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Rudy Giuliani, former President Trump's personal lawyer, at the White House last September. Photo: Chris Kleponis/Polaris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

CNN has obtained audio of a July 2019 call by Rudy Giuliani in which he suggests to an Ukrainian official that the country could have a "better relationship" with the U.S. if it investigated Joe Biden.

Why it matters: The call shows the extent of pressure Giuliani put on Ukraine to investigate the then-Democratic presidential nominee and his son, Hunter Biden, for unsubstantiated corruption claims — a matter that was central to former President Trump's first impeachment.

Context: Giuliani, Trump's personal lawyer, appeared to pressure Ukraine in the 40-minute call with Andriy Yermak, a senior adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky.

What they're saying: In the audio leaked to CNN, Giuliani can be heard suggesting that if there were an investigation into Biden, it would "clear the air really well" and perhaps pave the way for Zelensky to visit the U.S.

  • "All we need from the President is to say, I'm gonna put an honest prosecutor in charge, he’s gonna investigate and dig up the evidence that presently exists, and is there any other evidence about involvement of the 2016 election, and then the Biden thing has to be run out," Giuliani said.
  • "I think it would make it possible for me to come and make it possible, I think, for me to talk to the President [Trump] to see what I can do about making sure that whatever misunderstandings are put aside, and maybe even — I kinda think that this could be a good thing for having a much better relationship," he said at another point in the conversation.
  • Representatives for Giuliani and Trump did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

Go deeper

Exclusive: Zelensky "surprised" and "disappointed" by Biden pipeline move

Volodymyr Zelensky. Photo: Sergei Supinsk/AFP via Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says he learned through the press — not any direct heads-up — that President Biden had decided to stop trying to block a Russian pipeline that Ukraine sees as a dire national security threat.

Driving the news: Zelensky used an hourlong Zoom interview with Axios on Friday to beseech Biden to meet with him face to face before a June 16 summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin — offering to join him "at any moment and at any spot on the planet."

Jun 7, 2021 - World

Biden to invite Ukraine's Zelensky to White House after Putin summit

President Biden told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a phone call Monday that he looks forward to welcoming him to the White House this summer after returning from his trip to Europe, according to national security adviser Jake Sullivan.

Why it matters: In an hour-long interview with Axios on Friday, Zelensky urged Biden to meet with him face to face before a June 16 summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin — offering to join him "at any moment and at any spot on the planet."

Liz Cheney compares Trump's rhetoric to Chinese Communist Party

Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

In a podcast episode released Monday, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) likened former President Trump's rhetoric about U.S. democracy and elections to that of the Chinese Communist Party, the Washington Post reports.

State of play: Cheney was ousted from her position as the No. 3 House Republican after publicly criticizing the former president’s baseless claims of election fraud.