Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Transcript: NPR's Full Interview With Trump Lawyer Rudy Giuliani

Rudy Giuliani addresses the crowd at the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit on Dec. 19, 2019 in Palm Beach, Fla.
Saul Martinez
Getty Images
Rudy Giuliani addresses the crowd at the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit on Dec. 19, 2019 in Palm Beach, Fla.

In a wide-ranging interview Tuesday in New York with Morning Edition's Steve Inskeep and NPR Justice Correspondent Ryan Lucas, President Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, talks about investigating Joe Biden, his work in Ukraine and whether Trump's actions regarding Ukraine were appropriate.

Steve Inskeep: It's good to talk with you. I will tell you where we're recording here, obviously. A little bit of this may go out tonight, but the main part will be on tomorrow morning, which is the morning of the expected acquittal of the president.

Rudy Giuliani: Well, I mean, it's going to be quite a 48 hours, right? You've got the State of the Union speech tonight, which is always interesting, a very interesting occasion. And then second, we have historic vote, right? How often does the Senate — this will be the third time the Senate has voted on impeachment, right?

Yeah, it's amazing.

And they acquitted Johnson, they acquitted Clinton. Yeah.

Well, let's talk about what we anticipate will be an acquittal. What message should the country take –

The country should get the message that — two messages. Well, I believe as his lawyer and his friend, the message they should get is, because I'm intimately aware of these, he did nothing wrong. The whole Ukrainian thing is completely mispresented. And the Democrats did do a good job of spinning it to "He's trying to hurt Joe Biden." It has nothing to do with Joe Biden. Believe it or not, it has do with me. I was sitting in my office on November-something, 28th or so, 2018. His name has now been revealed — a former assistant U.S. attorney of mine, former head of the criminal division and the president of a very, very distinguished investigatory firm — Bart Schwartz called me up and told me that he had a source, very reliable one, who was telling him very, very upsetting and very startling things. And because it came from this source, he took it more seriously. But he said he told me that there was Ukrainian interference in the election –

The 2016 election?

The 2016 election. There was Ukrainian interference in the election that will boggle the mind. He said it almost sounds like the Democrats are projecting what they did in Ukraine to Russia and blaming him for it. But there was complete involvement of the Ukrainian government from the president and all — and that Joe Biden played a material role in it. Originally, it was alleged that he helped to launder funds illegally to Hillary Clinton. I found no evidence of that, I should tell you. But then it was said to me that he — I'm not sure if Bart told me this or if he did it, maybe I didn't believe it. Then I met with the source after a week of due diligence, of checking him out and spent a lot of time with the source and with Bart. And the source told me, first of all, he said, I don't know this of my firsthand knowledge, very honest guy, I don't know it firsthand. But I go to Ukraine a lot. I spent a lot of time there. He had a bit of an investigatory background, which I can't — he had a bit of investigatory background, let me just say that. And he said, I've been told by many Ukrainians — and now it's so many I can't ignore it — a lot of things. Some of it I don't think is true, some of it I think is exaggerated, some of it I think is true, he said. But there's definitely evidence, solid evidence of Ukrainian involvement in the 2016 election with Democrats, specifically with Hillary Clinton's campaign. And go back and read the 2017 Politico article and say to yourself, why didn't I follow that?

Oh, that had to do with the Ukrainian involvement. Let me just ask, though, Mayor, about what the president eventually did.

So this starts as an investigation to obtain evidence to help defend President Trump against the false charges of collusion. And then it continues as an investigation to defend him against what immediately followed, impeachment. It has never, ever been a focus on Joe Biden. And it wasn't and I didn't go looking for it. He never went looking for it. It was given to me by Ukrainians who had been trying to give it to the United States for a year and been turned away by the FBI and by the Department of Justice and by the embassy in Ukraine.

Granting what you've said, Mayor, the president ultimately did make this phone call. And we spoke the other day on the program with Lamar Alexander, Republican senator from Tennessee, who's voting for acquittal. But says what the president did was inappropriate, that he did ask for Biden to be investigated and hopefully he won't do that again. Is Lamar Alexander right?

No, Lamar is wrong. And Lamar is a good friend of mine and he's a fine man. Except he doesn't know all the facts. He only knows half the facts. A lot of them distorted.

Meaning it was OK for the president to ask Joe Biden be investigated?

Right. Biden committed a very serious crime in Ukraine. At least there is overwhelming evidence of it.

You're referring to Biden's effort as vice president to have a prosecutor suspected of corruption –

Oh, more than that. Biden was, first of all, bribed by [Burisma owner Mykola] Zlochevsky to do that. Zlochevsky is the multi-billionaire, organized criminal who employed his son for five years and gave his son somewhere between $5 and $8 million. Some of it in laundered payments. Zlochevsky made a deal with Biden so that Biden would protect his company. And when —

Do you mean Hunter Biden on the board of Burisma?

He put Hunter Biden on the board to pay off the bribe. He made a deal with Biden --

When you say bribe, you mean Hunter Biden was –

No, no, I'm talking about Zlochevsky bribed Vice President Joseph Biden —

Handed him money?

Promised him money for Hunter. He said to him through intermediaries: We will put Hunter Biden on the board. We need your protection. I need your protection because the government's going to come after me. That was the deal. Direct and indirect. The deal was: should [Petro] Poroshenko come after Burisma — that's the president of Ukraine — and take it away from me or try to take it away from me, and should they try to seize my $5 billion that I stole, he didn't go into that kind of detail — the deal was to put Hunter on the board, we're going to pay him a huge amount. Devon Archer, his partner. When I need you to protect me, then you've got to protect me. And it was done through intermediaries.

