Guiliani offered to work for Ukraine’s top prosecutor – reports

Trump’s personal lawyer was also seeking incriminating information on Biden at time

Rudy Giuliani's legal troubles deepened on Wednesday, amid reports that the former New York mayor offered to work for Ukraine's chief prosecutor at the same time as he pressed him to investigate former vice-president Joe Biden.

Mr Giuliani, who is President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, is a person of interest in the impeachment inquiry into Mr Trump's dealings with Ukraine. He travelled to the country several times and has publicly said he was seeking incriminating information relating to Mr Biden, a political rival to Mr Trump.

But according to several media reports on Wednesday, Mr Giuliani offered to work for Ukraine’s former top prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko at the same time as he was pressing him to investigate Mr Biden and his son, who served on the board of a Ukrainian company while his father was vice-president.

The New York Times reported that he also pursued several business interests with Ukrainian government officials, though Mr Giuliani said he never followed through with any of the offers.

Mr Trump's request to Ukrainian president Volodymr Zelenskiy to open investigations into the Bidens during a July 25th phone call sparked the impeachment probe, which began in September.

The inquiry enters a new phase next week when the House judiciary committee will hold its first public hearing. Although the committee has invited the White House to send legal counsel to participate, there has been no confirmation from the Trump administration on whether it will do so.

‘Talk with Rudy’

Witnesses in the impeachment inquiry have testified that Mr Giuliani operated a policy in Ukraine that was at odds with US foreign policy. Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland told lawmakers that Mr Trump told them to "talk with Rudy" when it came to Ukraine.

However, in an interview with former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly this week, Mr Trump appeared to distance himself from Mr Giuliani, saying he did not direct him to go to Ukraine. “No, I didn’t direct him,” Mr Trump said. “But he’s a warrior. Rudy’s a warrior. Rudy went. He possibly saw something.” But he added: “Rudy has other clients, other than me.”

Former US ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testified this month that Mr Giuliani and Mr Lutsenko were part of a concerted campaign to remove her from her position.

There have been reports that federal prosecutors in New York are examining Mr Giuliani's business dealings in Ukraine. Two associates of the one-time presidential candidate – Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who worked with Mr Giuliani to encourage investigations into the Bidens – were arrested on campaign finance charges last month.

Meanwhile, the House intelligence committee, which finished two weeks of public hearings last week, released transcripts of private testimony given by an employee of the Office of Management and Budget.

According to testimony by career official Mark Sandy, two OMB officials resigned over concerns about why almost $400 million in military aid to Ukraine was put on hold by the Trump administration.

Suzanne Lynch

Suzanne Lynch

Suzanne Lynch, a former Irish Times journalist, was Washington correspondent and, before that, Europe correspondent