Giuliani storms back into Ukraine investigation with Hunter Biden documentary
WASHINGTON — Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s personal attorney, is reemerging as a central figure behind efforts to continue investigating Democrats’ ties to Ukraine with work on a new documentary about Hunter Biden, three Republican sources familiar with the project told Yahoo News.
Giuliani and his production team, led by veteran California Republican fixer Tim Yale, have been conducting interviews for the documentary, according to two of the people familiar with the effort. They have also approached potential investors in the film, showing them trailers with footage of former Vice President Joe Biden and actors portraying Hunter Biden and Ukrainian officials, according to one of those sources.
Giuliani did not respond to multiple requests for comment. Yale, Giuliani’s partner on the documentary, also didn’t return requests for comment.
Just a few months ago, in the midst of the impeachment proceedings, Giuliani had become politically toxic for Trump, and some Republicans were urging Trump to dump him. But since Trump’s acquittal last week in the Senate, Giuliani is attempting to retake the reins of the Ukraine investigation — conducting interviews and promising to deliver evidence to the Justice Department.
It is unclear what wrongdoing Giuliani hopes to prove. Hunter Biden was a paid board member of Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company with a history of corruption, while his father, Joe, served as vice president and was involved in efforts to pressure Ukraine to fight corruption. Though Hunter Biden, who had no prior experience in the energy sector, has been widely criticized for creating the appearance of a conflict of interest, there has been no evidence that his father took any action to benefit his son.
Giuliani appeared on Fox News over the past weekend, promising documents that would prove accusations of wrongdoing against Hunter Biden. He has also said he is planning to reveal more documents in public when Senate Republicans begin holding public hearings in their investigation of the Bidens, said one person familiar with the effort.
A lawyer representing Hunter Biden did not respond to a request for comment.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, one of the three Republican senators overseeing the broad effort to investigate the Bidens, said Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that Trump’s Justice Department “created a process that Rudy could give information [to them] and they would see if it’s verified.”
Attorney General William Barr said Monday that the Justice Department had an open door for information regarding Ukraine, including any evidence Giuliani provides, but cast doubt on the veracity of all intelligence coming out of Ukraine. “We can’t take anything we receive from the Ukraine at face value,” he told reporters.
It’s unclear how close Giuliani still is with Trump or the White House. Some Republicans have given him broad credit for helping carry Trump to acquittal, but a source close to the administration noted that Giuliani has created more problems for Trump than he’s fixed.
Following his acquittal, Trump thanked dozens of lawmakers in his hourlong victory speech at the White House last Thursday, but he notably left out Giuliani while handing out praise.
A White House aide declined to comment on Giuliani’s activities, saying those questions should be directed to Giuliani.
Pressed by Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo Sunday, Giuliani declined to say precisely if the Trump administration or Trump’s supporters would be launching their own investigation of the Bidens and Ukraine, or whether he supported the ongoing Senate investigation outright.
But the new documentary is the latest, and starkest, example that Giuliani is leading the way on the renewed effort. He also produced a separate program on Ukraine on the pro-Trump network One America News that aired in December. And he’s been touting his podcast, including an interview with the former Ukrainian diplomat who touched off allegations of corruption against Hunter Biden, Andrii Telizhenko.
One of the sources, who watched trailers put together to pitch the film, described it as more of a satirical mockumentary, and less serious than Giuliani and Trump’s previous effort to get Ukraine to investigate the Bidens.
Giuliani’s earlier bid to investigate the Biden family, which witnesses in the House impeachment probe said was directed by Trump, led to the House charging the president with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Both Trump and Giuliani have repeatedly denied they tried to coerce an investigation of the Bidens — disputing sworn testimony from government witnesses.
Two days after the Republican-led Senate acquitted Trump on both charges, the White House removed one witness, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, and his twin brother from the National Security Council. The president also recalled another witness, Gordon Sondland, who gave some of the most stunning testimony of the impeachment probe, from his post as U.S. ambassador to the European Union.
In the meantime, the Republican pursuit of the Bidens appears to be continuing full speed, even as Joe Biden’s presidential prospects are dimming after a fourth-place finish in the Iowa caucuses. Yahoo News reported last week that agencies including the Treasury Department were rapidly turning over documents to Senate Republicans investigating Hunter Biden.
Similarly, Giuliani’s efforts to investigate the Bidens appear to be moving forward. He approached potential investors for the new documentary last month, offering a trip to Ukraine with him and his production team, according to one of the sources familiar with the project. Giuliani jettisoned his old team, including operatives Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, months ago, after they were indicted for funneling foreign money to Republicans.
Giuliani already has some competition, however. Former Trump campaign adviser Michael Caputo is out with a documentary called “The Ukraine Hoax,” which repeats many of the same allegations leveled at Hunter Biden for his work with Burisma.
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