‘Shock’ Giuliani Call Threatening Ukraine Released On Impeachment Day

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As Donald Trump’s historic second impeachment starts, the subject of his first impeachment has once again hit the news cycle and caused controversy. During that trial, Trump was accused of trying to extort a foreign country to announce investigations into his political rival, Joe Biden, in exchange for economic aid that had already been approved by Congress. Not only did Trump do so in a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, he sent his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, to Ukraine to do the same.

Although Trump escaped accountability during his first impeachment trial and is likely to do the same with his second, he has only so far done so in Congress. The Southern District of New York is investigating him for potential bank and tax fraud, and they continue to investigate Giuliani for his actions in Ukraine. A phone call between Giuliani, advisor to President Zelensky Igor Novikov and other aides, paints a grim picture of the evidence against the former New York City mayor.

According to TIME:

‘The 40-minute call, a transcript of which was obtained by TIME, provides the clearest picture yet of Giuliani’s attempts to pressure the Ukrainians on Trump’s behalf. The President’s personal lawyer toggled between veiled threats—“Be careful,” he warned repeatedly—and promises to help improve Ukraine’s relations with Trump. “My only motive—it isn’t to get anybody in trouble who doesn’t deserve to be in trouble,” Giuliani said. “For our country’s sake and your country’s sake, we [need to] get all these facts straight,” he added. “We fix them and we put it behind us.”’

Although Ukrainian government officials remained silent during Trump’s first impeachment, put in the perilous position of openly becoming the opposition to the American president, they are now willing to come forward with Trump out of office. During a recent interview, Zelensky was asked if he wasn’t “a little bit mad” at Trump for putting him in that position, to which he laughed and responded “a little?”

‘Potentially more worrying for Giuliani is the Ukrainian support for the investigations he is reportedly facing in New York. Novikov tells TIME that he is providing assistance to a legal campaign to revoke Giuliani’s law license. Novikov is also open to helping the investigation that the former New York City mayor is reportedly facing in the Southern District of New York, the same office where Giuliani made his name as a prosecutor in the 1980s.’

Two Ukrainian officials have said that they have already spoken to investigators from the SDNY to assist them in their investigation. However, it is the ties that call has to Trump and his administration that is coming under scrutiny, as well.

‘Three days after that conversation, Trump held a phone call with Zelensky that would become Exhibit A in his first impeachment inquiry. He used the call to make some of the same requests of the Ukrainians that his lawyer made earlier that week. Trump famously asked Zelensky to “do us a favor” by opening investigations related to Biden and his son Hunter, who had served on the board of a Ukrainian gas company.’