On Monday afternoon, CNN's Jake Tapper played a tape of Rudy Giuliani straight up pressuring a top aide to Ukraine's leader to find a prosecutor to dig up dirt and publicly announce an investigation into Joe Biden. This tape was reportedly recorded in 2019 as Joe Biden was the frontrunner as the Democratic candidate for the 2020 Presidential Election.
First, he talked about conspiracy theories from the previous election, stating that he got private information that showed that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election, not Russia. In fact, he slung accusations at Ukraine officials - not average citizens. Then, he talked about the need for Ukraine to publicly announce investigations into Joe Biden. He required that they put a prosecutor in charge who would dig up evidence regarding the 2016 election and that the prosecutor look into a possible bribe. Rudy ended by insinuating that he could talk to the Former Guy about improving their relationship. Whatever that means.
Here is a bit of the transcript:
REPORTER: By the time of the call in 2019, Joe Biden had already emerged as the Democratic party's front-runner to challenge President Trump. Digging up dirt on Biden, like the unfounded allegations on the corrupt dealings in Ukraine when he was Vice President, had become a priority for Trump and his longtime adviser. Throughout the roughly 40-minute call, Giuliani repeatedly pressed Ukranian leadership to publicly announce investigations into this, too, something that would have undoubtedly benefited Trump's re-election campaign and damaged President Biden. This is how Giuliani sets out what's required.
GIULIANI: All we need from the President is to say and put an honest prosecutor in charge that he's going to investigate and dig up the evidence that presently exists and is there any other evidence about involvement of the 2016 election and then the Biden thing has to be run out. I don't know if it's true or not. I see -- I see him bragging about continue on television and to me as a lawyer, to me as a lawyer it sounds like a bribe. Somebody in Ukraine has got to take that seriously.
REPORTER: The Ukrainian presidential office, they took it very seriously. Then as now the country was fighting a desperate war against Russian-backed rebels in the east and heavily dependent on U.S. weapons and military aid to hold its ground, including millions of dollars that had been frozen by the Trump administration while Giuliani pursued these political investigations. Mindful of the need for a strong relationship with Washington, the Ukrainian presidential advisor on the call tried to assure Giuliani investigations he wanted would be looked at.
YERMAK: And we are ready this day immediately communicated to coordinate to work and investigate everything which you listed.
REPORTER: Privately Ukrainian officials say they were alarmed of being sucked into American politics, especially when Giuliani repeatedly suggested compliance would open the door to closer U.S.-Ukrainian ties, even a presidential meeting and undermining the former president's assertions that they never sought political favors from Ukraine to secure U.S. support. so-called quid quo pro.
REPORTER: Now we can hear Giuliani set out his offer.
GIULIANI: So if he could make some statement at the right time and make this a fair honest working system and that these investigations go wherever they have to go, it's going to be run by honest people, that would clear the air really well and I think it would make it possible for me to come and make it possible for me to talk to the president and see what I can do about making sure that whatever misunderstandings are put aside and maybe even I kind of think that this -- that this could be a good thick for having a much -- a much better relationship where we really understand each other.
It's pretty clear what is going on here - quid pro quo. You do something for me, I do something for you. This is absolutely criminal. This is blackmail. This is illegal. It was done with the participation of United States officials. And this tape is DAMNING.