Why on earth would Joe Biden, who was busy being vice president at the time, involve himself with any of that?

I have no idea why did it. I have no idea why he did it. Or he may have not talked directly to Zlochevsky. And that was Zlochevsky's motive. And that's why the money came to him. The important thing is when push came to shove in February of 2016, which is a month that should be studied in great detail because it's the key month, the prosecutor who they said was dormant, corrupt, wasn't investing any case — arrested Burisma. So to say the case was inactive is not only a lie, it's proven as a lie from the record. So [Ukraine's top prosecutor, Viktor] Shokin issued a warrant of arrest for the company Burisma that substantially interfered with his business. Should Zlochevsky come back to Ukraine he'd be arrested immediately. And the business was effectively shut down. It is not a coincidence that in that month, Joe Biden called Poroshenko four times. Never called him four times before. And it's in that month that he got Shokin fired. The deal was: protect my company, protect me, protect your son. When push comes to shove if you have to. The push came to shove in February of 2016. On February 2, 2016, the prosecutor — who was said to be "doing nothing, the case was dormant, the charges have been debunked" — the prosecutor issued an arrest warrant based on substantial facts that Burisma had been laundering billions and billions of dollars. Some of it to Hunter Biden. There is a record from Latvia to Ukraine that settles the whole matter. It says: we have evidence, substantial evidence, and one of the subjects of our investigation, Hunter Biden, for $14.8 million money laundering scheme that went from Ukraine to Latvia, Latvia to Cyprus, somehow Belize was involved. And then it went into Hunter Biden's account. And the only way we got the records of Hunter Biden's account is because his partner, Devon Archer, the other guy being paid off, was convicted of insider trading.

I will ask after this later — you're saying you have records of payments to Hunter Biden?

I put them on the air.

Other than his normal payment as a member of the board.

[Laughter] It's a been out there for eight months and nobody looks at it. And if you go to and go on my Episode 3, you can see a copy of the official notice from the Latvian government dated February 18, 2016 — no, I'm sorry, yeah 2016.

That's fine. We'll check it out.

In fact, not only that, I'll show it to you before you leave.

Yeah, we'll have a look, absolutely.

It's what I call — if I were prosecuting the case, it gets as close to a smoking gun as you can have. In other words, right in the period of time that Joe gets the prosecutor fired, the prosecutor finds out that the son was involved in a $14.8 million money laundering scheme for which he's going to be investigated.

If it was appropriate for the president to ask Ukraine's president to investigate Joe Biden, should he resume that after his acquittal?

Is it appropriate for a president of the United States, any president — let's take President Trump out because he's treated so unfairly –

Lamar Alexander said this was an inappropriate thing to do. [crosstalk] You said Lamar is wrong. So does that mean the president's actions --

But I understand why Lamar was wrong, he doesn't understand the facts. Nobody has --

I'm asking you if the president should go back to that. Should he do it again if it was inappropriate?

Biden should be investigated, absolutely, 100%. [crosstalk] For the crime of multiple bribery.And the president of the United States should be involved in that? Would you encourage him to go back?

He's the chief law enforcement officer of the United States. He certainly shouldn't back away from it.

Have you been talking to him about that?

I haven't talked to him about it, about this case in quite a while, but I would have no problem with him doing it. In fact, I'd have a problem with him not doing it. I think he would be saying that Joe Biden can get away with selling out the United States, making us a fool in the Ukraine. Do you know from the moment that it was found out that Hunter Biden had that job, every time Joe Biden went there, the people of Ukraine laughed at him? Joe Biden would stand up in that stupid way in which he talks, he would say, oh, we should end the corruption in Ukraine. People in Ukraine would say, OK, let's start with you, Joe. How about you get your kid off that no-show job? Now, everybody knew it because in December — December 8th, 2015 — James Risen, who now wishes he didn't write this, wrote an article for The New York Times blasting the conflict, basically saying, how could Joe Biden, who's giving billions out to this country that's bankrupt, how could he put his son into a phony job with the most crooked guy in Ukraine? And he said he was getting a reasonable amount of money. Risen was misled, he didn't even know the amount of money that — he had no idea he was making a million dollars a year and his company was making $2 million. He had no idea. He had no idea that some of that money was laundered.

Do you view the Senate acquittal, assuming that goes ahead as expected, as a vindication?

Absolutely. It's a total vindication. Some of the senators know why they're doing it. Some of the senators are doing it because the president is completely innocent. He did exactly the right thing, exactly what an American president should do. And that is if a former vice president, United States has corrupted the United States, has corrupted another country, he shouldn't get away with it just because he's a former vice president –

Some of the senators are saying this is certainly is not impeachable, but he should not have done that.

Some don't know all the facts. When they know all the facts, they are going to be even — is prouder a word? They're going to be even prouder of their vote.

There are obviously some loose ends here. There are federal court proceedings. Lev Parnas was in court just this week. What do you think about when you read news stories and Parnas is described as an associate of yours?

