President Trump on Tuesday denied directing his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani to go to Ukraine on his behalf amid scrutiny as part of the ongoing House impeachment inquiry.
“No, I didn’t direct him. But he is a warrior,” Trump told former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly in an interview streamed online.
The comments appeared to contradict a frequent explanation from Giuliani, who has tweeted multiple times that he was operating in Ukraine to defend his client.
Trump urged O’Reilly to “ask that to Rudy” when the former Fox News host inquired what Giuliani was doing in Ukraine.
“I know he was going to go to Ukraine, and I think he canceled a trip,” Trump told O’Reilly. “But you know, Rudy has other clients other than me.”
Giuliani has tweeted multiple times in recent months that his activities in Ukraine — which included seeking damaging information on former Vice President Joe Biden — were meant to defend his “client.” The former New York City mayor’s dealings in the country are now reportedly the subject of a probe in the Southern District of New York.
“The investigation I conducted concerning 2016 Ukrainian collusion and corruption, was done solely as a defense attorney to defend my client against false charges, that kept changing as one after another were disproven,” Giuliani tweeted earlier this month.
Giuliani tweeted last month that “everything I did was to discover evidence to defend my client against false charges” and that “justice will prevail.”
The president had until Tuesday defended Giuliani when asked about his relationship with his embattled personal attorney. He hailed Giuliani as a crime fighter and great mayor on Monday.
Two of Giuliani’s associates, Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas, were indicted last month on charges of campaign finance violations. Giuliani’s interactions with Ukrainian businessmen are reportedly the subject of a widening investigation.
At the same time, multiple witnesses testified in House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry that Giuliani was part of an “irregular channel” to carry out Trump’s foreign policy in Ukraine. Current and former State Department officials also said Giuliani was among those orchestrating a smear campaign to oust former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.