Weeks after Ukraine’s prosecutor general shot down Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani’s claims that there was some nefarious plot by former Vice President Joe Biden just waiting to be uncovered in the country, Giuliani upped the ante on Thursday night and straight-up accused Biden of bribing the Ukrainian president to make an investigation into his son go away.
Coincidentally (or predictably?), the claim came amid mounting calls for impeachment after Special Counsel Robert Mueller broke two years of silence earlier this week to say he could not clear President Trump of a crime, despite the president and his allies’ declarations to the contrary. Appearing on Fox News’ Hannity to ostensibly talk about that recent statement, the former New York City mayor quickly pivoted to 2020 contender Biden.
Complaining that the press isn’t covering all of Biden’s supposed scandals, Giuliani ranted about a series of suspicious money flows, none of which he provided any actual details on.
“How bout the $5 million from one of the most crooked people in the Ukraine? While Joe is doling out the money to the Ukraine? And then Joe bribes the president of the Ukraine,” he said.
“He says, ‘You have six hours, fire the prosecutor that’s investigating his son, or I’m leaving with America’s money,’” host Sean Hannity said, helpfully setting Giuliani up to continue with his baseless accusations.
“The money that would have the country go under,” Giuliani exclaimed. “Remember, it was not just 1.2 billion. They were going to default without that 1.2 billion. They were desperate!”
It was not immediately clear what funds Giuliani was referring to. The European Union extended a $1.2 billion loan to Ukraine early last year, and before that, in 2014, Congress approved a $1 billion loan package to Ukraine. The U.S. Treasury also backed $2 billion in loan guarantees in 2015.
Giuliani went on to allege that former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko was “extorted” by Biden, claiming Biden held the loan guarantees unless the president fired a top prosecutor who was investigating a company Biden's son worked for. Poroshenko, Giuliani said, was even the “godfather to the guy’s kids.”
“That’s the crime, Joe. Extorted!” Giuliani shouted. “And by the way, when he took the money for the Ukraine, we call that, under all laws, bribery!”
While Giuliani has spent much of the past month persistently claiming that then-Vice President Biden abused his power to force Ukraine to drop a probe involving his son—even announcing and then quickly canceling a trip to Kiev to convince the nation’s president-elect to keep the pressure on the Bidens—this appears to be the first time he explicitly accused Biden of bribing a world leader.
And despite the current Ukrainian prosecutor pouring cold water on Giuliani’s suspicions, the Trump campaign hatchet man still appeared baffled and outraged that his conspiracy theory is not gaining more traction.
“And the dishonest press will not cover it,” he said. “That’s why when the president says they are dishonest, when he says they are corrupt, and even when he says they are the enemy of the people, they are proving it.”
While the Ukrainian government appears to have no interest in Giuliani’s gambits, he has continued to push forward. Recently, he met with a former Ukrainian diplomat in an effort to prove that Ukrainian officials worked with Democrats in order to undermine former Trump campaign official Paul Manafort.