Testimony at the hearings put a spotlight on Trump’s decision to give Giuliani an outsized role to shape U.S. policy toward Ukraine.
Trump took issue with U.S. embassy official in Ukraine, David Holmes, who said under oath that he overheard a cellphone conversation in which Trump pressed Gordon Sondland, ambassador to the European Union, for details on whether Zelenski would carry out politically motivated investigations the President was seeking.
“That was a total phony deal,” Trump told the press.
Testimony at the hearings put a spotlight on Trump’s decision to give Giuliani, a citizen with no formal job in his administration, an outsized role to shape the U.S. policy toward Ukraine rather than using the U.S. government’s usual diplomatic and national security channels.
Former U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton is among the various officials described as being alarmed at Giuliani’s actions, including pushing Ukraine to conduct two investigations that could harm Trump’s political adversaries.
Former White House Russia expert Fiona Hill recalled how Bolton called Giuliani “a hand grenade who’s going to blow everybody up.”
During the hearings, current and former White House officials and diplomats voiced alarm at Giuliani’s activities. However, Trump said Giuliani was the right person for the job.
“He’s like an iconic figure in this country for two reasons. He was the greatest mayor in the history of New York and he was the greatest crime fighter probably in the last 50 years,” Trump said of Giuliani, who previously served as the mayor of the largest U.S. city and as a federal prosecutor.
“He’s a great person,” Trump stressed and added that "he’s got credentials because of his reputation... When Rudy Giuliani goes there and you hear it’s a corrupt country, it means a lot.”
In his statements to the press, however, Trump did not address what he actually told Giuliani to do.