Democrats are demanding more information about Rudy Giuliani’s involvement in Ukraine following the release of a controversial call summary between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
A group of Senate Democrats on Wednesday urged the Justice Department to review Giuliani’s consulting work abroad following repeated mentions of Trump’s personal attorney in the summary. Earlier this week, three congressional House committees also jointly sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo threatening a subpoena if he refuses to produce documents related to Trump’s and Giuliani’s interactions with Ukrainian officials.
“Rudy Giuliani seems to be working on behalf of the United States as an emissary from the president while at the same time benefiting the president’s personal political agenda,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), one of the senators who made the request, said Wednesday.
Giuliani’s name comes up repeatedly in summary of the July 25 call between Trump and Zelensky that was released Wednesday. Zelensky first brings up Giuliani on the call and invites him to visit Ukraine. Later in the conversation, Trump urges Zelensky to work with U.S. Attorney General William Barr and Giuliani in pursuit of dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden and his family.
“Mr. Giuliani is a highly respected man. 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,” Trump said, according to the call summary.
On Tuesday, The Washington Post published an article about Giuliani’s shadow diplomacy in Ukraine and how it had alarmed State Department officials who were in the dark about his work there. Giuliani seemed to acknowledge his mission to help Trump politically in an interview in May.
Mr. Giuliani is a highly respected man. He was the mayor of New York City, a great mayor, and I would like him to call you. President Trump to Ukraine's president, according to a summary of their call
“We’re not meddling in an election, we’re meddling in an investigation, which we have a right to do,” Giuliani said in the May 9 New York Times article. “I’m asking them to do an investigation that they’re doing already and that other people are telling them to stop. And I’m going to give them reasons why they shouldn’t stop it because that information will be very, very helpful to my client, and may turn out to be helpful to my government.”
In an interview on Fox News this week, Giuliani held up a cellphone, waved it around and told host Laura Ingraham that he was working on behalf of the State Department and said his phone records would confirm his contacts.
“You know who I did it at the request of?” he asked. “The State Department. I never talked to a Ukrainian official until the State Department called and asked me to do it. And then I reported every conversation back to them.”
But the State Department later pushed back on those claims, saying Giuliani did not speak for the U.S. government and calling him a “private citizen” who is acting in a “personal capacity as a lawyer for President Trump.”
Giuliani’s involvement in Ukraine also puzzled some Republicans on Capitol Hill.
“I honestly have no idea. None,” Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) said Wednesday when asked why the president’s personal attorney got involved with U.S. policy in a foreign country. In an earlier interview on MSNBC this week, Kennedy called Giuliani “wilder than a March hare.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), an ally of Trump who argued the president did nothing wrong in asking Zelensky to get involved in a U.S. election, also took issue with Giuliani’s wild series of television appearances this week.
“I don’t know what [role] he played,” Graham said. “Rudy’s saying a lot of things, and I’m not sure he’s helping the president by being on TV every 15 minutes.”