Did Rudy Giuliani target Joe Biden? 2019 call to Ukraine reveals chilling details
A new audiotape revealed that Donald Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani attempted to pressurize Ukraine into investigating Joe Biden. The July 2019 call was between Giuliani, US diplomat Kurt Volker and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's senior advisor Andriy Yermak. Held days before Trump's infamous call with Zelensky, this call shows a clear attempt by Giuliani to derail Biden, which Republicans have denied.
The Trump-Zelensky call led to the first impeachment of Trump, despite his insistence that there was nothing wrong. This Giuliani call is believed to be at the beginning of Trump's attempts to subvert the 2020 elections, a process that lasted months and led to a massive investigation by Robert Mueller. While that investigation did not lead to consequences for Trump, it did reveal his vast network that helped steal the elections.
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The call could be problematic for Giuliani, who is currently under federal investigation for his Ukraine dealings. Furthermore, it also clearly shows an attempt at quid-pro-quo, which Trump has vehemently rejected. Giuliani too has rejected any wrongdoing, but as this audio proves, he may not be entirely innocent.
'The Biden thing has to be run out,' says Giuliani
The audiotape was obtained and published by CNN, but it is not the first time the call is being made public. In April 2021, Buzzfeed News published a partial transcript, following excerpts obtained by Time Magazine in February. But this is the first time we actually hear Giuliani's voice. "All we need from the President (Zelensky) is to say, I'm gonna put an honest prosecutor in charge, 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," Guiliani is purportedly heard saying.
He then said, "That would clear the air really well. 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." He also referred to the 2016 firing of Ukraine's top prosecutor by then-president Petro Poroshenko. "To me, as a lawyer, it sounds like a bribe. 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 can be heard saying.
While Giuliani was pushing for specific probes into Biden, Yermak tried to reroute the conversation to official diplomatic matters but also agreed to the investigations. "I'm absolutely sure that as soon as the dates of the President Zelensky's upcoming visit to United States will be confirmed, I am ready to be personally assume control of the preparation," Yermak said. "And of course, I will be ready to come, and we can (be) personally sitting (down), and in detail discuss all the questions, all this investigation which you listed in our conversation."
"I'm sure that Zelensky will say that," Yermak said by the end of the call, revealing he knew the investigations were the only way to get on Trump's good side. Three days after this conversation, Trump called Zelensky and infamously said, "I would like you to do us a favor." That call sparked the impeachment, but he was later acquitted by the Senate. While Trump no longer appears to be in any danger, the call could have consequences for Giuliani.
'Can we all agree Giuliani is finished?'
News of the call quickly spread to social media with people condemning the former mayor of New York. "Can we all agree that Rudy Giuliani is mostly finished? Any holdouts, outliers, dissenters feel different, let me know. Tell me why," one person tweeted. Filmmaker Chip Franklin asked, "How does Rudy Giuliani sleep at night?"
Can we all agree that Rudy Giuliani is mostly finished?— The Great War & Modern Memory (@ps9714) June 8, 2021
Any holdouts, outliers, dissenters feel different, let me know.
Tell me why.
How does Rudy Giuliani sleep at night?— Chip Franklin InsideTheBeltway.com (@chipfranklin) June 7, 2021
Another user tweeted about disbarring Guiliani, saying, "There is no acceptable excuse for why sleazy "lawyer" Rudy Giuliani hasn't been disbarred yet." One user jokingly asked Giuliani, "Have you butt dialed to Fox News to confess on air?" Another person said, "Rudy Giuliani is the energizer bunny of crime."
There is no acceptable excuse for why sleazy "lawyer" Rudy Giuliani hasn't been disbarred yet.— BrooklynDad_Defiant! (@mmpadellan) June 7, 2021
Have you butt dialed to Fox News to confess on air?— Sri B (@snband4) June 8, 2021
Rudy Giuliani is the energizer bunny of crime— Baligubadle (@Baligubadle1) June 8, 2021
Giuliani is yet to comment on the audio, but he has retweeted a tweet by journalist Millie Weaver. Weaver called the story "a big nothing". In the past, Giuliani, like Trump, has flip-flopped on the issue, first from denying the call ever took place, to then claiming it was about something else. Notably, he told CNN's Chris Cuomo, "of course I did" in a 2019 appearance.