Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s personal attorney, says he plans to travel to Ukraine in the coming days to persuade the government to continue investigations that could benefit Trump in his reelection bid, a gambit that Giuliani himself admitted could be seen as “improper.”
If Giuliani flies to Kiev, he will meet
with President-elect Volodymyr Zelensky, a comedian who will assume office in June, to underscore the importance of two investigations being conducted by the Ukrainian government that could damage Joe Biden’s presidential campaign and call into question Hillary Clinton’s conduct during the presidential election in 2016.
The first investigation centers on allegations that the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign worked with Ukrainian citizens to release unflattering documents about Paul Manafort in 2016 that led him to resign as chairman of Donald Trump’s campaign.
The second investigation hinges on concerns that Biden, in his role as vice president in 2016, improperly pressured the Ukrainian government to scuttle an investigation into a Ukrainian energy company with close ties to his son, Hunter Biden.
In an interview with
the New York Times, Giuliani shot down claims that meeting with the incoming president of Ukraine would be illegal—but did say the confab could prove useful to Trump.
“There’s nothing illegal about it. Somebody could say it’s improper,” Giuliani said. “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.”
When Joe Biden was vice president under President Obama, he threatened to withhold aid to Ukraine if the government didn’t remove Viktor Shokin, the country’s top prosecutor. Shokin was suspected of shielding top officials from prosecution, and many Western countries had called
for his ouster.
At the time, Hunter Biden was serving on the board of Burisma, an energy company whose owner Shokin was investigating. Biden has denied
he pressured the government to fire Shokin to benefit his son or Burisma.
to Bloomberg, the Ukrainian government had dropped its investigation into Burisma in 2014 or 2015, although reporting by the New York Times suggests
the investigation was ongoing until Shokin was dismissed, and may have been reopened since.