Less than 24 hours after the House wrapped up a marathon round of publicimpeachment hearings, President Donald Trump on Friday hit back hard, denying all wrongdoing in his dealings with Ukraine, insulting witnesses and key Democrats involved the inquiry and defending putting Rudy Giuliani in charge of a parallel policy process in Ukraine.
Over two weeks of public hearings, multiple witnesses have told the House Intelligence Committee that Giuliani, the president's personal lawyer, ran a shadow policy team with the goal of pressuring the Ukrainian government to announce investigations into Burisma — the Ukrainian gas company that Hunter Biden joined as a board member in 2014 — and debunked conspiracies that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election.
Trump, however, defended his decision to put Giuliani, a private citizen, in the middle of Ukraine policy Friday, citing his experience, decades ago, in fighting corruption as a U.S. attorney and as the mayor of New York City.
"Rudy is a great crime fighter," Trump said during a telephone interview with "Fox and Friends" that stretched nearly an hour. He lauded his old friend as "the best mayor" and a "a very legendary figure in our country."
"He's also a friend of mine," Trump added. "A great person, an iconic figure in this country."
"He's got credentials," Trump said, "when you're dealing with a corrupt country."
Two associates of Giuliani, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who helped the former mayor dig for dirt in Ukraine on former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden, were indicted last month on charges that they were funneling money from foreign entities to U.S. candidates in a plot to buy political influence.