Rudy Giuliani called his client Donald Trump to clear up that he was joking when he made comments about having ‘insurance’ if the president were to throw him under the bust, his own lawyer says.
Giuliani came under scrutiny after making a comment on Fox News that gave some skeptics the impression he was brandishing leverage over Trump, who this seek denied dispatching the former New York mayor to scour Ukrainian sources in search of dirt on political rival Joe Biden.
The extraordinary confirmation of the call comes as two outlets reported Giuliani had negotiated a deal for his firm to be paid $200,000 to represent a top Ukrainian prosecutor. However a husband-of-wife team of lawyers who were to assist Giuliani say no work was ever performed.
Rudy Giuliani’s lawyer says he called President Trump to inform him he was joking when he commented on having ‘insurance’ in case he got thrown under the bus
Giuliani discussed his relationship with the president amid speculation their interests may no longer be aligned.
‘I’ve seen things written like he’s going to throw me under the bus. When they say that, I say he isn’t, but I have insurance,’ Giuliani said. ‘This is ridiculous. We are very good friends. He knows what I did was in order to defend him, not to dig up dirt on [former Vice President Joe] Biden.’
Giuliani said afterward he was joking about having health insurance.
Nevertheless, he called the president this week to reassure him that he had been joking his lawyer said on Wednesday.
President Trump said he didn’t direct Giuliani to undertake his efforts on Ukraine
Draft agreements would have had Ukraine’s former top prosecutor pay $200,000 to Giuliani and lawyer Joe DiGenova’s firm
President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani has coffee with Ukrainian-American businessman Lev Parnas at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, U.S. September 20, 2019. Parnas has been indicted on campaign finance charges
Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko is shown in documents to have negotiated a retainer agreement with Giuliani
Lev Parnas leaves his arraignment with his wife, Svetlana Parnas, Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019 in New York. He and Igor Fruman are charged with conspiracy to make illegal contributions to political committees supporting President Donald Trump and other Republicans
The attorney, Robert Costello, said Giuliani ‘at my insistence’ had called Trump ‘within the last day’ to emphasize that he had not been serious when he said he had an ‘insurance policy, if thrown under the bus.’
‘He shouldn’t joke, he is not a funny guy. I told him, ‘Ten thousand comedians are out of work, and you make a joke. It doesn’t work that way,” Costello told Reuters.
Giuliani has already said that he was being sarcastic when he made the comments. Trump, too, has brushed them off, telling reporters in the Oval Office this week that ‘Rudy is a great guy.’ The White House declined to comment on Costello’s remarks.
Trump appeared to put some distance between himself and Giuliani when he told interviewer Bill O’Reilly this week: ‘No, I didn’t direct him, but he is a warrior, he is a warrior.’
Asked what Giuliani was doing in Ukraine, Trump responded: ‘You have to ask that to Rudy.’
Giuliani has said he was doing work on Ukraine on behalf of ‘my client’ – Trump. But the president told O’Reilly: ‘Rudy has other clients, other than me,’ adding: ‘He’s done a lot of work in Ukraine over the years,’
Giuliani denied anything ever came of his six-figure arrangements to do work for Ukrainian officials.
‘I thought that would be too complicated,’ he told the New York Times. ‘I never received a penny.’ Documents reviewed by the paper would have had Giuliani represent Ukraine’s then-top prosecutor, Yuriy Lutsenko.
‘Originally, I thought I would do it. And then when I thought it over,’ Giuliani told the paper. ‘I thought it would look bad.’
Giuliani has already cited contact with Lutsenko as he pursued a theory of Ukrainian election interference – which Trump wold later mention in a call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
The $200,000 retainer was for work ‘on Ukrainian claims for the recovery of sums of money in various financial institutions outside Ukraine.’ Also mentioned in the agreement are Washington lawyers Joseph DiGenova and Victoria Toensing.
The husband-wife couple also represent oligarch Dmytro Firtash, who has alleged organized crime ties and is fighting extradition to the U.S.
Another proposal referenced a $300,000 agreement with the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice and the Republic of Ukraine with Giuliani partners.
Representing a foreign government with interests in the U.S. requires registraiton, although a representative of DiGenova and Toensing told the Washington Post all the retainer letters referenced registration requirements.
Giuliani has said he had no business in Ukraine.
Giuliani has emerged as a central figure in the Democratic-led House of Representatives impeachment inquiry against Trump who is accused of abusing his office for personal political gain by pressing Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, a leading candidate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, and his son, Hunter, a former board member of a Ukrainian energy company.
Current and former U.S. officials have testified at the inquiry that Giuliani carried out a shadow foreign policy in Ukraine and that it became clear to them that a White House meeting between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Trump and a phone call between the two leaders was contingent on Ukraine carrying out Trump’s wishes.
U.S. ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, testified that Trump directed him, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, and former Ukraine special envoy Kurt Volker to work closely with Giuliani on Ukraine matters, a request that he viewed with alarm as Giuliani was a private citizen.
Sondland, a Trump donor, said Giuliani told him that Trump wanted Zelenskiy to make a public statement on investigating corruption, and was particularly concerned about probing Burisma, the Ukrainian energy company, and a debunked theory that Ukraine, not Russia, meddled in the 2016 U.S. election.
Costello denied there had been any link between the investigations Trump sought and the White House meeting.
Trump, in an interview with former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly on Tuesday, sought to distance himself from Giuliani’s activities on Ukraine, saying that he had not directed him to work on Ukraine matters.
‘No, I didn´t direct him, but he is a warrior,’ Trump told O´Reilly, adding Giuliani ‘possibly saw something’ and ‘he’s done work in Ukraine for years.’
Costello declined to comment on what directions Trump had given Giuliani on Ukraine, citing attorney-client privilege. He said there had been no change in Trump and Giuliani’s relationship. ‘They speak all the time,’ Costello said.