Trump "privately encouraged" Giuliani to continue probing Bidens following Senate acquittal: report

Giuliani is reportedly working on a new documentary about Hunter Biden with veteran "Republican fixer" Tim Yale

By Igor Derysh

Managing Editor

Published February 12, 2020 12:48PM (EST)

Rudy Giuliani (AP Photo/Salon)
Rudy Giuliani (AP Photo/Salon)

President Donald Trump "privately encouraged" his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, to continue probing the Bidens and Ukraine after he was acquitted by Senate Republicans on charges related to those efforts, according to a new report.

"In my conversations with the president, he has, on more occasion than one, said that he wants to get to the bottom of the Ukraine issue in a very similar way that he's talked about investigating the 'Russia hoax,'" a source close to Trump told The Daily Beast.

The president also encouraged Giuliani to provide updates on his findings to the administration, including the Department of Justice, according to the report.

The discussions come as Trump appears to be emboldened by his acquittal. Along with urging Giuliani to renew investigating the debunked Biden conspiracies fed to Giuliani by Ukrainians facing corruption allegations, Trump has also purged officials who testified in the impeachment inquiry against him. The president has also praised Attorney General William Barr for overruling the recommendation of prosecutors in the sentencing of Roger Stone, the president's oldest political adviser.

"I think he feels like the chains are off now," a senior administration official told The Daily Beast. "It's like things have taken a turn. The gloves are off. And everything that used to be hush hush is now just . . . out in the open."

Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., revealed Sunday that Barr had created a special "process" for Giuliani to feed his dirt on Biden to the DOJ, even though Giuliani himself is being probed by the department. Barr acknowledged Monday that the DOJ would review Giuliani's material though he argued that Giuliani "was being treated no differently that any other tipster," according to The Washington Post. Giuliani's information is being routed to the U.S. attorney's office in Pittsburgh, according to the report, even though The Post previously reported that Barr told Trump several times that "Giuliani has become a liability and a problem for the administration."

The revelation drew a rebuke from Democrats. House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., said in a letter to Barr that "any official relationship between Mr. Giuliani and the Department raises serious questions about conflicts of interest — both for the Department, generally, and for you, specifically."

Along with the DOJ, Graham also announced that his committee, the Homeland Security Committee, and the Finance Committee would also investigate allegations against the Bidens.

Three Republican sources also told Yahoo News that Giuliani was working on a new documentary about Hunter Biden with veteran "Republican fixer" Tim Yale.

"It is unclear what wrongdoing Giuliani hopes to prove," the report noted, since no evidence supports such claims. But the report added that Giuliani was "attempting to retake the reins of the Ukraine investigation" following Trump's acquittal.

Giuliani produced a documentary that aired in December on the pro-Trump news outlet One America News, which was widely dismissed by journalists as a "bogus conspiracy theory" and "a stunning piece of propaganda." He has has also started a new podcast to present what he claimed was new evidence against Biden, though it largely rehashed claims that were debunked months ago.

A source who watched trailers for Giuliani's new project that were put together to pitch potential investors told Yahoo News that the film is "more of a satirical mockumentary."

Even as Republicans plow ahead with the public investigations of the Bidens that Trump solicited from Ukraine, the president's closest allies have downplayed the allegations pushed by Giuliani, which an internal Fox News briefing described as "disinformation."

"Rudy Giuliani last night said he's got the goods on Hunter Biden. I called the attorney general this morning, and Richard Burr, the chairman of the Intel Committee, and they told me take very cautiously anything coming out of the Ukraine against anybody," Graham told CBS News, adding, "Here's what I want to tell the president: I'm not going to be the Republican Christopher Steele."

By Igor Derysh

Igor Derysh is Salon's managing editor. His work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Herald and Baltimore Sun.

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Aggregate Donald Trump Hunter Biden Joe Biden Lindsey Graham Politics Rudy Giuliani Ukraine William Barr