A Tuesday night Washington Post report appeared to heap blame for President Donald Trump’s Ukraine scandal largely on the shoulders of his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani — but Giuliani claims he acted at the direction of Trump’s State Department.
According to The Post report, which relied on numerous current and former officials, “some senior officials worked behind the scenes to hold off a Trump meeting or call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky out of concern that Trump would use the conversation to press Kiev for damaging information on Trump’s potential rival in the 2020 race, former vice president Joe Biden, and Biden’s son Hunter.”
But officials told The Post that Giuliani butted his way in and made a mess of things: “‘Rudy — he did all of this,’ one U.S. official said. ‘This s—show that we’re in — it’s him injecting himself into the process.’”
After the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine was prematurely removed from her post in May — “a move that both baffled and unnerved senior officials at the State Department and the White House,” officials told The Post — Giuliani reportedly set to work.
Though he had been making inroads with Ukrainian officials for months, Giuliani openly said shortly after Marie Yovanovitch’s ouster that his campaign to have Joe Biden investigated would “be very, very helpful to my client, and may turn out to be helpful to my government.”
The former New York City mayor has spun a wild conspiracy involving Hillary Clinton, George Soros, Yovanovitch and others that claims the group engaged in a plot to frame former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort.
Officials told The Post there was a months-long fight within the administration to restrain Trump’s desire for dirt on Biden, but ultimately national security officials were sidelined and political loyalists like Giuliani were given the green light.
This week, the attorney “claimed that the State Department directed him to arrange meetings with Ukrainian officials,” the New York Daily News reported, and Giuliani said: “I never talked to a Ukrainian official until the State Department called me and asked me to do it. And then I reported to every conversation back to them.”
Giuliani appears to be fighting back against the Trump administration’s attempts to distance itself from his activity in Ukraine after Democrats opened a formal impeachment inquiry into the president’s actions.