President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump officials considering using court-ordered removals to deport migrant families: report Dem senator calls for Senate to investigate Giuliani’s planned Ukraine trip Ocasio-Cortez says ‘vote your values’ after finding Trump supporter sign outside office MORE‘s attorney Rudy Giuliani changed course late Friday, declaring he would no longer go on a planned trip to Ukraine to press for an investigation into Democratic presidential candidate Joe BidenJoseph (Joe) Robinette BidenDem senator calls for Senate to investigate Giuliani’s planned Ukraine trip Ocasio-Cortez says ‘vote your values’ after finding Trump supporter sign outside office Mike Gravel says he ‘misspoke’ with Buttigieg comment MORE.
Giuliani announced the decision Friday night during an appearance on Fox News, saying “I’m not gonna go,” and blaming Democrats for trying to “spin” the trip.
“I think I’m walking into a group of people that are enemies of the President, in some cases enemies of the United States and, in one case, an already convicted person who has been found to be involved in assisting the Democrats with the 2016 election,” Giuliani said, without clarifying to whom he was referring.
The news came hours after Trump told Politico in an interview that he planned to speak with Giuliani about his trip and the investigation.
“I will speak to him about it before he leaves. I’m just curious about that,” he told the outlet, saying that he has “not spoken to him at any great length” about his attorney’s trip.
Giuliani first revealed his plans to travel to Ukraine in an interview with The New York Times on Thursday. The president’s lawyer said he hoped to meet in the nation’s capital, Kiev, to ask the country’s president-elect to pursue inquiries that could yield new information about the origin of the Russia investigation and former Vice President Biden’s past influence in the country.
The Times reported that the meeting’s goal was to try to undermine the credibility of special counsel Robert Mueller‘s probe, as well as the case against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. Trump’s allies are also reportedly seeking information that could hurt Biden, who has been a clear front-runner in recent polls for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.
Giuliani last week called for an investigation into Biden after The Times reported that Biden allegedly threatened to withhold $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees in 2016 unless Ukraine removed a top prosecutor, who was later voted out. Biden’s younger son, Hunter Biden, was a board member of an energy company that the prosecutor had been looking into, according to the newspaper.
Democrats on Capitol Hill lambasted Giuliani over the proposed trip, accusing him of seeking aid from a foreign government.
House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerHistory will judge sycophantic Republicans harshly The Hill’s Morning Report – Can Barr and House Dems avert contempt clash? CNN, Fox, MSNBC air split-screens of Nadler and empty chair for Barr MORE (D-N.Y.) slammed the move, saying, “We have come to a very sorry state when it is considered O.K. for an American politician, never mind an attorney for the president, to go and seek foreign intervention in American politics.”
In a tweet, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffHouse Dems allege Trump subpoena lawsuit is stonewalling ‘legitimate’ congressional probes Instagram blocks #VaccinesKill, reviewing other anti-vaccine hashtags Schiff says Congress weighing hefty fines for Trump officials who evade subpoenas MORE (D-Calif.) called the plan “immoral, unethical, unpatriotic and, now, standard procedure.”
Giuliani added to Fox News on Friday that he won’t go to Ukraine “in order to remove any political suggestion.”
“I will step back and I’ll just watch it unfold,” he said.
The news comes after Mueller earlier this year concluded his probe into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election. Mueller did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired with Russia, though he detailed extensive contacts between Trump associates and Russian figures.
Democrats are pushing for an unredacted version of the Mueller report, over which Trump has exerted executive privilege. The House Judiciary Committee voted this week to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over Mueller’s unredacted report and the underlying evidence.