Well, first of all, I never have trouble with the truth. That's true, he was. I'll go further, he was a friend of mine. And I loved his family and probably him. I made a mistake. I made a mistake of judgment in Lev. I didn't know — I was warned by some people, but I felt about him like he was telling me the truth. He was so enthusiastic about wanting to help. He was so enthusiastic about the president and about the good things the president is doing. He was so enthusiastic about this, that the only hope for Ukraine to straighten itself out is if we get to the bottom of this. And his partner, Igor Fruman, I also love and care about, and Igor, of course, is saying the total opposite, but nobody's paying attention to it over what Lev Parnas is saying. Almost everything Lev Parnas has said, his partner, Igor Fruman has contradicted. Because Lev is making up, in many cases, stories that are so palpably untrue that he's hurting himself.

Is it accurate when Parnas says, as he has, that he was not just a client of yours, he was working for you to gather information and was also working for the president?

He was not working for the president. I mean, I asked him for help, like on a friends basis. He was my client. That's how it began. He, Igor and several other people at a company — and they were developing a fraud detection program [crosstalk] — Fraud Guarantee. Yeah, actually, I always thought it was a bad name. And ultimately when they developed it, I recommended them changing the name. But I worked, I did work for them in helping to develop that company, largely because the underlying software they were using is one that I'm very familiar with for 10 years. And know probably as well as anybody knows it in the country. That started the relationship. Then it came about that we both were very, all three of us were very enthusiastic Republicans. We genuinely believe, whether people agree or not, the president is doing a miraculous job, haven't seen a president do this much since Ronald Reagan, and I think he's ahead of Ronald Reagan. But in any — and I'm delighted because I supported him when a lot of people didn't. And he's been a friend for 29 years. And think he's going to be one of the great presidents. And they were sympathetic with the idea that he was being treated very unfairly —

And he says that when he talked to you, sometimes the president would be on the phone, that he would hear the president on the phone.

He never spoke to the president at all, but one time —

He would hear you talking to the president?

He would have heard me begin a conversation and then walk away.

That's exactly what's he describes.

Here's what would happen. I would know it's the White House. " 'The president would like to speak to you.' OK, thank you." And I'd go in that room in there.

That did not mean he was working directly for the president, is what you're saying?

Well, he wasn't working directly for the president, he was working for me --

You were working in your capacity for the president –

All right. So, you can — you can — I don't know what that means. You tell me what the conclusion is. I had to find people in Ukraine. I couldn't use the FBI because the witnesses had been trying the FBI for a year, and right or wrong, the witnesses — that amount to about, now, 12 people — were convinced the FBI was corrupt because they were convinced that the FBI agent in the Kiev embassy was corrupt. And they had tried to go to the FBI and you'll see on my interviews that one of them says he went to an FBI agent, he names a specific FBI agent, and the FBI agent basically said, you know, don't bother. Nobody is interested in this. They attempted to go to the Justice Department and talk with a lawyer that laid out Biden's criminality and the collusion, criminality. And they were turned away. Again, the impression they got was all they were interested in was getting Trump.

So they came to me, right or wrong, I was their last resort. They came to me. They gave me all this evidence. I didn't go looking for it, I didn't know about it. And I needed someone in Ukraine to help me find people. If I went to Ukraine by myself, I mean –

You'd be lost, sure.

I'm well known in Ukraine. I'd have 500 reporters following me around. I couldn't do any investigation. So I sent them specifically to find prosecutor general Viktor Shokin, former prosecutor general Viktor Shokin, who I always have considered the chief witness, and to find the present prosecutor general then, the prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko. And also two other witnesses, the assistant to Shokin, a gentleman named Konstantin Kulik and the head of the special prosecutor's office, a man named Nazar Kholodnysky. Very hard names to pronounce. But once you get used to it it's a little easier. And over a course of about a month, they found two of them for me. And they went to Ukraine on their own. They found them. They called me up. I talked to either their relatives or friends on the phone. Mr. Prosecutor-General Lutsenko would have no trouble coming here because he was a government official and he said he was coming to visit his son anyway in late January and he'd visit with me. And Shokin wanted to come. Shokin went to apply for a visa. He was turned down. I tried to help him with a visa. I was told, you can't get involved with a visa. Then I was told by other sources from Ukraine that it's well-known that Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch has over the last year been turning down visas for anyone who has information about what happened during the 2016 collusion because her embassy was involved in it. That proved to be true. There are now five witnesses ready, willing and able to go under oath and testify to that. And they're still being denied visas by Ambassador Taylor, who you saw very piously on the stand testifying. He's denying visas to people who have material evidence of Democrat corruption.

He's been removed, I think, for that position. There's someone else in charge of affairs in Ukraine. But I want to get to the bottom line here.

Well, he was also doing it.

You have framed your interest in former Vice President Biden as looking into to that 2016 and past corruption. However, you were on Fox the other day and you said, quote, I started investigating Biden two years ago when he was thinking about running for president.


Aren't you saying there, on video, that this was about the 2020 election?

No, just the opposite, I was pointing out that –

But he thinking about running for president.

OK. So you don't investigate somebody cause they're thinking about running for president?

Did you say that? I said it's about 2020.

No. You have turned around the total meaning of what I meant by that.

Please explain, go ahead.

