Emboldened after his impeachment acquittal, President Donald Trump now brazenly admits to sending his lawyer Rudy Giuliani to Ukraine to discover damaging details about his political opponents, though he strongly denied it in the course of the impeachment inquiry.

The reversal got here Thursday in a podcast interview Trump did with journalist Geraldo Rivera, who requested, “Was it unusual to ship Rudy Giuliani to Ukraine, your private lawyer? Are you sorry you probably did that?” Trump responded, “No, in no way,” and praised Giuliani’s function as a “crime fighter.”

“Right here’s my alternative: I cope with the Comeys of the world, or I cope with Rudy,” Trump stated, referring to former FBI Director James Comey. Trump defined that he has “a really unhealthy style” of the US intelligence neighborhood, due to the Russia investigation, so he turned to Giuliani.

“So once you inform me, why did I take advantage of Rudy, and one of many issues about Rudy, primary, he was the most effective prosecutor, you recognize, top-of-the-line prosecutors, and the most effective mayor,” Trump stated. “But additionally, different presidents had them. FDR had a lawyer who was virtually, you recognize, was completely concerned with authorities. Eisenhower had a lawyer. All of them had attorneys.”

Trump had beforehand denied that he despatched Giuliani to Ukraine. Requested in November if he directed Giuliani to “do something” in Ukraine, Trump stated, “No, I didn’t direct him,” however went on to name Giuliani a “nice corruption fighter.” Giuliani says he’s exposing respectable corruption in Ukraine, though his claims about former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden have been broadly debunked.

Within the new interview, Trump defended the choice to “use” Giuliani, though US diplomats beforehand testified that Giuliani had undermined long-standing US coverage towards Ukraine.

Giuliani was a central participant within the scandal that obtained Trump impeached, although the President was acquitted by the Senate final week. A number of witnesses described how Giuliani met with former Ukrainian officers in the hunt for grime towards Joe and Hunter Biden. Different key gamers described how Giuliani and his allies pressured Ukraine to announce investigations into the Bidens.

Trump’s previous denials got here in November, when the Home of Representatives was investigating the President’s conduct with Ukraine. A number of US diplomats and nationwide safety officers testified that Giuliani was a central determine within the strain marketing campaign to safe political favors from Ukraine. Trump additionally talked about Giuliani in his cellphone name final summer season with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Within the week since his acquittal, Trump has taken a sequence of daring steps to punish his opponents and reward his supporters. He fired a number of US officers who had testified towards him within the impeachment inquiry, and he efficiently lobbied the Justice Division to water down its request that his longtime adviser Roger Stone face as many as 9 years in jail for mendacity to Congress.