Nicole Lafond

Nicole Lafond is a news writer for TPM based in New York City. She is also currently earning a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University and previously worked as an education reporter at The News-Gazette in Champaign, Ill. Follow her on Twitter @Nicole_Lafond.

Articles by Nichole

President Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani admitted during an interview with “Fox and Friends” that he was read the transcript of the phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky.

Giuliani seemed to casually admit he knew about the contents of the call — which is not only at the center of Democrats’ new impeachment inquiry, but also a whistleblower complaint that’s ignited a battle between Congress and the White House — and proceeded to ignore the co-hosts’ requests to clarify. Co-host Brian Kilmeade eventually interrupted Giuliani long enough to ask if he’d actually read the transcript.

“Let’s say it was read to me,” Giuliani said.

“The whole thing?” Kilmeade asked.

“I hope so. … If the President hadn’t discussed the subjects he discussed with the president of the Ukraine he would be a president like Obama who closed his eyes to corruption,” he said, before hinting that it may have been the president of Ukraine who started talking about former Vice President Joe Biden before Trump did. 

“Maybe he didn’t bring it up. It could be possible the president of the Ukraine brought it up,” Giuliani said while laughing. “Fox and Friends” co-host Ainsley Earhardt quickly changed the subject to ask what Democrats will likely be upset about in the call.

Giuliani later appeared to allude that he was read the transcript by a “Ukrainian” and that he couldn’t get the information from the U.S. government– “It was classified.” He then parroted a line from President Trump, describing the call as “totally appropriate” and said military aid wasn’t even mentioned in the call.

Here is the truth. He never mentioned $250 million. He never mentioned military aid. He didn’t tell them there was a condition for him getting anything,” Giuliani said. “He didn’t tell him he had to investigate, he didn’t tell him like Biden did, ‘you have to get rid of the prosecutor or you don’t get your $1.2 billion in six hours.’ If you compare the two conversations, you’d say one seems perfectly appropriate and the other seems — and I’m not saying it is because he’s presumed innocent — seems like extortion and bribery much more clear than probably 10 that I prosecuted where I put people in jail for 20 years.” 

Trump said on Tuesday he would release the transcript of the call this week, just hours before Democrats officially announced their launch of an impeachment inquiry, centered on the call and reports that the President withheld nearly $400 million in military aid from Ukraine in order to pressure Ukraine into investigation Biden and his son Hunter Biden. The Washington Post reported Monday evening that just one week before the call with Ukraine, Trump directed the delay of the hundreds of millions of dollars in aid. The President told reporters on Tuesday that he did that because he wanted other countries to contribute to Ukraine’s defense and denied it was part of a pressure campaign to get the new president to probe his political rival.

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President Trump defended directing an aide to withhold nearly $400 million in military funding from Ukraine a week before he had the now-infamous phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, arguing it was a matter of wanting other countries to help fund the country’s defense.

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