Trump’s lawyer admits he asked Ukraine to investigate Biden, seconds after denying he did

Rudy Giuliani contradicts himself over claims he requested corruption probe into former vice-president

Colin Drury
Friday 20 September 2019 13:57 BST
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Rudy Giuliani contradicts himself when asked about request for Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden

Donald Trump’s lawyer has denied requesting the Ukraine investigate Joe Biden – before, seconds later, admitting he did.

Rudy Giuliani initially told a TV interviewer he had not asked officials in the country to look into allegations of bribery against the former vice-president and his son Hunter.

But asked about the issue half a minute later, he admitted: “Of course I did.”

The contradiction came amid a growing scandal which raises murky questions not only about Mr Trump’s actions but also those of Mr Biden himself and the use of American aid.

It centres around allegations – strenuously denied – that the current Democrat presidential candidate bribed the president of the Ukraine by essentially threatening to end American aid unless he fired a prosecutor who was investigating a gas company which the younger Biden was on the board of.

Speaking to CNN on Thursday, Mr Giuliani said: “I found out this incredible story about Joe Biden, that he bribed the president of the Ukraine in order to fire a prosecutor who was investigating his son."

In the potentially explosive exchange, journalist Chris Cuomo asks the former Mayor of New York City: "Did you ask the Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden?"

"No, actually I didn't," Mr Giuliani responds. "I asked the Ukraine to investigate the allegations that there was interference in the election of 2016 by the Ukrainians for the benefit of Hillary Clinton – "

When his interviewer presses him, asking if he ever mentioned Mr Biden at all, Mr Giuliani replies that he asked officials how the case against his son had come to be dropped.

"So you did ask Ukraine to look into Joe Biden," Mr Cuomo asks.

"Of course I did," says Mr Giuliani.

He later said the request was not ordered by Mr Trump. But when questioned on whether the president had agreed to provide aid to Ukraine only after it investigated Mr Biden, Mr Giuliani said the president would have had "every right" to withhold aid to another country unless corruption is eliminated.

Mr Giuliani confirmed to the New York Times in late August that he had lobbed the new Ukrainian government to investigate Mr Biden, but he said he did so as a private citizen and could not say whether Mr Trump was aware of his effort, or whether he approved of it.

Mr Trump recently provided a package worth $250 million to the Ukraine.

The growing scandal revolves around Hunter Biden who served on the board of a Ukrainian gas company, Burisma, owned by Mykola Zlochevsky, an associate of Viktor Yanukovych, the pro-Russian Ukrainian president who was forced into exile in 2014.

Mr Zlochevsky was subsequently investigated for corruption by prosecutor general, Viktor Shokin.

But Mr Shokin was later outed from the investigation, partially amid pressure from Joe Biden who was then US vice-president.

The official reason for the US wanting rid of the prosecutor is that he was not investigating corruption thoroughly enough.

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Hunter Biden has said he never spoke to his father about his service on the board. Nonetheless, he has faced widespread criticism for accepting the position while his father was vice president.

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