Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani(2ndL) attends the signing of HR 1327, an act to permanently authorize the September 11th victim compensation fund by US President Donald Trump during a ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, July 29, 2019. (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

Rudy Giuliani dismisses whistleblower claims as "total nonsense": I have "no knowledge of that crap"

"I don't think they'd thank me if I was interfering in foreign relations," Giuliani says of the State Department


Shira Tarlo
September 26, 2019 6:59PM (UTC)

Claiming that he has "no knowledge of any of that crap," Rudy Giuliani, the personal attorney of President Donald Trump, dismissed accusations that he attempted to help his boss solicit Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 presidential election as "total nonsense."

Giuliani's comments, made Thursday to CNN, came just hours after the House Intelligence Committee released a redacted complaint made by an whistleblower in the intelligence community.

Advertisement:

The complaint, which centers around a July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, alleges Trump sought to pressure Zelensky to "initiate or continue an investigation" into the son of potential 2020 Democratic rival Joe Biden. It goes on to describe Giuliani and William Barr, the president's attorney general, as Trump's "personal envoys" on those matters.

U.S. officials, the whistleblower wrote, were "deeply concerned" by Giuliani's communications with Ukraine. The whistleblower alleged the officials believed Giuliani was a conduit for messages between the president and officials in Kyiv. At the time, U.S. State Department officials had spoken with Giuliani "in an attempt to 'contain the damage' to U.S. national security," the whistleblower wrote.

During the same time frame, Ukrainian officials were allegedly "led to believe that a meeting or phone call between the president and President Zelensky would depend on whether Zelensky showed willingness to 'play ball'" on the messages they were receiving from Giuliani and Ukraine's top prosecutor, Yuriy Lutensko.

Giuliani refuted the claims made in the whistleblower report, arguing that the State Department had asked him to meet with one of Zelensky's top advisers, Andriy Yermak.

"At no time did either one of them say they wanted to contain damage," he said. "At no time did the State Department in communication with me ever relay any of that information you're talking about."

Giuliani said he shared all of the details of his conversations with Yermak with the State Department. He claimed that he has a "nice little trail" of text message conversations with the U.S. special envoy to Ukraine, Kurt Volker, to prove his claims.

Advertisement:

"I spoke to the State Department during the course of this situation. I told you, at least 10 times," he said. "And I met with them."

Giuliani admitted that he met with Yermak in Madrid on Aug. 1, as the whistleblower alleged, but said he was unaware the meeting was viewed as a "direct follow-up" to the president's July 25 call with Zelensky, as the whistleblowed claimed.

Advertisement:

He said he was unaware that Trump brought up his name during his mid-July phone call with Zelensky and noted he never spoke with the president about his meetings with Yermak. Giuliani also said he never discussed the July phone call with Trump.

Last month, the State Department acknowledged it had put Yermak in "direct contact" with Giuliani but attempted to pour water on the notion that it had facilitated the meeting, arguing it was arranged at Volker's request. The State Department noted Giuliani is a "private citizen and acts in a personal capacity as a lawyer for President Trump. He does not speak on behalf of the U.S. Government."

"I don't think they'd thank me if I was interfering in foreign relations," Giuliani said of the State Department. "And I don't think they'd call me and put me together with Yermak, which they indisputably did — even admitted it — if they weren't happy with what I did. But I can't imagine why they'd be unhappy. I told them everything that I did. There's nothing I did that they don't know."

Advertisement:

Shira Tarlo

Contact Shira Tarlo at shira.tarlo@salon.com. Follow @shiratarlo.

MORE FROM Shira TarloFOLLOW @shiratarlo



Fearless journalism
in your inbox every day

Sign up for our free newsletter

• • •