Politics

Rudy Giuliani calls Trump 'very loyal' but jokes he has 'insurance' just in case

Key Points
  • Rudy Giuliani says he believes President Donald Trump will remain loyal to him but jokes that he has "very, very good insurance" should the president decide, as a reporter says, to "throw him under a bus."
  • As the impeachment inquiry heats up, Republicans are weighing whether to blame Giuliani for Trump's irregular foreign policy in Ukraine.
  • The interview is the latest in a fresh round of press appearances this week by the former New York City mayor.
Lawyer of the US president Rudy Giuliani looks on before the US president announces his Supreme Court nominee in the East Room of the White House on July 9, 2018 in Washington, DC.
Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images

President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, said he trusts Trump to remain loyal to him, even as the House impeachment inquiry heats up and Giuliani emerges as a central figure.

But when a reporter asked Giuliani if he was concerned that Trump could "throw him under a bus," Giuliani replied cryptically. "I'm not, but I do have very, very good insurance, so if he does, all my hospital bills will be paid," Giuliani quipped.

Just then, a lawyer for Giuliani who was on the phone call jumped in. "He's joking," said Mark Costello, who represents the former New York City mayor. Later in the call, Giuliani called Trump a "very loyal guy" and said he had spoken to the president on Wednesday night, following the first day of public impeachment hearings.

The new interview was published Thursday by The Guardian, the latest in a fresh round of press for Giuliani, who emerged this week in several news outlets after a period of relative quiet.

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A White House spokesman did not immediately reply to a request for comment from CNBC on the new interview.

In recent weeks, however, current and former national security officials have told investigators that Giuliani was the driving force behind a monthslong shadow U.S. foreign policy toward Ukraine, which was focused not on benefiting America's national security but on benefiting Trump's reelection campaign.

On Tuesday, Giuliani told a CNN reporter, "The narrative about me is fictitious. It seems to be fed by a bunch of cackling hens around the watercooler."

As the impeachment inquiry heats up, Republicans on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue are reportedly weighing whether to publicly distance the president from his longtime friend and attorney and to shift the blame onto Giuliani for Trump's controversial, irregular Ukraine policy.

The House impeachment probe focuses on whether Trump abused the power of his office by withholding nearly $400 million in foreign military aid to Ukraine while Giuliani and several Trump political appointees pressured the country's newly elected government to open investigations into Trump's political opponents.

According to the testimony released so far by the House Intelligence Committee, Giuliani and Trump wanted Ukraine to announce two investigations: One into a Ukrainian energy company, Burisma, on whose board former Vice President Joe Biden's son Hunter once sat. The second investigation Trump wanted was related to a debunked conspiracy theory claiming Ukraine, and not Russia, interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

In his most recent interview, Giuliani defended his actions on Trump's behalf. "I acted properly as his lawyer," Giuliani said. "I did what a good lawyer is supposed to do. I dug up evidence that helped to show the case against him was false. That there was a great deal of collusion going on someplace else other than Russia. And then I stepped on the number one minefield, which is Joe Biden, who is heavily protected by the Washington press corps."

Testimony from Gordon Sondland, Trump's ambassador to the European Union, has described Giuliani as the chief messenger between the president and Trump political appointees, including Sondland, who were trying to broker a deal. The deal would have the Ukrainians announce the investigations and Washington release the hold placed on the foreign aid.

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Giuliani has rebutted Sondland's characterization of his role in the back-channel foreign policy.

But already on Thursday, an influential House Republican, Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina, suggested that Sondland, who is scheduled to testify in public next week, might further implicate Giuliani in the alleged pressure campaign on Ukraine in order to spare the president.

Giuliani is also reportedly the subject of a federal investigation into whether his efforts to dig up dirt in Ukraine on Hunter Biden and the Democratic National Committee violated American foreign lobbying laws. Last week, Giuliani announced on Twitter that he was being represented by three lawyers, Costello among them.