Trump asked Tillerson to interfere in DOJ case against Giuliani client: report

President TrumpDonald John TrumpRepublicans consider skipping witnesses in Trump impeachment trial Bombshell Afghanistan report bolsters calls for end to 'forever wars' Lawmakers dismiss Chinese retaliatory threat to US tech MORE pressured then-Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonReport: Trump UK ambassador fired deputy for mentioning Obama in speech Overnight Defense: Ex-Navy secretary slams Trump in new op-ed | Impeachment tests Pompeo's ties with Trump | Mexican president rules out US 'intervention' against cartels Pompeo-Trump relationship tested by impeachment inquiry MORE to help convince the Department of Justice (DOJ) to drop a criminal investigation against an Iranian-Turkish gold trader who was also a client of Trump's current personal lawyer, Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiHillicon Valley: Apple, Facebook defend encryption during Senate grilling | Tech legal shield makes it into trade deal | Impeachment controversy over phone records heats up | TikTok chief cancels Capitol Hill meetings Giuliani: Trump asked me to brief Justice Department, GOP lawmakers on Ukraine trip The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - Democrats to release articles of impeachment today MORE, Bloomberg reports.

Tillerson refused Trump's 2017 request, saying it would be illegal to interfere with an ongoing investigation. He repeated his stance to then-chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE in a hallway conversation in the White House.

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At the time, Reza Zarrab, the trader in question, was being prosecuted by a New York federal court on charges of evading U.S. sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program, according to Bloomberg. As a result, Zarrab hired Giuliani and former Attorney General Michael Mukasey.

Giuliani reportedly reached out to U.S. officials several times to resolve the situation outside of court.

The report comes amid growing scrutiny over the president's dealings with foreign leaders, especially in light of a recent whistleblower report that raised concerns over a phone call Trump held in which he pressed Ukraine's president to investigate former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenRepublicans consider skipping witnesses in Trump impeachment trial Trump trade deal likely to sow division in Democratic presidential field Trump supporters at Pa. rally 'upset' after Democrats introduce impeachment articles MORE and his son. The scandal has also implicated Giuliani, whose own dealings in Ukraine have drawn the attention of lawmakers in recent weeks.

The report also comes shortly after Trump announced he was pulling U.S. troops out of northeastern Syria ahead of an expected Turkish offensive against Kurdish forces there. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced on Wednesday that he had formally launched the invasion.

Zarrab's release was reportedly a high priority for Erdoğan until the trader decided to cooperate with New York prosecutors.

Tillerson has openly said that Trump asked him multiple times to do things that would break the law, according to Bloomberg.

Eventually, Zarrab pleaded guilty and reportedly testified against Mehmet Hakan Atilla, who was in charge of international banking at Halkbank, a state-owned Turkish bank.

Erdoğan, Zarrab said, knew and supported the laundering effort on behalf of Iran, according to the new outlet. The Turkish president has denied the allegations.

The White House, Kelly and Tillerson declined to comment to Bloomberg.