An aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an interview published today that Ukraine would not open or close investigations “on command,” amid questions in Washington over whether President Trump pressured the country to investigate Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden.
Andriy Yermak, a lawyer and top aide to Zelensky, addressed his contacts with US officials in an interview published today on the Ukrainian news site LB.ua. Yermak said he decided to get in touch with Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney, when he read that the former New York City mayor canceled a trip to Ukraine in May to push for that country to investigate Biden.
"When I read that he [Giuliani] was going to come to Ukraine, but changed his mind because 'Zelensky’s team has enemies of Trump in it,' I offered to talk to him,” Yermak said.
Yermak said he visited Washington this summer and met with members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, informing lawmakers of his plans to meet with Giuliani and introduce the new Ukrainian president’s policy goals.
“Most importantly, we have a new team, a new president, we are simple guys,” he characterized his pitch to Giuliani. “We do not need intermediaries for a meeting. Here is my phone number, you can always call me and come over.
“And anyway, I'm a fan of what he did for New York as mayor. I know that Giuliani is friends with [Kiev Mayor Vitaly] Klitschko, it would be nice for him to come to Kiev and share his experience," Yermak continued.
On the matter of pushing Ukraine investigations, Yermak said he told Giuliani: “We can guarantee that during our tenure investigations will occur transparently, there are not going to be any on-call commands to open or close the investigations. These are the fundamental principles and foundations of President Zelensky’s program with which we went to the polls."
Yermak added: "So, Giuliani and I talked on the phone, and after that we personally met in Madrid. I repeated to him the same points. He noted that it was important for him to hear that the new Ukrainian government would preach the principles of openness and legality, will fight corruption, and set as its goal to make Ukraine successful."