In addition to his alleged efforts to put pressure on Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky on behalf of President Donald Trump, a new report reveals that Rudy Giuliani may also have been involved in efforts to convince the president of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, to leave office.
According to a new report from The Washington Post, the former New York City mayor was a part of a “shadow diplomatic effort” to oust Maduro in order to allow U.S. businesses to gain access to “resource-rich Venezuela.” Reportedly, Trump was attempting to isolate Maduro. Giuliani apparently attempted to push private business interests in the U.S. by pushing Maduro out of office.
Giuliani apparently had a phone call with the Venezuelan president in a similar fashion to the phone call that he had with Ukraine. Given that Giuliani isn’t a part of the Trump administration, his involvement has caused concern among people within the administration, according to multiple sources who asked to remain anonymous.
“His freelancing has triggered concerns among White House officials that his intercessions have muddied and at times undercut official U.S. policy,” the report says.
His involvement was so unknown among those in the administration, the lawyer’s conversations with Maduro reached White House officials well after the fact. The news comes as Giuliani has faced criticism for listing himself as a government employee on his social media accounts.
The Washington Post reports that then-National Security Advisor John Bolton’s policy was in direct opposition to the policy that Giuliani was reportedly pushing behind the scenes.
“Giuliani’s willingness to talk with Maduro in late 2018 flew in the face of the official policy of the White House, which, under national security adviser John Bolton, was then ratcheting up sanctions and taking a harder line against the Venezuelan government,” The Washington Post wrote.
Giuliani and Bolton reportedly had a conversation about the plan to push out Maduro, and the latter was strongly against the idea. Still, it seems as though Giuliani moved forward with the plan.
A true honor to make history with @TPUSA this past weekend. The largest young conservative movement in history! A big Congratulations and thank you to @charliekirk11! ???????? pic.twitter.com/sjsVdslLGj
— Rudy Giuliani (@RudyGiuliani) December 24, 2019
In January of 2019, Bolton supported the United States’ decision to recognize Juan Guaidó as president of Venezuela over Maduro. A few months later, Giuliani reportedly gained a Venezuelan tycoon as a client and at some point became part of the back-channel negotiations to sway U.S. foreign policy.
Trump surprised some people when he took a personal interest in Venezuela despite not showing any interest in other countries suffering from similar human rights abuses. The Trump administration froze the country’s vice president’s assets and banned Venezuelan government officials from traveling to the U.S.
Shortly after, some U.S. businesses with investments in the country called for negotiations that could see Maduro pushed out of office.