Never-before-released recordings of a 2019 phone call between Rudy Giuliani and Ukranian officials reveal how the Trump adviser and attorney attempted to pressure the foreign government to investigate Joe Biden, according to CNN.
On the call, Giuliani can be heard, along with US diplomat Kurt Volker, and Andriy Yermak, a senior adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, CNN said.
The audio was recorded in July 2019 and came before Trump called Zelensky himself. That conversation became a central part of the former president’s first impeachment trial in which he was accused of soliciting help from Ukraine for his campaign.
The recording of the phone call, which lasts for some 40 minutes, details how Giuliani continued to pressure the Ukrainian government in 2019 to investigate conspiracies about then-candidate Joe Biden. He seems to dangle improved relations with the US as a reward.
Giuliani could be heard telling Yermak that Zelensky should publicly announce investigations into possible corruption by Biden in Ukraine, and also into claims Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election to hurt Trump’s chances of winning. Neither claim has been proven.
Scroll down for video
Audio of a July 2019 call by Rudy Giuliani sees him suggest to a Ukrainian official the country could have a ‘better relationship’ with U.S. if it investigated Joe Biden. Giuliani and his girlfriend Maria Ryan are pictured together on Sunday in New York City
Trump tasked Giuliani with looking for ‘dirt’ on Hunter and Joe Biden in Ukraine
Giuliani spent many months meeting with Ukrainians in order to try and find some dirt on Biden and his family.
‘All we need from the President [Zelensky] is to say, I’m gonna put an honest prosecutor in charge, he’s gonna investigate and dig up the evidence, that presently exists and is there any other evidence about involvement of the 2016 election, and then the Biden thing has to be run out. Somebody in Ukraine’s gotta take that seriously.’ Giuliani said during the audio.
Throughout the call, Giuliani pressed for the officials to launch investigations.
The former New York City mayor suggested US-Ukraine relations would improve if Zelensky launched the probes and that a public announcement might clear the way for Zelensky to visit the US, or for in-person meetings with Giuliani.
Giuliani didn’t respond to CNN’s requests for comment, the news network said. He has previously said he didn’t do anything wrong.
Volodymyr Zelensky took over as Ukraine’s president in May 2019
‘That would clear the air really well,’ Giuliani said, according to the recording. ‘And I think it would make it possible for me to come and make it possible, I think, for me to talk to the President (Trump) to see what I can do about making sure that whatever misunderstandings are put aside … I kinda think that this could be a good thing for having a much better relationship.’
In the call, Giuliani can be heard aggressively pursuing the Ukrainians in an attempt to get them to undermine Joe Biden – all part of a quest to damage his candidacy.
The audio could draw into question Trump’s oft-repeated statement that there was ‘no quit pro quo’ that would see Ukraine receive American aid should Zelensky carry out political favors for Trump.
‘I got information from a reliable investigator, international investigator, that there was a certain amount of activity in Ukraine during the 2016 election,’ Giuliani said to Yermak.
Giuliani is heard suggesting if there were an investigation into Biden, it would ‘clear the air really well’ and possibly pave the way for Zelensky to visit the U.S.
Sailing away? Former NYC Mayor and Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani and his girlfriend Maria Ryan attend the Sail to Freedom NYC Celebrating 299 years of Hellenic Independence at the Chelsea Piers on Sunday
‘Another one was involved with (George) Soros … Soros apparently is behind a lot of this,’ Giuliani said. Soros, a liberal billionaire philanthropist has been the subject of a number of GOP conspiracies.
Giuliani said to Yermak: ‘I’m not telling (Zelensky) what to say,’ despite stating clearly on several occasions Zelensky should announce probes into the Biden’s at Trump’s request.
As Yermak listened patiently to Giuliani’s demands he attempted to keep the call professional and tried to organize dates for Zelensky to visit to the US, all while hinting he could move forward with ‘investigations’.
‘I’m absolutely sure that as soon as the dates of the President Zelensky’s upcoming visit to United States will be confirmed, I am ready to be personally assume control of the preparation,’ Yermak said. ‘And of course, I will be ready to come, and we can (be) personally sitting (down), and in detail discuss all the questions, all this investigation which you listed in our conversation.’
Trump and Giuliani, two New Yorkers who have known each other for decades, in August 2020
Volker told Giuliani that Trump was scheduled to speak with Zelensky to congratulate him on his parliamentary victory.
Giuliani and Volker both suggested to Yermak that Zelensky should mention the ‘investigations’ during any Trump call.
‘I’m sure that Zelensky will say that,’ Yermak said.
‘Believe me, that would be good for all of us,’ Giuliani replied. ‘That would move it along very fast. And I can assure you that, as far as I’m concerned, I think they should talk this week.’
Volker said, ‘I will press that as well,’ as he pushed for the two leaders to speak on the phone.
Trump ended up speaking with Zelensky three days later.
Trump brought up some of the same conspiracy theories about Biden to Zelensky.
The call shows the extent of pressure Giuliani put on Ukraine to investigate the then-Democratic presidential nominee and his son, Hunter Biden
‘I would like you to do us a favor and investigate the allegations,’ Trump asked.
Trump’s call ultimately led to a whistleblower complaint from an intelligence official claiming Trump was abusing his powers and soliciting foreign help in the 2020 election from Ukraine.
The plan fell apart and Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives although later acquitted during a Senate trial.
There is currently an ongoing criminal investigation into Giuliani and his Ukraine dealings which is examining whether he violated lobby laws as he coordinated with ex-officials who would give him dirt on the Bidens, including his son, Hunter, who had business dealings in Ukraine.
Giuliani’s Manhattan home was targeted in a dawn raid orchestrated by New York prosecutors in April, who for the last two years have been looking into whether Giuliani acted illegally when working on Ukraine. Giuliani has denied all wrongdoing and has not responded to requests for comment on the audio recording.