Rudy Giuliani has said – apparently in jest – he has “insurance” on Donald Trump, should the president and his aides decide to try and blame him for the mounting controversy over the administration’s dealings with Ukraine.
A day after Democrats on Capitol Hill called their public witnesses to testify about Mr Trump’s July phone call with the leader of Ukraine and Mr Giuliani’s private outreach to Kiev, the former New York mayor said he believed the president would remain loyal to him.
Asked by the Guardian if he was concerned about being “thrown under the bus”, Mr Giuliani replied: “I’m not, but I do have very, very good insurance, so if he does, all my hospital bills will be paid.”
The report said Mr Giuliani. who has been serving as Mr Trump’s personal attorney, spoke with a slight laugh in his voice. It also said Mr Giuliani’s own lawyer, Robert Costello, whom he retained as the impeachment pressure intensified, interjected into the interview: “He’s joking.”
Mr Giuliani was asked about how confident he was that Mr Trump would not ditch him, amid reports senior Republicans were considering seeking to use him a scapegoat, as a means of protecting the president.
Axios said the plan would be to say outreach to Ukraine, in which Kiev was asked to launch an investigation into Joe Biden in exchange for the release of military aid and a state visit, was the work of Mr Giuliani.
“So the point is as long as this is a step removed, he’s in good shape,” a Republican member of one of the committees said. “If it’s a step removed from the president, he doesn’t lose any Republicans in the House.”
In the weeks since a whistleblower alleged Mr Trump had improperly sought a “quid pro quo” in his July 25 with Volodymyr Zelensky, more and more information has emerged of the role of Mr Giuliani in pushing for such a probe to be launched.
Republicans have accused Mr Biden of improperly using his position as vice president to oust an anti-corruption prosecutor who they allege represented a threat to Mr Biden’s son, Hunter. There is no evidence to support the claim.
After the whistleblower made the accusation, Democrats launched a formal impeachment investigation.
As the probe has advanced, Mr Giuliani has removed himself from the television networks, though he is said to be considering hosting a podcast. He also wrote an op-ed for The Hill, denouncing the investigation as “unprecedented, constitutionally questionable, and an affront to American fair play”.
Mr Trump was previously asked Mr Giuliani remained his personal lawyer and appeared reluctant to back him entirely.
“I haven’t spoken to Rudy,” he said last month. “I spoke to him yesterday, briefly. He’s a very good attorney and he has been my attorney, yeah sure.”