Rudy Giuliani, President Trump‘s lawyer and longtime adviser, has made trips to Russia, Ukraine and Armenia that have increased in frequency since Trump’s election and haven’t been fully explained, a new report says.
According to WNYC, the former New York City mayor has frequently traveled to Russia and other former Soviet states as a guest of powerful people there. The most recent trip was last week, when Giuliani appeared in the former Soviet republic of Armenia. The local press reported he was invited by Ara Abramyan, an Armenian businessman living in Russia who helped reconstruct the Kremlin and received a medal for “merit to the fatherland” from Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“Giuliani said he was in Armenia as a private citizen, but on a local TV news show, Abramyan implied that he expected Giuliani to carry a message for him to Trump,” the station reports, noting that the conversation was in Armenian, so it’s possible Giuliani didn’t understand what Abramyan was saying.
It’s unclear if Giuliani is being paid to go on the trips, or by whom. Giuliani hasn’t commented.
Although Giuliani’s trips haven’t broken any laws, they are — like so much of the Trump administration‘s foreign policy — unprecedented. Former U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade told WNYC, “I don’t recall seeing anything like this before.”
Giuliani was brought aboard Trump’s legal team earlier this year, reportedly to run defense on TV against special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, which has resulted in felony charges of people close to the president. But after a well-publicized series of gaffes — some of which involved Giuliani contradicting his own client — the former mayor has been out of the spotlight.
For months, Giuliani has given conflicting signals about whether Trump will testify before Mueller, in what form — written or in person — and under what parameters. The latest, according to Bloomberg on Oct. 29, is that Trump’s team might submit written answers to a list of Mueller’s questions after the midterm elections, but not about potential obstruction of justice, and that an in-person interview is “off the table.”