Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani plans to travel to Ukraine to push the country's leadership on several probes that may prove "very, very helpful" to President Trump, as Republicans continue looking to turn the tables on Democrats and prove that they were the party that improperly conspired with foreign actors. He said in a Thursday interview with the New York Times.
Mr. Giuliani said he planned to travel to Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, in the coming days and wants to meet with the nation’s president-elect to urge him to pursue inquiries that allies of the White House contend could yield new information about two matters of intense interest to Mr. Trump – special counsel’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and the involvement of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s son in a gas company owned by a Ukrainian oligarch.
“We’re not meddling in an election, we’re meddling in an investigation, which we have a right to do,” Mr. Giuliani said in an interview on Thursday when asked about the parallel to the special counsel’s inquiry.
“There’s nothing illegal about it,” he said. “Somebody could say it’s improper. And this isn’t foreign policy — 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.”
According to the NYT, Mr. Giuliani’s planned trip, which has not been previously reported, is part of a monthslong effort by the former New York mayor and a small group of Trump allies working to build interest in the Ukrainian inquiries. Their motivation is to try to discredit the special counsel’s investigation; undermine the case against Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump’s imprisoned former campaign chairman; and potentially to damage Mr. Biden, the early front-runner for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.
The investigations had been opened by Ukrainian prosecutors serving during the term of the country’s current president, Petro O. Poroshenko. He lost his re-election bid last month to Volodymyr Zelensky, a comedian and political newcomer. Mr. Zelensky has said he would like to replace the prosecutor who oversaw some of the matters, Yuriy Lutsenko, who has met multiple times with Mr. Giuliani to discuss the issues.
Mr. Zelensky is set to take office before June 3, though the date of the inauguration is not set yet.