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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

Judge denies Trump's request to delay defamation suit

A defamation suit accusing former President Trump of rape will move forward as planned, a federal judge said Wednesday.

Why it matters: E. Jean Carroll sued Trump for defamation after he branded her a liar for publicly alleging that he raped her in the mid-1990s. Trump's legal team had requested that the judge delay the suit while an appeals court determines whether the United States can be substituted as the defendant in the case.

Advocates fret Roe v. Wade's 49th anniversary could be its last

Photo: Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for Women's March Inc

As Saturday marks the 49th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court's landmark decision that legalized abortion access in the U.S., advocates warn the ruling is "more at risk now than ever."

The big picture: The Supreme Court in December heard a challenge to a Mississippi 15-week abortion ban that could throw Roe's survival into question, or at least narrow its scope.

Updated 10 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies — Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker