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

Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiSenate GOP waves Trump off early motion to dismiss impeachment charges Key takeaways from first public impeachment hearing Diplomat ties Trump closer to Ukraine furor MORE told Sean HannitySean Patrick HannityGraham: Senate trial 'must expose the whistleblower' Graham says Schiff should be a witness in Trump impeachment trial Lindsey Graham vows to not watch 'un-American' Trump impeachment hearings 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 TrumpGOP senators balk at lengthy impeachment trial Warren goes local in race to build 2020 movement 2020 Democrats make play for veterans' votes MORE's personal attorneys.

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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 BidenGOP senators balk at lengthy impeachment trial 2020 Democrats make play for veterans' votes 2020 Dems put focus on stemming veteran suicides 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.