President Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, said Sunday he would cooperate the House impeachment inquiry, but only if directed by his client.
Trump, according to a memo of his July 25 phone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and an anonymous whistleblower complaint, repeatedly pressed Ukrainian officials to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, and noted that Giuliani would be in contact with Ukraine on the probe.
"Rudy very much knows what's happening and he is a very capable guy," Trump told Zelensky. "I will have Mr. Giuliani give you a call and I am also going to have Attorney General [William] Barr call and we will get to the bottom of it."
The investigation was based on a dubious claim that, as vice president in 2016, Biden pushed Ukraine’s government to oust a prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, who was investigating Burisma, a Ukrainian gas company that had Hunter Biden on its board starting in 2014, where he received a monthly salary of $50,000.
While Joe Biden did call for the prosecutor’s removal, he was one of many international leaders who did so in response to concerns about corruption, a fact that undercuts Giuliani’s claim that Biden acted in his son’s interests. The investigation into Burisma had been closed prior to the vice president calling for the prosecutor’s ouster, Bloomberg News reported. In fact, in late 2014, the Obama administration pressed the Ukrainians to assist the U.K. in a separate investigation into Burisma’s owner.
Yet, despite the lack of evidence, Giuliani began pressing the Ukrainians to investigate the Bidens' role in the prosecutor’s firing earlier this year and has maintained his argument that there was wrongdoing on behalf of the Bidens.
Giuliani was named “a central figure” in Trump’s effort to use “the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election,” according to the released whistleblower complaint against the president for his dealings with Ukraine and allegedly withholding almost $400 million in military aid from the country as leverage for a probe into the Bidens. Giuliani could be one of the potential witnesses Democrats in the six House committees involved in the investigation may seek to interview, as they are said to be eyeing a fast-paced impeachment inquiry, which officially began last week.
As Senate Democrats came out in support of the inquiry, Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin said Tuesday there’s an expectation that the “Trump White House will stonewall” congressional investigators.
“Are you going to cooperate with the House Intelligence Committee?” Giuliani was asked by ABC News’ “This Week” host George Stephanopoulos.
“That is a question that has a lot of implications to it,” Giuliani responded. “Believe it or not, I'm an attorney. Everything I did was to defend my client. I am proud of what I did. And I am proud of having uncovered what will turn out to be a massive pay-for-play scheme, not unlike the Clinton Foundation.”
When Giuliani started to discuss looking into “places that Hunter Biden went to sell his father's office,” Stephanopoulos asked again if he would cooperate with the House Intelligence Committee.
“I wouldn't cooperate with [House Intelligence Committee Chairman] Adam Schiff,” Giuliani said. “I think Adam Schiff should be removed. If they remove Adam Schiff, if they put a neutral person in, who hasn't prejudged the case, if they put someone in, a Democrat who hasn't expressed an opinion yet — if I had a judge in the case and he had already announced I'm going to impeach, if he already went ahead and did a whole false episode, wouldn't I move to recuse that judge?”
“So that's your answer, you're not going to cooperate?” Stephanopoulos pressed.
“I didn’t say that,” Giuliani pushed back. “I said I would consider it.”
“I have to be guided by my client, frankly,” he continued. “I'm a lawyer. It's his privilege, not mine. If he decides that he wants me to testify, of course I'll testify, even though I think Adam Schiff is an illegitimate chairman. He has already prejudged the case.”
Giuliani added: “If we want fairness here, we've got to put somebody in charge of that committee who has an open mind, not someone who wants to hang the president.”
Rep. Schiff, D-Calif., on Sunday said Democrats “had no choice but to move forward with an impeachment inquiry, and our focus will be on the president’s fundamental breach of his oath of office.”
“Coercing a foreign nation to interfere in our election is never ok,” he added. “No matter what the president and his defenders say.”
Giuliani, a nongovernment actor, also defended himself against former White House official Tom Bossert, who on Sunday said Trump made a mistake hiring Giuliani and aired his frustrations with his “completely false” theory that Ukraine was responsible for interference in the 2016 election.
“At this point I am deeply frustrated with what he and the legal team is doing and repeating that debunked theory to the president,” Bossert, who is now an ABC contributor, said. “It sticks in his mind when he hears it over and over again.”
Giuliani responded to Bossert’s comment, saying the ex-Trump official “doesn’t know what he’s talking about,” adding, “I’m not peddling anything.”
