Rudy Giuliani dropped a bombshell on New Year’s Eve, saying he would be willing to testify in the upcoming Senate trial of President Donald Trump that could lead to his removal from office.
As The Hill reported, Giuliani spoke as he was arriving at the New Year’s Eve party at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, telling reporters that he would be willing to testify if called upon. The former New York City mayor has served as Trump’s personal attorney and was allegedly involved in the president’s efforts to pressure Ukraine into announcing an investigation of his political rival, Joe Biden.
The testimony might be a major political risk for the president. Giuliani has made a series of statements for Trump regarding the work in Ukraine that have been seen as potentially damaging. He also had been working with disgraced former Ukrainian lawmaker Andrey Artemenko on a documentary.
As The Hill noted, Giuliani is not expected to join Trump’s legal team for the upcoming trial, which has yet to take shape. Democrats are pushing for top administration officials with knowledge of his dealings on Ukraine to testify. During the House impeachment inquiry, the White House had moved to block all from testifying while also denying documents requested by congressional panels, but Democrats are hoping to compel them to testify in the Senate trial.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has given indications that he will press for a quick trial that may not include any witnesses at all. McConnell has also made it clear that he does not intend to serve as an impartial juror, as senators are called to do, and instead will work with the White House toward the president’s acquittal. Democrats have pressed back and some Republicans have indicated they are not comfortable with McConnell’s approach.
Giuliani’s testimony would be “of great interest to Democrats,” The Hill noted, as he allegedly carried out Trump’s shadow foreign policy in Ukraine. Reports indicated that his work went against the official policy and left many career diplomats frustrated.
But there is some concern even among Republicans about the work that Giuliani had been doing in Ukraine. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina senator and one of Trump’s closest allies, said in an interview with The Daily Beast that he is worried the information the presidential lawyer has been compiling on Biden during his visits to Ukraine may actually be Russian propaganda. During the impeachment hearing, some diplomats and geopolitical experts warned that the unfounded conspiracy theories Trump had been pushing on Ukraine were coming directly from the Kremlin.