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Giuliani Says Trump Should ‘100%’ Investigate Biden After Expected Senate Acquittal

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Former New York City mayor and President Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, has emerged as a pivotal figure in the events that ultimately resulted in President Trump’s impeachment. Giuliani called the president’s expected acquittal “a total vindication.”

Steve Inskeep/NPR

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Former New York City mayor and President Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, has emerged as a pivotal figure in the events that ultimately resulted in President Trump’s impeachment. Giuliani called the president’s expected acquittal “a total vindication.”

Steve Inskeep/NPR

Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor who is President Trump’s personal attorney, says the president should not back away from investigating Joe Biden even after Trump’s expected acquittal Wednesday by the U.S. Senate. “Absolutely; 100%,” Giuliani told NPR’s Steve Inskeep in an interview Tuesday. “I would have no problem with him doing it. In fact, I’d have a problem with him not doing it. I think he would be saying that Joe Biden can get away with selling out the United States, making us a fool in the Ukraine.” The former New York City mayor has emerged as a pivotal figure in the events that ultimately resulted in President Trump’s impeachment last month by the House of Representatives and his Senate trial, which will almost certainly end Wednesday with Trump’s acquittal. Giuliani called the president’s expected acquittal “a total vindication.” But while all 53 Republican senators are expected to vote to acquit Trump, some, including Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee have expressed reservations about Trump’s actions, saying it was “inappropriate” for him to ask a foreign leader to investigate his political opponent and to withhold United States aid to encourage that investigation. Giuliani pushed back against that idea, saying Alexander and other GOP senators who have expressed similar reservations don’t “understand the facts.” “Lamar is wrong, and Lamar is a good friend of mine, and he’s a fine man except he doesn’t know all the facts,” Giuliani said. He “only knows half the facts; a lot of them distorted.” At issue is the July 25 phone call between Trump and Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the then newly elected Ukrainian president. Democrats say Trump asked Zelenskiy to investigate the Bidens in exchange for a release of suspended military aid and a White House visit. Trump calls the phone call “perfect.” But in Giuliani’s telling, “the whole Ukrainian thing is misrepresented. The Democrats did do a good job of spinning it to ‘he’s trying to hurt Joe Biden.’ It has nothing to do with Joe Biden.” Having said that, Giulaini proceeded to list what he said were the former vice president’s misdeeds. As vice president, Biden did hold back aid, and even boasted of doing so in 2018 — but it was in pursuit of official U.S. policy to remove a prosecutor who was widely seen as ineffective against corruption. The European Union, the International Monetary Fund and others also backed the firing of the prosecutor, Viktor Shokin. “There was a broad-based consensus that he was atypical Ukraine prosecutor who lived a lifestyle far in excess of his government salary, who never prosecuted anybody known for having committed a crime, and having covered up crimes that were known to have been committed,” George Kent, the senior U.S. diplomat, testified during last year’s House impeachment inquiry. Ukraine has long been criticized for corruption and, indeed Shokin was investigating Burisma for alleged wrongdoing during a period well before Hunter Biden joined the company’s board, but Shokin himself was perceived as corrupt and Ukraine’s Western partners had long demanded his ouster.

Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani addresses the crowd at the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit on Dec. 19, 2019 in Palm Beach, Fla.

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Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani addresses the crowd at the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit on Dec. 19, 2019 in Palm Beach, Fla.

Saul Martinez/Getty Images

Giuliani maintains, however, that the Ukraine affair is part of a long record of corruption orchestrated by Biden that goes back at least as far back as two decades in Iraq. Biden’s role in Ukraine, he said, needs further investigation. “I believe that it would be one of the great corrupt events in American history if this case is not investigated at the highest levels of two governments” — the United States and Ukraine, he said. But Giuliani’s own role in the Ukraine affair has come under scrutiny. Multiple witnesses testified during the House impeachment inquiry last year that Giuliani pressed the new Ukrainian government to investigate the Democrats and the Bidens. Indeed Giuliani said he was still seeking “more information” about Biden’s activities in Ukraine. When asked if he was doing that on the authority of the president, he replied: “He hasn’t told me not to do it.” But the former New York City mayor declined to say whether he had turned over any of this material to the Justice Department. “I can’t answer that. it would be privileged material,” he told NPR’s Ryan Lucas in the same interview. “I can’t tell you if I did or didn’t do something with the Justice Department.” Last week, The New York Times published details from former national security adviser John Bolton’s upcoming book, alleging that Trump told Bolton to call Ukraine’s president to encourage him to meet with Giuliani. Giuliani has previously denied there was anything illegal about such an ask, and has noted that he had made clear in his correspondence with Ukraine’s leader that he was acting as Trump’s personal lawyer — not in his role as president. Ultimately, no such meeting ever occurred. Lev Parnas, a Giuliani associate, has also been feeding information to House Democrats that he says lays bare Trump and Giuliani’s actions in Ukraine. Parnas, who was indicted on charges related to campaign finance violations in a separate case, has vowed to tell the truth and has left the door open to cooperating with prosecutors, but Giuliani said he’s not concerned by his former associates actions. “If he flipped it’s because he doesn’t know anything,” he said. “… I didn’t do anything wrong. I did what a lawyer is supposed to do for his client.” As he put it in another part of the interview: “I do it because, and I know it’s self-serving as hell, but it’s true: I have a great sense of justice.”

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