NEW YORK — Rudy Giuliani claimed Friday he has seen “nothing” to back up the Trump administration’s conclusion that he worked alongside a seasoned Russian spy as part of his Ukraine-obsessed smear campaign against Joe Biden.
President Donald Trump’s own Treasury Department sanctioned ex-Ukrainian politician Andrii Derkach on Thursday for being “an active Russian agent” pushing “false and unsubstantiated” corruption claims about Biden in a bid to influence November’s election — but Giuliani begged to differ.
“No reason to believe that,” Giuliani said as part of lengthy text message exchange with the Daily News. “I know nothing that would support that conclusion.”
Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney, has met at least three times with Derkach and boasted earlier this year about receiving information from the pro-Kremlin politician that he claimed proved Biden used the power of his vice presidency to help his son, Hunter, evade prosecution in Ukraine.
But Derkach’s entire scheme — including the release of a manipulated recording of a phone call between Biden and Ukraine’s former president — is part of Russia’s broader election interference plot to disparage the Democratic candidate and help Trump win reelection, according to the Treasury Department.
Part of Derkach’s plot was to get prominent U.S. officials and news outlets to disseminate his disinformation, the Treasury Department said.
He was evidently successful on that front, as Trump, Giuliani and several right-wing outlets have amplified his claims over social media and in interviews.
Trump, notably, was even impeached for trying to strong-arm Ukraine’s president into launching a politically motivated investigation of many of the same Biden accusations that Derkach promoted.
Though he defended Derkach against the “Russian agent” label, Giuliani sought to put some distance between himself and the Ukrainian politician on Friday by claiming that the information he received from him was corroborated by “testimony of others.”
“Everything he told me about Biden really comes from other witnesses. He was a hearsay witness at best. He just repeated, correctly, what was in the file,” Giuliani said.
The former New York mayor didn’t elaborate on the documentation that he claims to have on Biden’s crimes.
In between texting with The News on Friday, Giuliani attended a 9/11 ceremony in downtown Manhattan, where he lashed out against the city for having the names of the terror attack victims read over a prerecorded tape out of coronavirus concerns.
“If I was the mayor, this wouldn’t have happened,” Giuliani told reporters near ground zero.” They wouldn’t be allowed to hold the ceremony with prerecorded names. I’d take the tape recording and burn it, instead of burning the American flag, and I’d get people up and read the names.”
Derkach, who studied at the KGB academy in Moscow in the early 1990s and used to be a member of Ukraine’s pro-Russia party, could not be reached for comment on Friday.
Even though the Biden accusations have been repeatedly debunked, Giuliani insisted in the text exchange that there’s a “rock solid” case against Biden.
“The evidence that the millions paid by the most crooked man in Ukraine were payments to the Biden family for the sale of Joe Biden’s office is rock solid and the statement there is no evidence is entirely false,” he said, referring to wages earned by Hunter Biden for consulting work he did for Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company.
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