What I meant — then I went on to explain that what that means is that I would not have thought of it and connected it to the presidency. He was only thinking about it. He wasn't running. I'm not going to feel prohibited from investigating someone who's thinking about running for president two years later. And I don't know if I went on to say what I usually say, which is I didn't think he'd run for the presidency because it looked to me like he couldn't cross a street without stumbling. I mean, the guy looks like he was over the hill. The guy was over the hill. And I said to myself, if he runs for president, he's an old fool. He's not capable of it. And I also said to myself, this I did not express, I said to myself, because I knew what Donald Trump's schedule did to Hillary Clinton. In fact, I predicted her collapse on September 11 of 2016. Do you know that? I predicted it for a week. I said if she goes to that ceremony --

Oh, you don't mean her electoral collapse. You mean her physical collapse because she had pneumonia.

I mean when she fell down going into the car. I had an instinct it was gonna happen because I'd seen her at those events at other times, they're very grueling. You stand up for a long time and it tends to be humid. Anybody could get a little — and I knew she was weak, and I said, I bet she's gonna collapse. And she did. Biden will not be able to keep up with the pace that this man keeps. I mean, he's — I don't sleep much, and he doesn't sleep much, and man, he campaigns like a whirling dervish.

Can you help me understand the connection between your investigations and the phone call that the president ultimately made. Did he ask the president of Ukraine for help with Biden because of you? Or was he directing you, the president of the United States?

The president — well, the president always makes the decisions based on the information that he gets. We had been talking about — when I first learned about it, I didn't tell the president right away because it was hearsay. And in fact, when I first heard about Biden, I didn't believe it. My first expression was, I don't know if I said bull, but I said, can't be. I've known Joe for a long time.

Thank you for cleaning that up.

I know Joe for a long time. I kind of like him. His niece worked for me for six years. I think he's kind of dopey. Always have. But not a bad guy. He was a guy you could work with. I mean, I helped pass a crime bill, that he walked away from now, with him and with Chuck Schumer.

In the '90s, yeah.

And I have a letter from Bill Clinton saying I was one of the most instrumental in getting it passed. The other two people would have been Chuck Schumer and him. But then when I saw the Council on Foreign Relations interview, and I saw what he said, I said, Oh my God. He committed bribery and he's admitting it. And he's even worse because he doesn't mention that his son is involved. And he has to have known his son was involved. So now he's added, he offered a thing of value, $1 billion loan guarantee, to affect the official action of the president of the Ukraine firing the prosecutor. There's only one other thing you need now. You need to prove corruption. The corrupt intent is to get his son off the hook if his son is under investigation.

But then my question is, are you the one who brought this to the president's attention?

Absolutely. Sure.

Did he make that phone call because of you?

By that time, he had acquired information about Ukrainian corruption way beyond what I knew. So I would say that was a — I don't know. You'd have to ask to president the operation of his mind. All I can tell you is that by that time, he was much more educated on Ukrainian corruption.

And at that point, was he directing you? Saying, Rudy, I want you to go find more. I need more information.

No. He wasn't directing me. I mean, I pretty much was acting on my own instincts, my investigatory instincts, which go back a few years. I mean, I was pretty good at it. I would investigate, and if it proved important enough, I'd come to him. If not, you know, I'd just have it in my files as something to be followed up later. But by the time you get to that telephone call, the president of the United States had been briefed by many, many sources on Ukraine. And he had an overall view of Ukraine that was superior to mine, because when I had arranged to go see President-elect Zelenskiy, I spoke to some of the people who advised him — actually I looked at notes that were provided to me and they had a lot more information about Ukraine than I did. And the reason I didn't go is because they had leaked my visit to the press. He was gonna have two people there who, if you look in our files, are very seriously corrupted people.

This is May of 2019?

Yeah. And it was our conclusion that they were trying to set me up. He was involved with one man — he was involved with one man who was the lawyer and one of the chief associates of someone who basically stole the biggest bank in Ukraine. Walked out with $7 billion. And the fear was that he was around Zelenskiy to protect that guy. And then he had another man with him who worked closely with George Soros, whose organization AntAC was substantially involved in obtaining a lot of the illegal information to hurt Trump, Manafort, Trump Junior in the campaign.

Do you feel that you know Ukraine well?

Better than most and not as well as some.

How many times have you been there?

In my life?


The first time I went there was 2003.

You were involved in — your company was involved in security for a city –

I was invited. Actually, it was a speaking engagement for the Washington Speakers Bureau. I was invited there to speak to all the former prime ministers of Ukraine. It was a very, it was a gathering. And then I was invited to tour the country and to do meetings with local officials, to talk, to give them my experience in how to govern. It was more about local government, about mayors, about how to run cities, which usually I talk about more than president since I never obtained that office. But in this case, I got to speak to all the prime ministers. I became very friendly with a few people. Became very friendly with Viktor Yushchenko, who was the first person who won after the revolution and was the hope of Ukraine and a man who was almost killed by Putin. He was poisoned and almost killed. Tragedy. And I think, you know, you can't — I think had Viktor been healthy, he would have turned the country around. And then I was — I became very friendly with Vitali Klitschko through John McCain. John was a good friend of his. A lot of the information I originally got about Ukraine I got from John because John was a very big expert on Ukraine. We hadn't run against each other yet, although we remained close friends even after I ran against him. John briefed me — I remember a particular dinner I had with John late on a Friday afternoon. We spent two hours going over Ukraine and it was a weekend and I said, John, what are you doing for the weekend? He said, I'm going to Iraq. I said you really are a character--

Typical weekend trip for John McCain.

-- you're going to Iraq for the weekend.

