Giuliani says Trump threatened to blow up Russia’s churches in Putin call

Former Trump lawyer claimed he was ‘authorised’ to tell bizarre story on right-wing TV network

Andrew Naughtie
Tuesday 22 March 2022 05:18
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Giuliani says Trump threatened to blow up Russia’s churches in Putin call
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Rudy Giuliani has shared another strange story from his time as Donald Trump’s attorney, telling right-wing network Newsmax that the ex-president once threatened Vladimir Putin with a campaign of church bombings.

Speaking to a panel of hosts, Mr Giuliani defended Mr Trump’s repeated description of Vladimir Putin’s intellect and strategic nous – words that the former president’s allies have distanced themselves from since the reality of the devastating attack on Ukraine became clear.

Mr Giuliani made the remarks on the back of an exposition about how the war in Ukraine would never have happened and how the US would be “energy independent” if only the electorate had not been “defrauded in voting for a lifetime criminal for president” (simultaneously reiterating the lie that the 2020 election was stolen and seeming to imply Joe Biden did in fact win the popular vote).

“All this stuff about how he says Putin’s smart – that’s why he’s a genius!” Mr Giuliani said of Mr Trump, who recently admitted that he was surprised that Mr Putin’s military buildup on the Ukrainian border had been a prelude to striking some unspecified deal.

“Course he says he’s smart. ‘Hey, Vladimir, you’re really really smart,’ and then he’ll go on and say – He authorised me to say this, or I wouldn’t say it, as his lawyer.

“So, he has a meeting with Putin and he tells him, they’re talking about Ukraine and he says, “Vladimir, you shouldn’t, like, attack Ukraine, cause then I’m gonna – well I never liked those big – what are those things you’ve got in Moscow? Those big bubbles, those big gold bubbles. I never liked those things. So, I’m going to have to blow ‘em up.

The distinctive onion domes of St Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow

“So, Putin says, ‘They’re churches.’ And he said, ‘Oh, Vladimir. Don’t tell me that about churches. Oh, come on. Churches? You can fool Bush, you can’t fool me. Churches, you care about churches?’ That’s what he’s like.”

He appeared to be referring to the distinctive onion domes associated with Orthodox churches, such as St Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow’s Red Square.

This more-than-a-little-strange story shares some overlap with other reports of Mr Trump’s conversations with Mr Putin, whom he spoke to many times while in office – including with only a translator present, a situation that alarmed many of his advisers and diplomats.

Donald Trump on Vladimir Putin: “He’s not going into Ukraine"

Mr Trump’s indiscretions with the Putin government also extended beyond the Russian president himself. In one incident, he hosted foreign minister Sergei Lavrov and then Russian ambassador to the US Sergei Kislyak in the Oval Office with a Russian news photographer but no American journalists. In the course of their meeting, which took place the day after Mr Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, the then-president apparently shared with him what may have been classified information about military operations in Syria.

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