Rudy Giuliani, a personal attorney to President Donald Trump, signaled this week that he’ll likely rebuff House Democrats’ subpoena in relation to their impeachment inquiry, but may accept Senate Republicans’ invitation to testify on Ukraine and Joe Biden.
“I’m going to be guided by the White House counsel who says it’s an illegitimate hearing,” Giuliani told Newsday, when asked whether he’d meet the deadline next Tuesday to turn over documents that Democrats believe will inform their investigations into potential impeachable offenses by Trump.
“Do you think I’ll show my hand? Now? I might even change it,” Giuliani added, when asked about appearing before the Republican-led Senate Judiciary Committee.
Giuliani, a former New York City mayor, finds himself at the center of Democrats’ probe into whether Trump abused his office in requesting that Ukraine deliver political dirt on Biden.
In an interview late Tuesday with Newsday, Giuliani touched on his central role in the impeachment saga, discussed his legacy and repeatedly criticized the Democrats’ proceedings as farce and Biden, a former vice president and a Democratic 2020 presidential rival to Trump, as corrupt.
The inquiry by House Democrats was sparked by a whistleblower’s report and a July call between the Republican president and his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky.
The whistleblower's complaint refers to Giuliani, 75, of Manhattan as “a central figure” in Trump’s use of “the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election.”
Giuliani is among several people who communicated with Ukraine and have been subpoenaed. The White House sent a letter Tuesday to House Democrats declaring the executive branch’s refusal to cooperate with the inquiry, calling it a constitutionally invalid process.
“I agree with the letter,” he said. “Everything I know as a lawyer tells me that this is illegitimate. I don’t see one single due process right.”
The former mayor reinforced what he has expressed on Twitter and cable TV: that the Democrats are politically motivated.
“Don’t mistake this for some kind of a due process hearing or a fair hearing,” he said. “This is about as big a kangaroo court as ever invented. The Salem witch trials have more due process than this.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called the White House letter “simply another unlawful attempt to hide the facts of the Trump administration’s brazen efforts to pressure foreign powers to intervene in the 2020 elections.”
Meanwhile, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a Trump ally, offered Giuliani an opportunity to come before his panel to air his concerns about corruption in Ukraine.
“Senator Graham and I are very close,” Giuliani said. “Senator Graham, I don’t have to play games with. He’s an honest man.”
Giuliani, like Trump and White House officials, said he saw nothing inappropriate about the July 25 call between Trump and Zelensky.
A partial transcript shows Zelensky telling Trump that Ukraine was ready to purchase antitank missiles from the United States. Trump responded that he wanted Ukraine to probe the origins of the Mueller investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election as well as Biden. As vice president, Biden had sought the ouster of a Ukrainian prosecutor. Biden's son, Hunter, was on the board of an energy firm the prosecutor had been investigating.
“I would like you to do us a favor though, because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it,” Trump says in the call.
“He didn’t command it, by the way,” said Giuliani, a former federal prosecutor. “He said ‘favor, ‘do me a favor.’ That’s a pretty mild word. ‘Do me a favor.’ Gee, I did a lot of extortion cases. I never heard ‘do me a favor’ as ‘I’ll break your legs, I’ll smash your head, I’ll take your kids away.' "
Giuliani, Trump and others have accused Biden of using his office to shield his son from prosecution.
The Ukrainian prosecutor who replaced the prosecutor who was ousted said there was no evidence of wrongdoing by the Bidens. However, Ukraine leaders say they are reviewing their probe into the firm where Hunter Biden was a board member.
The former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine, Kurt Volker, testifying before House Democrats, said he didn't believe the accusation that Biden acted inappropriately to be credible.
Giuliani once was known as “America’s Mayor” for his leadership after the 9/11 terror attacks. He now may be better remembered as the Trump confidant embroiled in the president’s impeachment proceedings.
Newsday asked Giuliani about his legacy and he responded with sarcasm.
“Oh my God, my legacy. My legacy will be affected. My legacy will be affected. So, I’ll get scared and I’ll run away,” Giuliani said. “No, no, I consider my legacy as: I started as a person who had great skill in investigating crime. I’ve uncovered some of the biggest criminal patterns in the history of this country. Probably, I’ve prosecuted more criminals than any U.S. attorney ever. And you’re just going to have to count on me that I’m right and you’re wrong.”