This is where I'm going with this. As you know very well, your critics have said Mayor Giuliani has been misled. He doesn't really know the country. He may not really know the backgrounds of the people who were giving him information, doesn't know his sources very well. How do you respond to that?

Probably exaggerated that I don't know the country well. I think I know the country well. I've been there a lot. Could I have been, could I be misled by sources? Of course I could. Anybody can. And then you've got to correct it. I mean, I try when I get a source I try to corroborate them. I don't just take a source at his word. So even this source that came to me and said that Biden was bribed, that they were collecting dirty information on Trump. That the black book was a close to a forgery, that it wasn't done really to prosecute Manafort, it was really done to have a big event to try to knock Trump out of the election. It was all orchestrated for that.

This is the black ledger — [crosstalk]

Black ledger, which purports to be a group of bribes of which Manafort is supposed to have signed for it. And then there was a big press conference held to try to blow it up. And the witnesses who I have say that this was an orchestrated effort to get him to drop out, to show how corrupt his campaign manager was. And they were quite certain they were gonna get him. One operative of the DNC told one of my witnesses the plan in May. It played itself out. And then Mr. Lutsenko, who did it, says this will destroy him. This will get him off the ticket. That was the whole purpose of that. And I think the best evidence of that is the FBI never used it in the Manafort trial. So the FBI knows that it's a stinko document.

Do you still have people looking for information for you?

I won't answer that. I'll never tell you what I'm doing, investigating, but I –

Let me frame it a different way –

Let's put it this way –

Are you still investigating?

Am I still investigating? Yes, I'm still investigating.

Are you still seeking more information?

I get more information. A lot of it comes to me.

Are you doing that on the authority of the president?

Uh. He hasn't told me not to do it. He hasn't told me not to do it. And the fact is a lot of it has to do with the collusion. I've developed more — I've found out more things than I knew then. I mean I found — I've had a very, very long conversation with a person who's been investigating this case for five years. I've had a very intimate conversation with someone who is completely familiar with the prosecutorial file, has read it all, made notes of it — yeah, I've gathered more information all throughout this period. And sometimes I just get people to call me up and say, you want to talk to this person, you want to talk to that person? Most of them I don't talk to. Sometimes I hit — I get gold.

This is a key point then, I think, because it would be possible to say this acquittal vote ends the entire episode. This is over. We're done. You're saying no. On my side. I'm going on. I want to find more information about Joe Biden.

I believe that it would be one of the great corrupt events in American history if this case is not investigated, about crime at the highest levels of two governments. Where our government was a part of what we decry in Ukraine. Corruption. And we made millions from it. And I think it would be a real crime not to investigate the Biden family that's been involved in corruption for over 20 years. The same situation that happened in Ukraine, happened in Iraq. The same situation that happened in Ukraine and Iraq happened in China. Every place Joe Biden was point man, the Biden family made millions. There's something very wrong with that. And there's something very wrong with someone getting away with it, because they can sell to a very biased press that this is being done to persecute them because they're running for president. If you have sold your office over two decades, just because you're running for president of the United States doesn't mean you shouldn't be treated like you and me. He did it in Iraq. He did it in Ukraine. He did it in China. In China he took his son with him. He failed in his mission for the United States to back China off from the islands that were being contested by Japan. All over the newspaper that he was a failure. And the son was a great success. The son got China, have the Bank of China become a partner with him and a $1.5 billion fund. And the partners were Hunter Biden, Devon Archer, Chris Heinz, the son of the secretary of state. The Bank of China, the son of the vice president and the son of the secretary of state, when we are having contentious discussions with China, our partners with the government-owned Bank of China — can you imagine if Donald Trump Jr. was a partner with the Bank of China, how angry he would be at me? And rather than putting me on the defensive, what you would say: It was pretty brilliant for you to discover that. Well, I didn't discover that. Peter Schweizer discovered it. And I'm gonna tell you who the third partner is, which makes it even more incredible that the press covers this up. The third partner was Whitey Bulger's nephew. One of the major organized criminals in the United States. So the Bidens don't just deal with organized criminals in Russia like Zlochevsky, who gave them $5 to $8 million and maybe more, they deal with organized criminals in the United States.

If I might — it's been clear from some of your public statements that you've found it upsetting that people have portrayed you as a villain or a negative force or someone who has even harmed the president. I know you want to vindicate the president. Do you also continue this because you would like to vindicate yourself?

Nope. I continue it because this is the way I've always been. I was told.

You've said you should be the hero of this.

I should be. I'm the real whistleblower who doesn't want a mask over his face, doesn't want to hide, is not afraid to tell you who I am.

Is that what you're trying to prove by going on with this?

I'm doing what I did when I investigated the Teamsters and was told you'll never get the Teamsters. In fact, they'll kill you before you get them. Well, I got them, I got them. I did a RICO case against them. I had the whole board removed. They had a monitor for 15 years. It's a different Teamsters Union today. I was threatened when that was done, 138 members of the Senate wanted Ronald Reagan to fire me for doing it. Members of the House, I'm sorry, wanted Ronald Reagan to fire me. The only person who defended me of the Republican candidates for president in 1988 was George Bush, for which I always admired him.

Even my Republican colleagues wanted me fired for going after the Teamsters Union. Can you imagine it? When I went after the mafia, God, I was only in office four weeks to put out a contract for $800,000 to kill me. Didn't stop me from doing it. At the end of my time of U.S. attorney, another mafia figure put out a $400,000 contract to kill me. I've had four fatwas declared against me. I've had the FARC in Colombia threaten several times to cut my throat if I came there. And then I've had some recent threats because of this.