ARCHIVO - En esta foto de archivo del 30 de noviembre de 2018, la entonces embajadora de EEUU en Ucrania, Marie L. Yovanovitch, habla en Kiev. Yovanovich declara el viernes 11 de octubre de 2019 ante las comisiones del Congreso que investigan al presidente Donald Trump antes de posiblemente iniciarle juicio político. (AP Foto/Efrem Lukatsky)
Former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, center, arrives on Capitol Hill, Friday, Oct. 11, 2019, in Washington, as she is scheduled to testify before congressional lawmakers on Friday as part of the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
FILE - In this March 6, 2019 file photo, then U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, center, sits during her meeting with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Kiev, Ukraine. (Mikhail Palinchak, Presidential Press Service Pool Photo via AP)
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks about the House impeachment investigation during a formal signing ceremony for the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement at the White House in Washington, October 7, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Adam Schiff (D-CA), Chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence Committee speaks to the media before a closed-door meeting regarding the ongoing impeachment inquiry against US President Donald Trump at the US Capitol October 8, 2019 in Washington,DC. (Photo by Olivier Douliery / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)
Democratic U.S. Rep. Ben McAdams, of Utah, addresses the media at Midvale Senior Citizens Center Friday, Oct. 4, 2019, in Midvale, Utah. McAdams is changing his position to support the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. He said Friday he has not made a decision on whether the president should be impeached, but he supports investigating what he calls serious allegations. McAdams was previously one of a small handful of undecided House Democrats. He says he changed his mind because the Trump administration is unlikely to cooperate with an investigation unless it's conducted as an impeachment inquiry. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Staunch Trump ally Sen. Chuck Grassley pushes back against calls to out whistleblower
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., listens as Rep. Joe Neguse, D-Colo., and other House Democrats discuss H.R. 1, the For the People Act, which passed in the House but is being held up in the Senate, at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) speaks to reporters after the Trump administration blocked U.S. ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland from giving testimony in the House of Representatives' impeachment investigation of Trump on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., October 8, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 01: Tourists make photographs inside the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol on October 01, 2019 in Washington, DC. Under the leadership of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), the House of Representatives has opened an impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump following revelation that a whistleblower filed a complaint that Trump was seeking damaging information about a political opponent from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 30 : President Donald J. Trump talks to reporters about the whistleblower after participating in a ceremonial Swearing-In of the Secretary of Labor Gene Scalia in the Oval Office at the White House on Monday, Sept 30, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
KIEV, UKRAINE - OCTOBER 01: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks to the media on October 1, 2019 in Kiev, Ukraine. Ukraine has been at the core of a political storm in U.S. politics since the release of a whistleblower's complaint suggesting U.S. President Donald Trump, at the expense of U.S. foreign policy, pressured Ukraine to investigate Trump's rival, Joe Biden, and Biden's son, Hunter. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
(COMBO) This combination of pictures created on September 24, 2019 shows
US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, on September 24, 2019 and
US President Donald Trump in Washington, DC, September 20, 2019. - Amid mounting allegations of abuse of power by the US President, Pelosi announced the start of a formal impeachment inquiry in the House of Representatives, the first step in a process that could ultimately lead to Trump's removal from office. (Photos by Mandel NGAN and SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN,SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., reads a statement announcing a formal impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., steps away from a podium after reading a statement announcing a formal impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
U.S. President Donald Trump reacts to audience applause after his address to the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
U.S. President Donald Trump arrives to address the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
WASHINGTON, DC - September 24: Surrounded by journalists, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff (D-CA) emerges from a meeting with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, before the delivers a speech concerning a formal impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on Tuesday September 24, 2019. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Members of the White House press corps - holding in the Trump Bar at Trump Tower - watch U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) live on television as she announces an impeachment investigation of U.S. President Donald Trump in New York City, New York, U.S. September 24, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump ATTENDS a bilateral meeting with Iraq's President Barham Salih on the sidelines of the annual United Nations General Assembly in New York City, New York, U.S., September 24, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) speaks to news reporters following an impeachment proceeding announcement, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., September 24, 2019. REUTERS/Tom Brenner
U.S. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) walks through a House corridor following an Impeachment Proceeding announcement, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., September 24, 2019. REUTERS/Tom Brenner
U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL.) speaks to news reporters following an Impeachment Proceeding announcement, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., September 24, 2019. REUTERS/Tom Brenner
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 1125 -- Pictured: Host Jimmy Fallon as Donald Trump during the "Trump U.N. Speech" Cold Open on September 24, 2019 -- (Photo by: Andrew Lipovsky/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Protesters with "Kremlin Annex" call to impeach President Donald Trump in Lafayette Square Park in front of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., announced a formal impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 24: U.S. House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) speaks to the media in response to an announcement by Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) at the Capitol Building September 24, 2019 in Washington, DC. Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry today after allegations that President Donald Trump sought to pressure the president of Ukraine to investigate leading Democratic presidential contender, former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, which was the subject of a reported whistle-blower complaint that the Trump administration has withheld from Congress. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 24: Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) walks with her press secretary, Connor Joseph, to a House Democratic caucus meeting at the U.S. Capitol where formal impeachment proceedings against U.S. President Donald Trump were announced by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi September 24, 2019 in Washington, DC. Spanberger is one of seven freshman members of the House with national intelligence or military backgrounds who recently spoke out in an opinion piece calling for an investigation of Trump. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 24: Reporters and congressional staff members wait outside a House Democratic caucus meeting at the U.S. Capitol where formal impeachment proceedings against U.S. President Donald Trump were announced by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi September 24, 2019 in Washington, DC. Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry after allegations that President Donald Trump sought to pressure the president of Ukraine to investigate leading Democratic presidential contender, former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, which was the subject of a reported whistle-blower complaint that the Trump administration has withheld from Congress. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 24: Reporters crowd around Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., as he leaves the House Democrats caucus meeting in the Capitol on impeachment of President Trump on Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 24: Rep. Al Green, D-Texas, arrives for the House Democrats caucus meeting in the Capitol on impeachment of President Trump on Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
Protesters with Kremlin Annex with a light sign that reads "NO ONE IS ABOVE THE LAW" call to impeach President Donald Trump in Lafayette Square Park in front of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
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“We are writing today with grave concern that you continue to book Rudy Giuliani on your air to spread false, debunked conspiracy theories on behalf of Donald Trump,” the letter from top aides Anita Dunn and Kate Bedingfield reads. “While you often fact check his statements in real time during your discussions, that is no longer enough. By giving him your air time, you are allowing him to introduce increasingly unhinged, unfounded and desperate lies into the national conversation.”
“We write to demand that in service to the facts, you no longer book Rudy Giuliani, a surrogate for Donald Trump who has demonstrated that he will knowingly and willingly lie in order to advance his own narrative,” the letter went on to say.
Giuliani responded to the letter in a text to the Daily Beast, saying it “sounds like the usual left wing censorship.”