Ukraine’s President says he never met with Rudy Giuliani
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Tuesday that he has never met with President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, as Zelensky finds himself in the middle of an American political firestorm.
“I never met Rudy Giuliani — never. And never had any phone calls with him,” Zelensky said Tuesday at a news conference in Kiev.
According to a transcript released by the White House of a July 25 call between Trump and Zelensky, the Ukrainian President said that he was aware of Giuliani’s efforts to uncover information that would help Trump politically, and Trump encouraged Zelensky to speak with his lawyer because Giuliani “very much knows what’s happening.” Trump, the transcript showed, pressed Zelensky to work with Giuliani to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.
“I will have Mr. Giuliani give you a call,” Trump told Zelensky, according to the White House’s transcript of the call.
There is no evidence of wrongdoing by Joe or Hunter Biden.
Giuliani was also named 31 times in a separate whistleblower complaint that alleges Trump abused his official powers “to solicit interference” from Ukraine in the upcoming 2020 election, and that the White House took steps to cover it up. Trump has denied doing anything improper.
Asked by CNN’s Clarissa Ward on Tuesday if he felt pressure from Trump in order to unfreeze military aid, Zelensky reiterated that he didn’t feel any pressure from the President to investigate the Bidens.
“I don’t feel pressure,” he said during the news conference. “I have lots of people who’d like to put pressure on me here and abroad. I’m the president of an independent Ukraine — no one can put pressure on me.”
In the July call, Zelensky mentioned plans to buy more US-made Javelin missiles, to which Trump then says, “I would like you to do us a favor though,” according to the White House-released transcript.
Trump admitted he froze $400 million in military aid to Ukraine ahead of his call with Zelensky, but claims there was “never any quid pro quo,” saying instead the holdup was because he was waiting for European allies to contribute their fair share.
Giuliani told CNN that the State Department helped set up his meetings with Zelensky aides and that he met with a top aide to Zelensky in Madrid, days after the July 25 phone call.
Last week, House Democrats launched a formal impeachment inquiry into the allegations against Trump, and issued a subpoena Monday to Giuliani for documents related to Ukraine.
CNN’s Clarissa Ward, Devan Cole and Michael Warren contributed to this report.