Trump worked with 2 ‘off the books’ lawyers to pressure Ukraine – Business Insider
“Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace said Sunday morning that top US officials confirmed President Donald Trump was working with more than one personal lawyer “off the books” to pressure Ukranian officials for damaging information on former Vice President Joe Biden.
Wallace reported that in addition to his known personal lawyer, New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who has publicly admitted to his involvement in the matter, Trump has been working with the controversial legal team and married couple Joseph diGenova and Victoria Toensing, who run a firm in Washington, D.C., to communicate with Ukraine.
Trump initially attempted to hire the two lawyers to represent him in the Russia probe investigation, but decided not to after it was revealed that the two attorneys had a conflict of interest in the case. Toensing had previously represented witnesses who had already communicated with special counsel Robert Mueller’s team.
DiGenova and Toensing have controversial reputations for pushing conspiracy theories about the Department of Justice and the FBI, including that officials within the FBI have tried to “frame” Trump for “nonexistent crimes.”
DiGenova also called for the firing of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, referred to Mueller’s team as “legal terrorists,” and called former FBI Director James Comey a “dirty cop.” In February, on conservative personality Laura Ingraham’s podcast, diGenova said the US is in a civil war, and suggested that people buy guns to prepare for potential combat between warring factions.
Read more: Trump keeps hiring people from Fox News
Just three days ago, diGenova appeared on Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s segment to deny that what the president said in the memo detailing his known call with Ukraine constituted a crime.
“Let me underscore emphatically that nothing that the President said on that call, or what we think he said on that call constitutes a crime,” diGenova said, without disclosing any involvement of his own. “And even if he had said, you’re not going to get the money, it would not be a crime.”
According to the US official who Wallace used as his anonymous source, only Trump knows the full details concerning diGenova and Toensing’s involvement in the Ukraine efforts, because the president worked with the two “off the books,” choosing not to involve people within his White House administration itself.
Giuliani has denied working with any other lawyers in Ukraine dealings multiple times in Fox News appearances – a narrative that the network itself contradicts with these latest developments.
The Ukraine matter is the subject of the whistleblower complaint that led to the impeachment inquiry that is currently ongoing in the US House of Representatives. In a July 25 phone call, a partial transcript of which has been released by the Trump administration, the president pressured Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.
Hunter Biden served on the board of executives of a Ukrainian energy company, Burisma Holdings, during Joe Biden’s tenure as Vice President. The then-VP pressured the Ukranian government to fire a top Ukranian prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, for blocking corruption investigations.
Trump and Giuliani have claimed, despite contradictory timelines, that Biden sought Shokin’s removal from his position because Shokin was attempting to investigate corruption involving his son and Burisma Holdings.
Calls for Trump’s impeachment note that he withheld $400 million in foreign aid from Ukraine in the process of asking for damaging information about his 2020 presidential contender. The president could potentially be breaking four laws: illegally soliciting campaign help from a foreign government, bribery, misappropriation, and conspiracy.
diGenova & Toensing, LLP didn’t immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.