With President Donald Trump now facing an impeachment inquiry in response to reports that he asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden, Republican Rudy Giuliani — Trump’s personal attorney and former mayor of New York City — has been claiming that Trump’s Ukraine-related actions and his own were perfectly innocent. Giuliani has said that when he met with Ukrainian officials this year, he did so at the request of the U.S. State Department. But according to Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin, a “rough transcript” of Trump’s July 25 phone conversation shows that “Giuliani’s narrative is completely false.”
Giuliani met with Andriy Yermak (a top aide to Zelensky) in Madrid in early August, and on Monday, Giuliani told Fox News’ Sean Hannity that the State Department wanted them to meet. But Rogin asserts that the “rough transcript” of the July 25 Trump/ Zelensky conversation “reveals Giuliani’s various attempts to characterize his activity as a State Department initiative to be extremely misleading at best and outright lies at worst.”
The “rough transcript,” according to Rogin, demonstrates that Giuliani met with Yermak not because of the State Department, but because Giuliani and Yermak were “simply following up on Trump’s request…. Yermak was following up on Trump’s suggestion, not responding to actions of the State Department.”
Rogin notes that a State Department spokesperson, in an August 22 statement, said, “At Presidential Advisor Andriy Yermak’s request, (Ambassador Paul) Volker put Yermak in direct contact with Mr. Giuliani.”
Rogin asserts, “Volker must have known what Giuliani was up to. Giuliani had to cancel a planned trip to Kiev in May after widespread criticism of his attempts to cajole Ukrainian leaders into advancing Trump’s political agenda. The extent of Volker’s involvement will surely be part of the various ongoing investigations into these events.”
Rogin concludes his column on a sobering note, stressing that in light of all the damning information that has come out during the Ukraine scandal, it is time for Trump’s presidency to end — if not by resignation, by impeachment.
“Trump must resign or be removed,” Rogin writes, “but that should be only one step in an effort to surface countless individuals who have used government offices for corrupt purposes…. We have the most historically corrupt administration in history.”