Inside Rudy Giuliani’s Attempt To Get Dirt On Joe Biden

Trump lawyer and former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani had a stranger May than most.

He planned a dirt-digging trip to Ukraine, before abruptly cancelling it. He claimed to be pressuring Attorney General Bill Barr to investigate the activities of former Vice President and current Presidential candidate Joe Biden in Ukraine, while he was the Obama Administration’s point man for the country.

It’s not clear how far Giuliani got. But what is known is that Giuliani met with a Ukrainian political consultant named Andrii Telizhenko, a former diplomat at the Ukrainian Embassy in D.C. who eagerly offered counter-narratives to the Trump-Russia probe to the conservative media.

The Washington Post reported that Giuliani and Telizhenko met last month, with little detail about what was discussed.

In a Tuesday phone call, Telizhenko, who is 28, gave TPM more detail about his conversation with Giuliani. Giuliani did not immediately return TPM’s requests for comment.

(Facebook: Andrii Telizhenko)

“I met Biden when he was in Kyiv,” Telizhenko told TPM. “I arranged the meetings for my boss to meet Biden; we negotiated with Biden’s team.”

“We talked with [Biden adviser] Michael Carpenter,” he recalled. (Carpenter declined TPM’s request for comment.)

“So I know the political side of that story and what was going on,” he said. “The business stuff — I heard things, but I was not deeply related.”

Conservatives have sought to deflect from Trump ties to Russia and the sketchy foreign lobbying of imprisoned Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort with tales of corrupt involvement by Democrats in the former Soviet Union. The main narrative involves the former Vice President’s son, Hunter Biden, taking a position on the board of a Ukrainian gas company while Biden was still in office. Republicans have argued that this was some sort of quid-pro-quo involving Biden, and suggested that Biden used his influence to protect his son from Ukrainian criminal investigations into the gas firm.

When pressed about what he told Giuliani about Biden’s business dealings, Telizhenko danced around the subject. He confirmed that Giuliani “asked me about it,” but declined to go further.

For the rest of the conversation, the former diplomat recalled, he pitched Giuliani on getting U.S. backing for Ukrainian reforms.

Those included a proposal to bring more foreign advisers into Ukrainian government bodies, and an initiative Telizhenko is pushing that would “tax corruption” by legalizing lobbying in the Eastern European nation.

He described the pitch he made to Giuliani as “how to get lobbyism in Ukraine and tax corruption — you can’t fight corruption in Ukraine,” adding that efforts to do so have so far failed.

“Why not tax our politicians, have lobbying firms pay politicians, be the middle person on those fees,” he recalled. “I discussed those ideas with him, whether the U.S. would want to support and implement them. To improve our relationship with the United States.”

“I got positive feedback for those ideas,” he added.

Telizhenko first surfaced in the public sphere in January 2017. The former diplomat told Politico that Ukrainian officials tried to work with Democratic National Committee staffers to provide information about potential ties between the Trump campaign, Paul Manafort, and Russia.

Telizhenko’s claims have been denied by former members of the Ukrainian government, as the Washington Post reported.

Within a year of the Politico story, he set up a political consulting firm called Golden Lion Strategies, Inc., attempting to parlay supposed connections with Western and Ukrainian officials.

He appears to have had some luck in that role.

Ukrainian oligarch Pavel Fuks — a onetime potential Trump Tower Moscow partner who once brought Giuliani to Ukraine — hired Telizhenko as a consultant last year.

Telizhenko also spent the first six months of 2017 working with former Ukrainian parliamentarian Andrii Artemenko, who found himself stripped of his citizenship after delivering a supposedly Russian-backed “peace plan” to the desk of then-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn by way of Michael Cohen.

Telizhenko’s social media profiles are full of pictures with Western politicians, like the photo below posted to Facebook during Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)’s visit to Ukraine during the country’s 2014 revolution.

Telizhenko appeared at McCain’s funeral in September 2018.

He also regularly tweets at various conservative figures, demanding they “investigate” Democratic Party activity in Ukraine during the 2016 election.

Telizhenko defended his efforts to TPM.

“When I was Washington, I was heard,” he said. “And that was my main concern.”

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