In Depth

Who is Rudy Giuliani and what is his role in impeaching the president?

Donald Trump’s lawyer has ‘insurance’ in case the president betrays him

Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani says he is confident the president will stay loyal to him but he has “insurance” if he doesn’t.

Giuliani has become a central figure in the impeachment inquiry into the president, and there is speculation that Republicans could try to frame him as a rogue actor.

Asked by The Guardian if he was nervous Trump would “throw him under a bus”, Giuliani said: “I’m not, but I do have very, very good insurance, so if he does, all my hospital bills will be paid.”

Who is Rudy Giuliani?

Giuliani is Trump’s personal lawyer. He works for the president full-time after resigning from his law firm, Greenberg Traurig, to concentrate on Trump’s numerous legal battles.

He started his political journey as a Democrat, before becoming an independent in the 1970s, and eventually a Republican in the 80s.

He served as the Republican mayor of New York City from 1994 to 2001 and was praised for his display of leadership in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the city. The Queen gave him an honorary knighthood in recognition of his role.

Giuliani’s popularity had been dwindling in the city before the attacks, thanks to a police crackdown across the city that had seen a number of unarmed New Yorkers shot dead by police

In April 2000, Giuliani had an approval rating of 32% among New Yorkers, according to a poll by The New York Times/CBS. This rocketed to 79% in October 2001, according to a Quinnipiac University Poll.

What is his role in the White House?

Giuliani was a vocal advocate for the Trump campaign in 2016. He went on to join the president’s legal team in April 2018, amid the year-long investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

But what Giuliani’s role as Trump’s “personal lawyer” actually entails is unclear – as is whether he provides any actual legal services to the president.

“I acted properly as his lawyer,” Giuliani told the Guardian. “I did what a good lawyer is supposed to do. I dug up evidence that helped to show the case against him was false; that there was a great deal of collusion going on someplace else other than Russia. And then I stepped on the number one minefield, which is Joe Biden, who is heavily protected by the Washington press corps.”

What is his role in Trump’s impeachment?

In September 2016, House Democrats launched an official probe into accusations that Trump had coerced Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky by threatening to withhold military aid to the country unless the Ukrainian investigated Trump’s political rival Joe Biden.

During the impeachment process, which is ongoing, Giuliani admitted discussing the matter with Ukrainian officials, but claimed he did so on behalf of the US State Department, not the president.

Diplomats have testified in the run-up to this week’s first public impeachment hearing that Giuliani led the Trump administration’s attempt to coerce the Ukrainians.

He is at “the absolute centre of the Ukraine scandal”, says The Washington Post, even engineering the sacking of the US ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, who will testify to the House today.

Trump told his administration that all of his wishes on Ukraine were to go through Giuliani, who admitted in May: “We’re not meddling in an election, we’re meddling in an investigation, which we have a right to do,” adding: “There’s nothing illegal about it. Somebody could say it’s improper,” The New York Times reported.

Giuliani has yet to be called for questioning, but as the Washington Post says: “There’s no one who needs to answer questions more than Giuliani. So let’s get him in the witness chair.”

For his part, President Trump has denied that he ever sought a quid pro quo deal with Ukraine and has maintained that his phone call with Zelensky was “perfect”.

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