing his son a favor by advocating for Shokin’s dismissal, a campaign spokeswoman told the Times that was not the case and that the move was in keeping with “the United States’ foreign policy to root out corruption in Ukraine.”
The publication also notes there is no evidence that Joe Biden was attempting to help his son.
However, conflicting reports have made headlines once again. The Times says Shokin’s replacement, Yuriy Lutsenko, reopened the investigation of Burisma this year, while Bloomberg contradicts that story, saying that the case remains closed.
On Thursday, the Times reported exclusively that Giuliani intended to head to Ukraine to encourage its government to look into Hunter’s involvement in Burisma, hoping it would help Trump ahead of Election Day.
Prior to the news of the trip’s cancellation, it appeared the president was considering speaking with Barr about launching a probe domestically, though Trump told Politico, “I have not done that as of yet,” adding, “It could be a very big situation.”
Asked by Fox News whether he would continue to push Ukraine to investigate now that his trip has been nixed, Giuliani said he wasn’t sure.
“I don’t know. I’ll play it by ear. I’ll see what is going on. I am actually quite confident that the facts with regard to former Vice President Biden are so compelling that there’s no way that he’d get from here to the election without this being investigated, and he would be better off getting investigated now where it really isn’t going to affect the election.”