Rudy Giuliani, the personal attorney for President Trump, said he told Trump “a couple of times” that the then-ambassador to Ukraine obstructed investigations in the country that would have benefited the president politically, according to a report.
The former mayor said he informed the president earlier this year that Marie Yovanovitch was impeding granting visas to Ukrainian prosecutors to travel to the US to present evidence to him and to federal authorities that would be damning to Trump’s political rival Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.
“I think I had pointed out to the president a couple of times, I reported to the president, what I had learned about the visa denials,” Giuliani told the New York Times in an interview published late Monday. “I may or may not have passed along the general gossip that the embassy was considered to be a kind of out-of-control politically partisan embassy, but that was, like, general gossip, I didn’t report that as fact.”
The president, according to Giuliani, suggested he get in contact with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who asked for more information.
Yovanovitch was recalled in April and informed she had lost the faith of the president.
She testified before the House Intelligence Committee in November that Giuliani ran a smear campaign against her to force her ouster.
Giuliani said “there’s a lot of reasons to move her,” but his conversations with Trump may have played a key role.
“I think my information did,” Giuliani said. “I don’t know. You’d have to ask them. But they relied on it.”
He went on to say that he didn’t recommend to Trump or Pompeo that they recall Yovanovitch.
“I just gave them the facts,” he said. “I mean, did I think she should be recalled? I thought she should have been fired.”
“If I was attorney general, I would have kicked her out. I mean — secretary of state,” he told the newspaper.
Giuliani repeated those claims Monday evening on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle,” in an interview in The New Yorker and in a tweet Tuesday morning.
“Yovanovitch needed to be removed for many reasons most critical she was denying visas to Ukrainians who wanted to come to US and explain Dem corruption in Ukraine,” he said on Twitter. “She was OBSTRUCTING JUSTICE and that’s not the only thing she was doing. She at minimum enabled Ukrainian collusion.”
“I believed that I needed Yovanovitch out of the way,” Giuliani told the magazine in a report published Monday. “She was going to make the investigations difficult for everybody.”
His comments come as the House is poised to impeach Trump on Wednesday.
The House Judiciary Committee approved two articles of impeachment — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress – last Friday.
Democrats say Trump leveraged a White House visit and $391 million in military aid to Ukraine to force its president, Volodymyr Zelensky, to announce that he was launching investigations into Joe Biden and his son, who had worked for a Ukrainian energy company.
Trump was asked at the White House on Monday what information Giuliani shared with him.
“Not too much,” the president told reporters.
“He’s a great person who loves our country and he does this out of love, believe me. He does it out of love. He sees what goes on. He sees what’s happening. He sees all of the hoax that happens when they talk about impeachment hoax or the Russian collusion delusion and he sees it,” Trump said.