Sen. Graham to Invite Giuliani to Testify About Alleged Ukraine Corruption

October 8, 2019 Updated: October 8, 2019

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said he will invite the president’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding alleged corruption in Ukraine.

“I will offer to Mr. Giuliani the opportunity to come before the Senate Judiciary Committee to inform the committee of his concerns,” Graham announced in a series of Twitter posts on Oct 8.

Graham, who is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said his offer comes from having heard Giuliani voice his concerns about the firing of Ukraine’s former Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin, as well as alleged corruption in the country.

“Given the House of Representatives’ behavior, it is time for the Senate to inquire about corruption and other improprieties involving Ukraine,” Graham wrote.

Giuliani has repeatedly raised concerns about whether then-Vice President Joe Biden used his office to interfere with a Ukrainian investigation. During a Council of Foreign Relations discussion in 2018, Biden bragged about successfully forcing then-Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in 2016 to terminate Shokin by threatening to withhold $1 billion in U.S. aid to the country.

“I looked at them and said: I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money. Well, son of a [expletive]. He got fired,” Biden said.

Shokin was in charge of investigating energy company Burisma Holdings at the time while Biden’s son, Hunter, held a lucrative board position. Biden has repeatedly denied that he used his influence to get the top prosecutor fired.

Meanwhile, Shokin told a European court in a sworn affidavit that he was removed because he refused to drop the Burisma investigation.

“The truth is that I was forced out because I was leading a wide-ranging corruption probe into Burisma Holdings, a natural gas firm active in Ukraine, and Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, was a member of the Board of Directors,” Shokin said.

Giuliani told The Hill on Oct. 8 that he will consider Graham’s offer “seriously,” but he needs to sort out issues relating to privilege.

Senate Democrats on the committee have welcomed Graham’s decision to invite the attorney to appear before them.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said she wants to question Giuliani under oath “about his role in seeking the Ukrainian government’s assistance to investigate one of the president’s political rivals.”

“Democratic members have plenty of questions for Mr. Giuliani and this would give us an opportunity to help separate fact from fiction for the American people,” she wrote on Twitter.

Similarly, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), a committee member and presidential candidate, responded to Graham’s post, saying, “Good. I have questions.” Fellow 2020 Democratic candidate, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) also shared similar sentiments.

Giuliani is widely perceived as a key player in the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump. The inquiry, initiated on Sept. 24, is centered on Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, which prompted an anonymous whistleblower to file a complaint, accusing the president of leveraging his office and withholding U.S. aid to the country in order to obtain “dirt” on a political opponent—2020 Democratic candidate Joe Biden.

Trump has repeatedly maintained that his phone call with the Ukrainian president was “perfect” and that he had asked Zelensky for help to investigate the alleged corruption around Biden’s dealings. The transcript, released by the White House, also didn’t show any quid pro quo.

House Democrats issued a subpoena (pdf) to Giuliani on Sept. 30, compelling him to produce documents, including text messages and phone records, relating to alleged efforts by Trump and his administration to pressure Ukraine to investigate Biden. He told The Washington Post on Oct. 8 that he won’t testify or provide documents to the House Intelligence Committee, which is chaired by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), until Schiff is removed and the full House votes to authorize the impeachment inquiry.

Follow Janita on Twitter: @janitakan