Giuliani pulls out of event featuring Putin: reports

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, 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’s personal lawyer, appeared to back out of a conference in Armenia sponsored by the Kremlin that will include appearances by Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinPavlich: Impeachment does Russia's bidding Russian diplomat says election meddling wasn't discussed at White House, contradicting Trump Trump warned Russia's foreign minister against election interference, White House says MORE and other Russian officials.

Giuliani told reporters at The New York Times and CNN that he will not participate in the event after a story from The Washington Post reported his involvement.

According to a schedule for the event, Giuliani was slated to participate in a panel led by Sergey Glazyev, a Putin associate who is under U.S. sanctions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The agenda shows that Giuliani would have been the only American scheduled to speak at the conference.

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Giuliani’s appearance at the conference would have come days after the release of a whistleblower complaint saying Giuliani helped Trump pressure Ukraine 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, one of the president’s chief political rivals. 

Giuliani, who participated in the event last year, confirmed to the Post earlier Friday that he planned on participating in the panel at the conference organized by Russia and the Eurasian Economic Union, a trade alliance Putin launched in 2014 to counterbalance the European Union. 

The former New York City mayor angrily dismissed questions from the Post about whether it was appropriate for him to participate in the event. 

“I will try to not knowingly talk to a Russian until it is all over,” he said.

Giuliani would be paid for his appearance but noted that any payment “goes to my company.”

Current and former White House aides expressed frustration to the Post over Giuliani’s behavior and that he does not clear his media appearances or paid speeches with the administration. National security experts also expressed concern that Giuliani’s appearance at next week’s conference could provide a boost to a top EU rival.

“It’s terrible judgement for the president’s lawyer to attend this meeting,” David Kramer, a former State Department official under President George W. Bush who oversaw Russia and Ukraine policy, told the Post. “He is lending credibility to an organization Putin set up as an alternative to the European Union. … This will further confuse people on top of the havoc he has already created for Ukraine.”

“I can’t remember anything like this,” added Michael McFaul, who served as U.S. ambassador to Russia in the Obama administration.