Giuliani pressed Trump, Tillerson for Turkish prisoner swap in Oval Office meeting: report

President Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani reportedly used a White House meeting with Trump and then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in 2017 to push for the U.S. to drop charges on Reza Zarrab, a client of his with ties to Turkey’s government.

CNN reported Thursday that Giuliani pressed Trump and Tillerson to support a deal that would drop U.S. prosecution of Zarrab for allegedly violating U.S. sanctions on Iran in exchange for Turkey’s release of Andrew Brunson, an American pastor detained in the country a year earlier amid a coup attempt.

{mosads}Tillerson reportedly informed others, including then-White House chief of staff John Kelly, of the idea after the meeting, which he said he could not support.

News of Giuliani’s involvement comes just days after it was reported that Trump himself at one time pressured Tillerson to convince the Justice Department to drop the charges, to which Zarrab later pleaded guilty.

Zarrab has since said that Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, was aware of an international money-funneling scheme that resulted in funds being laundered for Iran. The Turkish leader has denied this charge.

Giuliani reportedly pressed U.S. officials several times unsuccessfully for the charges to be dropped ahead of his client’s guilty plea.

The reports come as Giuliani faces intense scrutiny for his work on behalf of Trump, which has allowed him to remain a private citizen while attempting to dig up dirt on Trump’s enemies, including former Vice President Joe Biden.

The former New York City mayor’s work to discredit Biden, particularly his and Trump’s efforts to spur a Ukrainian investigation into the Democratic front-runner, have become the center of an impeachment inquiry launched by the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives.

Tags Donald Trump Joe Biden John Kelly Oval Office Prisoner swap Rex Tillerson Rudy Giuliani secretary of State Turkey Ukraine

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