I don't doubt any of that.

So I do it because, and I know, look, it's self-serving as hell, but it's true. I have a great sense of justice.

And I started this and I continue it — to defend him, to totally vindicate him — but also I am a citizen and I am a lawyer and I have a skill and what I see is major crime covered up by the media that's in love with Joe Biden. Right in front of their faces in Washington, D.C., Joe Biden has been carrying on a criminal enterprise that's so obvious that you have to be a fool not to see it. You can just take five newspaper articles and they follow all the same pattern. One of Joe Biden's relatives gets involved and makes millions of dollars and all of a sudden you find out that Joe has a connection to it. Either it's a bank. And Joe Biden is the only Democrat who's fighting for making bankruptcy harder. All the Democrats want to make it easier, but his son has no-show job for a big bank, so he's doing that. Then he goes to Iraq.

It's not because he's Delaware where all the banks are headquartered, I guess, or many banks

Yeah. But then don't have the son get the no show job. How about the conflict there? OK, well, you can say conflict to a point. When you get up, the six of these it becomes bribery. Then you got they got the brother in Iraq. He becomes point man for Iraq in 2011. All of a sudden, within a few weeks, James Biden out of nowhere is made a partner in a $1.5 billion housing program in Iraq and comes out of that with millions of dollars. So he monetizes Joe's office and pulls out millions of dollars. Now we come to Ukraine. They monetize his office in Ukraine. Look, whatever you think, you know Zlochevsky didn't hire Hunter Biden because he's Hunter Biden. He hired him to get the vice president. Now, the question is to do what? So it's a sale. It's a sale of the vice president's office. The thing of value that got them to $5-$8 million was the office of vice president. They sold it. This is now the third time I can show it. And then we go to China, and if you imagine the shrewd, tough Chinese going into a $1.5 billion deal with a kid who has a serious drug problem. The one equity fund he ran it almost went bankrupt and somebody was accused of a Ponzi scheme. Can you imagine the Bank of China putting money on that, or putting money into a fund that has on it the nephew of one of the most well-known organized criminals in America, Whitey Bulger's nephew? They did that because they wanted money in that fund, or did they do that to buy Joe Biden? And that's classically known as sale of office. Now, when you do that as often as they do it, then your defenses like Joe's defenses, "I didn't know about my son's business." Hey, Joe, you traveled to China with him on Air Force 2. You were there for eight days. He was there for eight days. You failed. He won. You couldn't back off China like you fail all the time. And he comes back with an investment in a $1 billion to $1.5 billion fund. You mean you guys didn't talk about it or you didn't notice that over the years your brother James, who also was in a lot of screwed up businesses, all of a sudden became a millionaire? And you didn't notice that your son, Hunter, although he's been in rehabilitation four or five times, has become a millionaire. You didn't notice that, Joe? And after they say to you, I don't know my son's business, and your son's business is so stinky and so involved in following you around where you have offices to sell. At some point, Joe, don't you have to ask him? And what about Obama? This was put right in Obama's face in 2015 by The New York Times article. Nobody's asked Obama: when you found out that your vice president, who was given our billions in Ukraine, had his son getting millions from a corrupt Ukrainian, what did you do about it, Mr. Ethical? What did you do about it? Did you talk to him? Did you ask him? Did you stop him? You know, Obama, you could've stopped this.

I want to ask one other question about—

Democrats are never asked this question. And you can't possibly say to me that if you change these names to President Trump and Donald Trump Jr., we wouldn't have had 100 New York Times articles, 200 Washington Post articles, 100 reporters assigned to it and we'd have a special prosecutor by now.

I don't know about the counterfactual, but we have reported on Hunter Biden. I want to ask a question about —

To no avail in terms of the big newspapers really picking it up like they did Trump. I mean, Trump walks across the street wrong and we have an impeachable offense.

I want to ask one other question along the lines of your sense of justice or vindication or whatever is right. I spoke some time ago with Jeffrey Harris, former federal prosecutor, who I believe was a close friend of yours for a long time.

He was. He was an associate of mine. He was my chief of staff when I was associate attorney general to Ronald Reagan.

And he spoke very highly of you. He said that as a federal prosecutor, before you became U.S. attorney, if there were 100 people in the office, you were one of the very best in the courtroom. He is critical of you now says that if he had a chance to talk with you now, he'd ask why you're doing this. He would say, what's going to be the first paragraph of your obituary that you've taken an excellent career and made yourself a joke.

Jeffrey is wrong. Jeffrey, I haven't seen Jeffrey in 20 years. Jeffrey has no idea of the facts that I have. It's always a good idea to know the facts before you comment. He has no idea the witnesses I have. He has no idea that I have smoking guns like this absolutely unassailable money laundering transaction. He has no idea that I may even have tape recordings.

Wait a minute. You may even have tape recordings? You cannot leave that dangling. Either you do or you don't, sir.

Well, I haven't gotten them yet. They've been offered to me. I haven't seen them. They may turn out to be good, they may turn out to be not good.

Tape recordings of what?

Tape recordings of relevant conversations.


Again, I have found out in this investigation, so I think I've been pretty objective about it. You never are completely when you're investigating, but I've turned down a lot of evidence. I've proven some things not to be true, or I believe not to be true. I don't think the idea that, you know, there was this whole idea that the Ukrainians did the hacking, not the Russians. I think I can pretty much disprove that.

