After months of denying that he personally sent Rudy Giuliani to Ukraine to get damaging information on political opponents, including the Biden family, President Donald Trump just came out and admitted it.
During a 46-minute interview on Geraldo Rivera’s podcast "Roadkill with Geraldo" on Thursday, Trump was asked if it was “strange to send Rudy Giuliani to Ukraine, your personal lawyer? Are you sorry you did that?”
“Not at all,” Trump responded. “Rudy was a great crime-fighter, you know that? Maybe better than anybody. And Rudy is totally on his game.”
“Here's my choice: I deal with the [James] Comeys of the world, or I deal with Rudy,” Trump said. “So when you tell me, why did I use Rudy, and one of the things about Rudy, number one, he was the best prosecutor, you know, one of the best prosecutors, and the best mayor. Also, other presidents had them. FDR had a lawyer who was practically, you know, was totally involved with government. Eisenhower had a lawyer. They all had lawyers. Bill Clinton had a lawyer, they all had lawyers, and they do things for them.”
“It’s circumventing, but very legally, and maybe getting things done faster,” Trump added.
Previously, Trump denied sending Giuliani to Ukraine, even though that account has been verified by Giuliani himself as well as several other people involved. When asked by Bill O’Reilly last November if Trump “direct[ed] [Giuliani] to go to Ukraine to do anything or put any heat on them,” Trump responded, “No, I didn’t direct him,” and said “Rudy went, he possibly saw something.”
In the transcript of the July 25, 2019 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, Trump told Zelensky, “Mr. Giuliani is a highly respected man. He was the mayor of New York City, a great mayor, and I would like him to call you. I will ask him to call you along with the Attorney General. Rudy very much knows what's happening and he is a very capable guy. If you could speak to him that would be great.”
Trump also predictably used the interview to hit out at various political opponents, such as pro-removal Republican Sen. Mitt Romney (“a bad guy, a jealous, angry person”), Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg (Bloomberg’s use of stop-and-frisk, which Trump praised for years, “was a disgrace”), and Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whom he called a “loser” who pursued his impeachment “sadistically.”
Since his Senate acquittal earlier this month, Trump has become even more emboldened to essentially do whatever he wants. After he was acquitted, Trump fired impeachment witnesses National Security Council staffer Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland were both fired, as was Vindman’s twin brother, an NSC lawyer, with Trump suggesting the military should further discipline the Vindman brothers.
“Vindman, if you look at what his person said, [Tim] Morrison, he said terrible things about Vindman,” Trump said in the interview, referring to Vindman’s boss who told the House that he had concerns about Vindman’s judgment. “I didn’t want him in. He was the one who thought my call was bad and ran in saying terrible things about the call, and when I released the transcript, that call was perfect.”
Trump also weighed in, again, on the Roger Stone sentencing controversy, after his critical tweets were followed by the Justice Department overruling its own prosecutors (all of whom later withdrew from the case) and recommending a more lenient sentence than the originally proposed seven to nine years. “Was it appropriate for you to get involved, and are you worried that the independence of the Justice Department is threatened?” Rivera asked.
“These were Mueller people, and the whole Mueller investigation was a shakedown and a disgrace,” Trump said of the prosecutors. “It probably should be expunged.”
Cover: President Donald Trump speaks to reporters during the Supporting Veterans in STEM Careers Act signing ceremony in the Oval Office at the White House, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)