According to newly released audio, Rudy Giuliani
repeatedly suggested that if the country's president launched an investigation
into Joe Biden
and his son in 2019, Ukraine
would have a "better relationship" with the US.
obtained audio of a phone call between Giuliani and US diplomat Kurt Volker, as well as Andriy Yermak, a senior adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in July 2019. The audio shows how aggressive Giuliani was in trying to secure the Ukrainian leader's support for a bogus investigation into then-Democratic President Barack Obama
“All we need from the president [Zelensky] is to say, ‘I’m going to put an honest prosecutor in charge, he’s going to investigate and dig up the evidence that exists now, and is there any other evidence about involvement in the 2016 election,’ and then the Biden thing has to be run out,” Giuliani said.
On CNN, you can hear the audio here.
The 40-minute call came just days before Trump
asked his Ukrainian counterpart to “do us a favor” and announce an investigation into Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who served on the board of a Ukrainian energy
company. The call with Zelensky became central to the House
’s first vote to impeach Trump for attempting to pressure Ukraine to come up with dirt on his political opponents.
Some details from the call were made public after Time magazine published a transcript earlier this year, but CNN's audio emphasizes the extent of Giuliani's pressure campaign, as did BuzzFeed News
“That would really clear the air,” Giuliani says to Yermak about an investigation announcement. Zelensky had hoped for a diplomatic visit to the US, which Giuliani said could be expedited with the Ukrainian’s support.
“And I think it would make it possible for me to come and 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 says during the call.
Despite Trump's resignation, Giuliani has remained at the center of federal investigations. The New York Times
reported last month that prosecutors were looking into whether Ukraine meddled in the 2020 presidential election
in part by funneling misinformation
through the attorney (Giuliani has not been accused of any wrongdoing, but he was a major spokesman for Trump's attacks on Biden).
A separate investigation in the Manhattan
U.S. attorney's office is focusing on Giuliani's work
for Trump to see if he lobbied to remove Marie Yovanovitch from her post as U.S. ambassador to Ukraine in 2019 because Kyiv wanted her fired. That investigation was stepped up after the FBI
executed search warrants at Giuliani's home and office in April.
In that investigation, Giuliani has also not been charged with any wrongdoing and has denied any impropriety.