The lawyer of US President Donald Trump, Rudolf Giuliani said that the US State Department advised him to avoid the head of the President's Office Andriy Bohdan, as well as other people close to him. This was reported by journalist Roger Sollenberger, who provided the recorded interview to BuzzFeed News.
Instead, the former New York City mayor claimed, State preferred that he meet with Zelensky advisor Andriy Yermak.
“I’m sure Bohdan came up, I'll tell ya how Bohdan came up,” Giuliani said in the call. “When State asked me if they could give my number to Yermak, they said, ‘[Yermak] is a real lawyer, unlike Bohdan, who is a fixer.’ He came up as a distinction to Yermak. Yermak is straight; Bohdan is not.”
Giuliani also said twice in the call that he passed the concerns he’d heard about Bohdan’s position in the administration from the State Department’s briefing on to Yermak during their face-to-face, even though it was not part of the agenda he was there to push. (That mission revolved around trying to prove debunked conspiracy theories around the 2016 election and eventually expanded into looking for potential political dirt on former vice president Joe Biden’s son.)
“I said, you know, you have a guy like that around and it’s not going to do you and your country much good,” Giuliani said, in reference to Bohdan. “Now, I just offered that to [Yermak], and it didn't fit in to what I’m, what I had to deal with, a meeting and you know... I just gave him that advice.”
Volker, who resigned from his position in the administration on Friday, arranged the meeting when Yermak reached out to the State Department, according to a screenshot of a text message conversation that Giulani posted on Twitter. Giuliani said he debriefed the State Department about his trip twice, once in a phone call and in person on Aug. 12, the day the whistleblower complaint was filed. It’s unclear how Volker and Sondland reacted to Giuliani’s debriefings and how much content from those meetings reached Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Pompeo on Wednesday confirmed that he was one of the people listening in on the call between Trump and Zelensky in July.
Volker is slated to testify this week before three Congressional committees.
“Told ‘em the whole thing,” Giuliani said when asked about his debriefing and whether he brought up his Biden investigation. “Perfectly legal, perfectly normal. You have a perfect right to ask a foreign country to investigate a crime when it affects your client.”
But when asked exactly who in the State Department provided the warnings about Zelensky’s aides, Giuliani was only mostly sure of who gave him that information.
“I’m sure Volker did. But I get...I get the people mixed up who briefed me,” he said.