Meaning the Russians did it, not the Ukrainians.

Well, other people can prove the Russians did it. I can't prove that.

But the Ukrainians didn't do it.

But I can I can show that, yes there are --

I think what you're telling me is you're trying to be fair.

Yeah, I always try to be fair. If I went there and the witnesses said to me "this is all bull, Joe Biden didn't know anything. He wasn't involved. He's only involved a little bit. The stuff about collusion, they're making it up. We don't have any evidence of it," I would have either not pursued it or I have pursued it and locked it up and tied it up and said, "OK, we can't go that way." I've gone down about four avenues to try to defend the president that turned out not to be true. I don't think people understand this, and Jeff may not understand this because Jeff's always been more of a prosecutor: when you defend somebody in what is akin to a criminal action, it's not just a courtroom, where I think I'm great. The real key to it is investigating. It's my job to do a counter investigation. The best thing I can do is prove that my client's innocent. So if, let's take a bank robbery, I'm representing somebody for a bank robbery. He tells me he was in Los Angeles and can prove it. I'm going to go out to Los Angeles. I'm gonna find a people who can prove it. So that's a simple case. Here, I'm in the middle of answering [Special Counsel Robert] Mueller's questions about collusions with Russia.

You want to prove somebody else robbed the bank.

And I know he didn't do it. And people come to me and they oversold it. They oversold it as almost as if the Ukrainians are going to have done the collusion, substituted for the Russian collusion. You can't. But they didn't oversell it in terms of, there was a substantial amount of illegal activity that involves Hillary Clinton, the Democratic National Committee, members of it, the ambassador, the embassy in collecting specifically dirt, described as dirt, from Ukrainians. And the irony of that is they're investigating Trump for dealing with Russia to get dirt, which proved not to be so. And they did exactly that in Ukraine, and now I think it's almost proven beyond a doubt that they did that. Question is, how much of it did they do?

We've sort of been talking about your podcast all along since this is the subject of your podcast. But, and I've taken too much your time. But I want to ask direct--

No, I-I-I appreciate the opportunity to explain it in more than soundbites.

Thank you.

I understand something about this. The Democrats have the advantage of very, very short little soundbites. "It's been debunked. There's no evidence. Giuliani is just doing this for political purposes." You can easily believe that if you wanted to. My explanation is much more complicated. It's a series of intertwined crimes, a series of intertwined crimes with very strange names you've got to follow. It takes a 5-to 10-minute presentation to even get up to speed on it. That's why I decided to do the podcast. I decided to do the podcast because when they are done, I can put them together in a package that'll be about two to three hours long and anybody can listen to them. And it's almost as if I presented an entire case to a jury. And I try to make it a little — I try to simplify it, but I'm doing it not just for now, I'm doing it for historical purposes.

How many episodes will there be then?

I'm bad at predicting. I thought I could do one in one episode. I had to do it in two.

Three of them are out.

Three of them out, two are done. Two more are done. So we have five. And I would say we're through the hardest part of the case, or what I would consider the hardest to explain. You usually do that first in a trial. We could conceivably do it in two more. I think three more is more like it.

Has anyone financed the work that you've done over the last couple of years?

No. My podcast, my podcast I have sponsors.

OK. I saw a Cigar Aficionado commercial.

But my podcast is gonna go away beyond – Cigar Aficionado, and I have a few others lined up as it expands.

But the actual work in Ukraine?

No, no one financed it. I did it myself. No one paid for my trips. No one paid for my lodging. By that, I mean, first of all, I didn't charge the president for a very special reason. I didn't want people to think that I was doing this for the huge amounts of money that lawyers make when they represent people. And I couldn't do it, he's a friend of mine. And number three, I felt from the very beginning he's being framed. Some of the trips would be paid for, but they'd be paid for more in the context of I was going for two other clients to do something. I do have other businesses. So for example, when I went to Spain to meet with [Ukrainian official] Mr. [Andriy] Yermak, I was going there for a different client and I took a day off.

And did this other thing.

And did that so that that trip would have been paid by a client. In some cases, trips are paid for by two or three. I'm giving a speech and they're paying for the trip. I'm giving advice to a client and I'm taking a day off to play golf. So commonly what I would do is split that in third, third and third. I'll pay a third. They pay a third. So. But if you're saying that I charge anybody for the Trump investigation. No, there's a finance complaint against me claiming it was paid for by the Republican National Committee. Haven't gotten a penny from Republican National Committee. Not a penny.

And you still haven't heard from federal prosecutors about any of that?

I haven't heard a word about it.

Nobody's delivered a subpoena?

Nobody's delivered a subpoena.

Nobody has come by to ask you questions?

No one has asked for my records. I have offered through my lawyers to sit down with them anytime they want. If they've got a specific situation that they want to ask me about, I'm more than happy to show them that I'm innocent. Everything I've seen in the newspapers, I can prove definitively I didn't do.

I have a hundred more questions. I've taken too much of your time. Ryan, do you have anything you want to throw in before we let this man go?

NPR Justice Correspondent Ryan Lucas: I do. I do have a couple. You say that people like Shokin had their visas denied, other folks from Ukraine had their visas denied, you say that the evidence is overwhelming that Biden was engaged in corruption in Ukraine. Attorney General Barr is someone who you know. You're friends with the president, you're the president's personal attorney. Have you delivered the report that you said you were going to to the Justice Department. And if there is so much evidence, why hasn't the DOJ opened an investigation into Biden's alleged corruption?

