Rudy Giuliani almost represented Ukraine, the country, as a client while he searched for dirt there on President Donald Trump’s behalf.
In January and February, at the same time he was looking around for political dirt for Trump in Ukraine, Giuliani was also in talks to represent the country’s Ministry of Justice in its top prosecutor’s attempt to recover assets he considered to be Ukrainian property. Another proposed arrangement had Giuliani representing the prosecutor himself, Yuriy Lutsenko.
In February, Giuliani’s company even sent signed retainer paperwork to the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice, seeking $300,000 for Giuliani’s representation. The Ukrainian justice minister did not sign the document, the New York Times reported.
The proposal was one of several floated between Giuliani and his associates and the Ukrainians at the time, according to the Times and another report in The Washington Post Tuesday.
Other versions had the pro-Trump husband-and-wife legal team Joe diGenova and Victoria Toensing representing the Ukrainian Justice Ministry. One of those, the Times said, described another assignment, as well — helping connect Ukrainians concerned about “interference in the 2016 U.S. elections,” among other things, to American officials.
The lawyer couple helped Giuliani in his dirt digging work and has since represented the Ukrainian oligarch Dmitry Firtash in his extradition battle in Austria.
Giuliani acknowledged to the Times that he considered representing Lutsenko but decided against it.
“I thought that would be too complicated,” Mr. Giuliani said. “I never received a penny.”
Though Giuliani never formally represented Lutsenko, the Ukrainian prosecutor’s claims about Trump’s political rivals — specifically Joe Biden — became fodder for John Solomon, then a conservative writer at The Hill, whose work has been widely cited by Trump allies to justify the pressure campaign to have Ukraine investigate Biden and others.
Ousted U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testified in the House’s impeachment inquiry that Lutsenko, who participated in the Giuliani-led smear campaign against her, had tried to get a meeting with Attorney General Bill Barr and other American officials.
“What he wanted from the U.S. Embassy was for us to set up meetings with the attorney general, with the director of the FBI, etc. And he would say, I have important information for them,” Yovanovitch testified. “As perhaps many of you know, there are, you know, usual processes for that kind of thing.”
“We just don’t do that,” she added, saying that she encouraged Lutsenko to reach out to the FBI directly instead.
A spokesperson for diGenova and Toensing, Mark Corallo, told both papers that the couple has already acknowledged publicly that they agreed to represent Ukrainian “whistleblowers.” One of those potential “whistleblowers,” he admitted, was Lutsenko
Both publications cited a recent interview Lutsenko gave in which he described rejecting advice from Giuliani’s team, who he said told him he would have to hire lobbyists if he wanted to secure a meeting with U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr about Lutsenko’s asset recovery mission.
Lutsenko, in the interview, said he refused to pay for a meeting with Barr.
Tierney Sneed contributed reporting.