WASHINGTON — Rudy Giuliani, who as President Donald Trump’s personal representative has become a central figure in the House impeachment inquiry, was invited on Tuesday to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee by Sen. Lindsey Graham.
Graham, the Judiciary Committee chairman, could give Giuliani a national platform to expound on his allegations that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election against Trump and that Trump political rival Joe Biden shielded his son Hunter from a Ukrainian investigation.
Democrats said they welcomed the opportunity to subject Giuliani to tough questions about whether he and Trump pressured Ukraine’s president and whether he sought to help his own clients profit from a Ukrainian gas company.
“I have heard on numerous occasions disturbing allegations by Rudy Giuliani about corruption in Ukraine and the many improprieties surrounding the firing of former Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin,” Graham said in a statement Tuesday.
“Given the House of Representatives’ behavior, it is time for the Senate to inquire about corruption and other improprieties involving Ukraine,” he said. “Therefore I will offer to Mr. Giuliani the opportunity to come before the Senate Judiciary Committee.”
Graham did not say when the hearing would be held or whether it would be in public or behind closed doors. His spokesman said those issues are yet to be determined.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the top committee Democrat, welcomed Giuliani’s appearance, and said in a statement: “Democratic members have plenty of questions for Mr. Giuliani and this would give us an opportunity to help separate fact from fiction for the American people.”
A public hearing could turn loud and contentious. Giuliani has become increasingly combative in appearances on news shows, talking over news anchors' questions and shouting to make his points.
Giuliani and three of his associates also have been subpoenaed for depositions by House Democrats engaged in the impeachment inquiry.
“Our inquiry includes an investigation of credible allegations that you acted as an agent of the president in a scheme to advance his personal political interests by abusing the power of the office of the president,” three Democratic House chairmen said in a letter to Giuliani.
Also subpoenaed were Lev Parnas, Igor Fruman and Semyon “Sam” Kislin for depositions on Thursday, Friday and Monday.
Parnas and Fruman are Ukrainian-American Trump donors who helped set up meetings for Giuliani with Ukrainian officials and urged probes of Biden and his son Hunter. They also urged an investigation into allegations that Ukrainian officials tried to tilt the 2016 U.S. election to Democrat Hillary Clinton by leaking a ledger of payments to then-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
Parnas and Fruman also earlier this year met with Naftogaz, Ukraine’s largest natural gas company, to pitch themselves as suppliers of U.S. natural gas, according to news reports.
Kislin is a Ukrainian-born businessman who once served on a New York City economic advisory council when Giuliani was mayor.