By Ken Bredemeier
Rudy Giuliani, U.S. President Donald Trump’s personal attorney and a key figure in pressing Ukraine to launch investigations to benefit Trump politically, says he would testify at the president’s looming impeachment trial and do whatever he can to see him acquitted.
“I would testify, I would, um, do demonstrations. I’d give lectures, I’d give summations.” Giuliani said as he arrived Tuesday night at Trump’s black tie New Year’s Eve party at his Atlantic oceanfront estate in Florida.
“Or, I’d do what I do best, I’d try the case,” Giuliani said. “I’d love to try the case. Well, I don’t know if anybody would have the courage to give me the case, but, uh, if you give me the case, I will prosecute it as a racketeering case, which I kind of invented anyway.”
Giuliani, a former New York City mayor and long-time Trump confidante, is not expected to be one of Trump’s lawyers defending him in an as-yet unscheduled Senate trial, with White House counsel Pat Cipillone likely Trump’s lead attorney.
Trump faces two articles of impeachment approved last month by the vast majority of Democratic lawmakers in the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives as a unified Republican caucus opposed impeachment. Trump is accused of abusing the office of the presidency by pressing Kyiv to open an investigation of one of his top 2020 Democratic challengers, former vice president Joe Biden, and obstructing Congress by inhibiting its investigation of his Ukraine-related actions.
Giuliani’s testimony, if it ever occurs, could be revealing.
Trump, according to testimony in the House impeachment inquiry, ordered key officials to take directions in recent months from Giuliani on Ukraine matters, sidelining U.S. diplomats working for the U.S. State Department. More recently, Giuliani traveled to Ukraine to try to dig up dirt to use against Biden as he seeks the Democratic Party nomination to oppose Trump’s bid for a second term in next November’s national election.
Meanwhile, the dates for Trump’s impeachment trial have not been set amid a high-stakes political fight over the parameters of the trial, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who supported Trump’s impeachment, refusing to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate until she knows how a trial would be conducted and that in her mind it would be conducted fairly.
Senator Mitch McConnell, the leader of the Republican-controlled Senate and a staunch Trump defender against his impeachment, wants a sharply curtailed proceeding and a quick vote to clear Trump without calling any witnesses.
The Democratic minority chief, Senator Chuck Schumer, wants to call four key Trump White House aides to find out what directions Trump might have given them to pursue the Ukraine investigation of Biden, his son Hunter Biden’s work for a Ukrainian natural gas company and a debunked theory that Ukraine sought to undermine Trump’s 2016 election campaign.
Trump last July asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to launch the political investigations and has often described the call as “perfect.”
The American leader’s request came as he temporarily was blocking release of $391 million in military aid Ukraine wanted to help fight pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. Trump released the assistance in September without Zelenskiy opening any Biden investigations.
That is proof, Republicans say, that Trump had not engaged in any reciprocal quid pro quo deal with Ukraine, the military aid in exchange for the investigations.