I can't answer that. It would be privileged material. I can't tell you if I did or didn't do something with the Justice Department. Justice Department not be happy if I answer that question.

To your knowledge, has the Justice Department opened an investigation into allegations of corruption into Joe Biden?

I can't answer that. You have to ask them that.

Have you delivered the report to the Justice Department? You spoke publicly —

I did do that, I did do that, but I don't think I'm at liberty to answer that question right now. Maybe I will be later.

Let's see, I have one more.

No, those are legitimate questions. I just I just can't answer them. I don't mean I can't answer them --

So last question, I suppose, actually two more. John Durham. You've been in touch with John Durham at all? Has he reached out to you?

I have not been in touch with [U.S. Attorney] John Durham. And this is on purpose. I haven't spoken to Bill Barr about this investigation in any respect, ever. I decided that any conversation between Bill and me would be – same thing with [former Acting Attorney General] Matt Whitaker-- any conversation like that would be completely misconstrued. No matter what we talked about, they would turn it around into some kind of an attempt by me to influence them or give them trouble they don't need. Anything I have, I can just promise it's big. It's got a lot of people. And if I have to deliver information, I'm not saying I have, but if I have to deliver information, I'll find a way to do it so it comes in a lower level to be reviewed first and then they can decide, is this appropriate for the attorney general or the deputy attorney general. Now that doesn't mean I haven't dealt with Bill Bar on other things, on other cases, totally unrelated to this. I am a lawyer and I do have other clients, although I have one that's much more prominent than any others. But I have not dealt with him in this case. We have never – we have never said a word about this case to each other because I'd like it to end that way. So that nobody can say that I tried to influence him. Durham, Durham I haven't spoken to about this case either, right. But not, I would talk to Durham about the case if I had information in the area that he's investigating.

Are you concerned that Lev Parnas is going to flip?

Is going to what?


He sounds like he has flipped.

Officially, he has not. They said yesterday outside the courthouse –

You know, I'm not concerned at all. I'm not. I wasn't concerned from the very beginning if he flipped because he doesn't know anything. I know this sounds — you'll find out this is true. I'd do anything wrong. I did what a lawyer is supposed to do for his client. And I am a dogged, 24-hour-day investigator when I get on something. So I may have done it with more enthusiasm and with more intensity, but everything I did I can completely justify. All the allegations in the newspaper I laugh at. I'm not a foreign agent for any government. Never have been. They try to take the work that I do, security work that I do for countries and try to change it into my being a foreign agent. And most of those countries are cities, not countries. They try to take my representation occasionally of a foreigner as I'm a foreign agent. There's an exception in FARA [Foreign Agents Registration Act] for being a defense lawyer. I know the law. I follow it. I respect it. I love it. So I'm not worried about that. I'm not worried about it now at all because he's lied so often. He's made himself a useless witness. I mean, I don't know who's representing him, but you don't – and here's just a little lesson on representing criminal defendants that come from somebody who's been involved in this – I've been practicing law for 50 years. You do not try out for being a government witness by going on television. I've never heard of a government witness that the government took, and the way the government was induced to take him as a witness is he went on television. First of all, government prosecutors get very nervous when they see witnesses who go on television because they say even though they tell me they're going to keep it quiet, they're going to be the guys who leak on me. Number two, he's gotten caught in two or three big lies. Almost irrelevant big lies. This is important. Irrelevant big lies. I'll give you the biggest one. He said that at the Hanukkah party in 2018 the president took us all aside, took us into a room, and basically the president deputized him, told him my mission and deputized him. First of all, the president didn't even know about it then.

Number two, he did meet the president that time. It's only time I saw him meet the president. I introduced him to the president. It was on a greeting line. He and Igor spoke to the president for less than 30 seconds. And then two other people that I was with, I brought up and they spoke to the president. Throughout the entire hour at that Hanukkah party, he was within my sight at all times, and them. We were all together as a group. Every single one of them will testify that no such meeting took place. One of them is Igor Fruman, his partner, who will testify that no such meeting took place. That's one lie, provable. Number two, he's also said that I was a partner in some kind of an oil deal I've never heard of. I wasn't. There is no documentary evidence. And Igor Fruman will testify that that's also a lie.

And number three, he said that he put together Devin Nunez and Prosecutor-General Shokin in November 2018 in Vienna. Number one, I've interviewed Shokin. He says he wasn't in Vienna and he showed me his passport and he hasn't been in Vienna for seven years. Devin Nunez has shown his passport. He was not in Vienna. He was actually on that very day someplace else where he has a tape of it. So that's the third lie. By the time he gets up on the witness stand – before you even get involved in whatever else he did bad in the past, he's lied three times as part of his audition to becoming a witness. That's what Michael Cohen did. And that's why the southern district asked for three years in jail for him. So his lawyer, should be, I don't say disbarred, but his lawyer should be investigated. If I represent somebody and they tell me something, and there are witnesses, I find out "Are they going to contradict my guy? Or are they going to support my guy?" And if they're going to contradict my guy, I don't feature that on television as a way to get a prosecutor to want to make me a witness. So there's something crazy going on here. Somebody is using him. And they destroying him.

Mayor Giuliani, thanks for the time.

You're welcome.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit