Giuliani says State Department asked him to take call from Ukrainian official

Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiSenate rejects subpoenaing Mulvaney to testify in impeachment trial GOP rejects effort to compel documents on delayed Ukraine aid Citizens United put out a welcome mat for Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman MORE told Sean HannitySean Patrick HannityHypocrisy is the currency of the realm for GOP in the age of Trump GOP threatens to weaponize impeachment witnesses amid standoff Trump wants To 'deescalate,' but will his supporters let him? MORE on Fox News Monday night that his recent dealings with Ukraine were initiated by the State Department.

"The State Department called me and said would I take a call from Mr. [Andriy] Yermak, who's No. 2 or three to the president-elect who is now the president," said Giuliani, one of President TrumpDonald John TrumpRouhani says Iran will never seek nuclear weapons Trump downplays seriousness of injuries in Iran attack after US soldiers treated for concussions Trump says Bloomberg is 'wasting his money' on 2020 campaign MORE's personal attorneys.

ADVERTISEMENT

Giuliani said he then spoke with Yermak and that he then passed along the "enormously important facts" to the State Department.

When reached for comment, a State Department spokesperson said, "Mr. Giuliani is a private citizen and acts in a personal capacity as a lawyer for President Trump. He does not speak on behalf of the U.S. Government."

Giuliani's Monday night comments follow a Wall Street Journal report last week in which he said he traveled to Paris in June to meet with a Ukrainian official from the prosecutor general's office and then to Madrid in August to meet with Yermak. Both meetings were part of the Trump administration's effort to pressure the Ukrainian government to look further into former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenSanders joins Biden atop 2020 Democratic field: poll The Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clashes, concessions Trump says impeachment lawyers were 'really good' MORE and his son, Hunter Biden.

The Associated Press reported Monday that President Trump ordered $400 million in U.S. aid to Ukraine to be frozen days before he called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The phone call was the catalyst for the whistleblower complaint that reportedly said Trump pressured Zelensky to investigate the Biden family.

Trump confirmed Tuesday that he had withheld the funds from Ukraine.

Biden, a Democratic presidential candidate who is leading the field in most national polls, has called for the White House to release a transcript of the conversation between Trump and Zelensky.

“Such clear-cut corruption damages and diminishes our institutions of government by making them tools of a personal political vendetta,” Biden said in a statement.

--Updated at 11:48 a.m.