Exclusive: New audio from 2019 phone call shows how Giuliani pressured Ukraine to investigate baseless Biden conspiracies


“We all want from the President [Zelensky] Suffice to say, I’m gonna put an honest prosecutor in charge, he’ll investigate and dig up the evidence, what currently exists and whether there’s any other evidence about his involvement in the 2016 election, and then finish the Biden thing. According to Hoga Audio, Giuliani said. “… someone in Ukraine has to take this seriously.”

Hear Giuliani’s phone call with aide to the Ukrainian president

Never-before-heard audio obtained exclusively by CNN shows how former President Donald Trump’s longtime adviser Rudy Giuliani continued pressure on the Ukrainian government in July 2019 to investigate baseless conspiracies about then-candidate Joe Biden. poured in and stroked him. (41 min)

The call was one of the initial salutes in the years-long quest by Trump and his allies to harm Biden and destroy the 2020 election process – by Prayer foreign interference, to lie About voter fraud by trying to reverse the results, and provoking Fatal January 6 attack on the Capitol.
Giuliani and his Ukraine deals are under criminal investigation, including whether he violated lobbying laws Coordinating with former executives Which gave him shit on the Bidens. The federal investigation intensified when the FBI Giuliani’s house and office raided end of April. It is not clear whether the call with Yermak is part of the investigation. Giuliani denies all wrongdoing.
Partial transcript of the Giuliani-Yermak phone call first published by Buzzfeed News in April, and time journal Was the first to publish some highlights of the call in February.
According to the audio recording, Giuliani repeatedly pressed for an investigation. Giuliani even said that US-Ukraine diplomatic relations would be better if Zelensky launched an investigation. Giuliani and Volker suggested during the call that a public announcement could clear the way for Zelensky’s much-anticipated trip to America, or personal meeting with Giuliani.

According to the recording, Giuliani said, “That would clear the air really well.” “And I think it would be 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 to make sure that To clear any misunderstandings… I think it can be a good thing to have a better relationship.”

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The tape provides a direct look at one of the most important moments of Trump’s presidency. Ukrainians are sometimes heard shuffling through papers, and the phone dialed into the call rings several times during conversations – but Yermak remains on the line with Giuliani.

giuliani did not respond to CNN’s requests for comment about the new audiotape. In the past, he has said that he did nothing wrong in Ukraine and was only pursuing his client’s best interests. (He was Trump’s personal lawyer at the time.) Giuliani, too. condemnation of Trump impeached on Ukraine case and said Trump’s conduct is constitutional and justified.

Cajoling and arm-twisting

The call was a big moment for Giuliani’s quest to damage Biden’s candidacy.

was a former mayor of New York City Months meeting with Ukrainians To find dirt on the Biden family, and to confirm right-wing conspiracies that anti-Trump forces in Ukraine undermined his 2016 campaign. Giuliani met with officials who were not considered trustworthy by US diplomats in Ukraine, including Volker – but told Giuliani exactly what he wanted to hear.
Zelensky, who was a comedian and actor before entering politics, was sworn As the President of Ukraine in May 2019. Giuliani seemed eager to connect With the new president and his team.
Several weeks later, Volker brokers a call between Giuliani and Yermak, who is a longtime friend and advisor to Zelensky. It was also the first opportunity for Giuliani to speak out about the Biden investigation in Zelensky’s inner circle, who was desperate to get to know Trump’s team and strengthen US military support. Ukraine’s ongoing war behind Russian proxies in the East.

The call began with Giuliani explaining several complex right-wing conspiracy theories about Biden’s diplomatic dealings in Ukraine and Ukraine’s interference in the 2016 election.

Giuliani put forward many of these theories even after Volcker warned him that the Ukrainian officials who were feeding him the information were not trustworthy, adding that the corruption claims against Biden were “simply not credible,” of accordingly Volker’s testimony In the impeachment inquiry in the House
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“I received information from a credible investigator, an international investigator, that there was a certain amount of activity in Ukraine during the 2016 election,” Giuliani told Yermak during the call, pushing the false claim that US embassy officials “Tried to Create Dirt” by then-candidates Trump and Paul Manafort.

“Another person (George) was involved with Soros … apparently Soros is behind this,” Giuliani said. generous billionaire philanthropist Which is the subject of many GOP conspiracies.
Giuliani also falsely claimed that Biden acted corruptly as vice president when he urged Zelensky’s predecessor Petro Poroshenko in 2016 to sack the country’s top prosecutor. (Several witnesses in the impeachment investigation testified that Biden was simply following. bipartisan american policy, and that the Ukrainian prosecutor needed to go because he was corrupt.)

“To me, as a lawyer, it feels like a bribe,” Giuliani said. “A bribe is offering something of value in return for official action. Therefore, he offered Poroshenko a $1.2 billion loan guarantee, which is crucial to Poroshenko’s success as president, in return for a prosecutor general. to get rid of.”

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He mentioned several disclaimers during the conversation, such as he was not sure that the corruption claims against Biden were true and that he only wanted the “truth” to come out. Giuliani also told Yermak, “I’m not going to tell (Zelensky) what to say,” even though he explicitly stated on a few occasions that Zelensky should announce the specific investigation that Trump wanted.

One of the Ukrainians who was listening to the phone call, former Zelensky adviser Igor Novikov, told CNN last month That Giuliani’s actions jeopardized Ukraine’s already fragile national security situation.

“We are a country that has been at war with Russia for many years,” he said. “So, anything to do with swaps within our bilateral relationship in exchange for trying to get us involved in American domestic politics is wrong, on multiple levels, ethically, ethically, and perhaps even legally. ”

‘It will be good for all of us’

During the call, Yermak listened patiently and tried to reroute talks for official diplomatic matters, such as arranging dates for Zelensky to be his first. official visit to america. But he also gave signs on the line to the Americans that he would work to get the ball moving on the “check”.

“I am quite sure that as soon as the dates for the upcoming visit of President Zelensky to the United States are confirmed, I am personally ready to take control of the preparations,” Yermak said. “And of course, I’ll be ready to come, and we can sit down in person (below), and discuss all the questions in detail, all this investigation that you’ve listed in our conversation.”

The tone of the Americans changed — Giuliani and Volker liked what they were hearing. And Volker mentioned that Trump was soon going to speak with Zelensky and congratulate him. major parliamentary victory.

By the end of the call, Yermak seemed clear what had to happen for Trump to come out on his good side.

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“I’m sure Zelensky would say so,” Yermak said, referring to Giuliani and Volker’s requests that Zelensky should mention the investigation during his upcoming call with Trump.

“Well,” said Volker.

“Believe me, Andrey, it will be good for all of us,” replied Giuliani. “It will go very fast. And I can assure you that as far as I’m concerned, I think they should be talking this week.”

“I’ll press it too,” Volker said, referring to Trump calling Zelensky.

Trump joined Zelensky three days later on July 25, 2019. a . According to rough transcript Issued by the White House, Trump raised with Zelensky some of the same unfounded theories that Giuliani told Yermak. Trump said, “I would like you to do us a favor” and investigate the allegations.
because of his conduct during that now-infamous phone call with Zelensky a informant’s complaint A US intelligence official claimed that Trump abused his powers and solicited foreign aid from Ukraine in the 2020 election. The plan came to fruition within a few months, and Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives. He will be acquitted after a Senate trial.

CNN’s Zahra Ullah contributed to this story.

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