President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani criticized the president’s nominee for ambassador to Russia Wednesday night for “incorrectly speculating” at his confirmation hearing about Mr. Giuliani’s role with Ukraine.
On Twitter, the embattled Mr. Giuliani took issue with Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, who told senators earlier Wednesday that he was aware of a “campaign” by Mr. Giuliani to oust the previous U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.
“The Amb. nominee doesn’t know what he’s talking about and shouldn’t be incorrectly speculating,” Mr. Giuliani tweeted. “This is an orchestrated attempt to harass and hinder me in my role as @realDonaldTrump’s attorney.”
Mr. Sullivan told members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that he had been aware since last spring of a smear campaign by Mr. Giuliani and others outside the Trump administration to remove then-U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.
“I was aware that Mr. Giuliani was involved in Ukraine issues,” he said. “My knowledge…was focused on his campaign basically against our ambassador to Ukraine.”
He said Ms. Yovanovitch served admirably in the post.
Mr. Giuliani countered that he had gathered the information while defending the president from special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of alleged collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign in 2016.
“All of the information I obtained came from interviews conducted as private defense counsel to [the president], to defend him against false allegations,” he tweeted. “I began obtaining this information while Mueller was still investigating his witch hunt and a full 5 months before [Democratic frontrunner Joseph R.] Biden even announced his run for Pres. It won’t work!”
Mr. Trump and his allies have taken issue with Mr. Biden and his son, Hunter, who held a lucrative post with a Ukrainian gas company while his father was vice president.
Mr. Giuliani has acknowledged working to have Ms. Yovanovitch removed, and said those efforts were coordinated with the State Department.
Mr. Sullivan told lawmakers that neither he nor Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asked Mr. Giuliani to intervene on behalf of the State Department with Ukraine.