Giuliani says he met with Ukrainian official to discuss Biden

Biden called for dismissal of prosecutor

By Pamela Brown and Caroline Kelly, CNN
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Rudy Giuliani

NEW YORK - Rudy Giuliani said Wednesday that he had spoken with a Ukrainian official about Joe Biden's possible role in that government's dismissal of a prosecutor who investigated Biden's son.

The move shows the former New York mayor is making a renewed push for the country to investigate President Donald Trump's political enemies. Giuliani, who serves as Trump's personal attorney, has long lobbied Ukraine to investigate the former vice president's call in 2016 to remove the country's top prosecutor, who at one point had been investigating a Ukrainian natural gas company connected to Biden's son, Hunter.

Other Western governments also called for that prosecutor's dismissal, and no evidence has indicated Biden's move was inappropriate.

Ukraine's prosecutor general told Bloomberg in May he had no proof of wrongdoing by Biden or his son.

The Biden campaign refused comment on Giuliani's talks.

The New York Times first reported Giuliani's talks with the official.

Giuliani told CNN that the State Department informed him that Andriy Yermak, who he called the lawyer for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, wanted to meet with him. Yermak was appointed as an aide to Zelensky in May, according to local media reports.

The two spoke twice over the phone, with Yermak offering to come to the US to meet with Giuliani before the two agreed to meet in Madrid last month, Giuliani said.

Giuliani claims that Yermak asked him questions and that he didn't ask the Ukrainian lawyer to do anything because he "didn't need to." The focus of their conversation was on Biden's possible role as then-vice president in the prosecutor's dismissal and how Ukraine may have tried to damage Trump's campaign, Giuliani said.

After several days of inquiry, the State Department confirmed Friday that it had assisted in connecting Yermak and Giuliani.

A State Department spokesperson said that Kurt Volker, the US special representative for Ukraine, confirmed that he had put Yermak in direct contact with Giuliani at Yermak's request.

"Mr. Giuliani is a private citizen and acts in a personal capacity as a lawyer for President Trump," the spokesperson said in a statement to CNN. "He does not speak on behalf of the U.S. Government. We would refer you to Mr. Giuliani for information about the content of Mr. Giuliani's conversations with Ukrainian officials."

Giuliani said he wasn't worried about how the meeting would be received.

"I wouldn't do an unethical thing in my life, I'm a really good lawyer," Giuliani said. "I'm proud of what I did."

He also claimed that he didn't pursue the issue at the direction of President Donald Trump.

Giuliani has directly pursued Ukrainian investigations into American politics since the spring. In May, Giuliani floated traveling to Ukraine to meet with Zelensky in an effort to push the country to investigate Biden, as well as matters connected to the release of negative information about Paul Manafort, the former chairman for Trump's 2016 campaign. But he ultimately reversed course and decided not to go.

He told CNN's Michael Warren at the time that he is not going to meet with Ukraine's president-elect because "the meeting would have accomplished little and may be in the hands of those who might misrepresent it."

Later that month, The Washington Post reported that Giuliani met with a former Ukrainian diplomat who has previously "made unproven claims that the Democratic National Committee worked with the Kiev government in 2016 to dig up incriminating information."

This story has been updated with State Department comments.

CNN's Michael Warren and Jennifer Hansler contributed to this story.

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