Graham says he'll invite Giuliani to testify about Ukraine

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSenate GOP mulls speeding up Trump impeachment trial Democratic group plans mobile billboard targeting Collins on impeachment Paul predicts no Republicans will vote to convict Trump MORE (R-S.C.) said on Tuesday that he will invite President TrumpDonald John TrumpNational Archives says it altered Trump signs, other messages in Women's March photo Dems plan marathon prep for Senate trial, wary of Trump trying to 'game' the process Democratic lawmaker dismisses GOP lawsuit threat: 'Take your letter and shove it' MORE's personal lawyer Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiDems plan marathon prep for Senate trial, wary of Trump trying to 'game' the process House Democrats release second batch of Parnas materials Republicans will pay on Election Day for politicizing Trump's impeachment MORE to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee about Ukraine.
 
"I will offer to Mr. Giuliani the opportunity to come before the Senate Judiciary Committee to inform the committee of his concerns," Graham said in a string of tweets.
Graham said that his decision came after hearing from Giuliani on "numerous occasions disturbing allegations ... about corruption in Ukraine and the many improprieties surrounding the firing of former Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin."
 
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"Given the House of Representatives’ behavior, it is time for the Senate to inquire about corruption and other improprieties involving Ukraine," he added.
 
 
But the hearing would likely give Giuliani a forum to air his claims that Biden, while serving as vice president, pushed a former top prosecutor in Ukraine to be fired to help his son.
 
There's been no evidence of wrongdoing by the former vice president.
 
"I would consider it very seriously just have to check out the question of privilege," Giuliani said in a text message to The Hill.

It would also give three 2020 Democratic presidential candidates — Sens. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerDNC announces new criteria for New Hampshire debate The Hill's Campaign Report: Sanders, Warren feud rattles Democrats The Hill's Morning Report — President Trump on trial MORE (N.J.), Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisSanders defends vote against USMCA: 'Not a single damn mention' of climate change The Hill's Morning Report — President Trump on trial Overnight Energy: Schumer votes against USMCA, citing climate impact | Republicans offer details on their environmental proposals | Microsoft aims to be carbon negative by 2030 MORE (Calif.) and Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharSanders to headline Iowa event amid impeachment trial On The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Sanders defends vote against USMCA | China sees weakest growth in 29 years | Warren praises IRS move on student loans Poll: Sanders holds 5-point lead over Buttigieg in New Hampshire MORE (Minn.) — a high-profile stage to question Giuliani, and knock Trump.

Harris quickly pounced on Graham's announcement, writing in a tweet: "Good. I have questions."

Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinSenate opens Trump impeachment trial Democrats ask if US citizens were detained at border checkpoints due to Iranian national origin Pelosi set to send impeachment articles to the Senate next week MORE (Calif.), the top Democrat on the Judiciary panel, added in a statement that Democrats would support having Giuliani testify and would want to question him "about his role in seeking the Ukrainian government’s assistance to investigate one of the president’s political rivals."

"Democratic members have plenty of questions for Mr. Giuliani and this would give us an opportunity to help separate fact from fiction for the American people," she added. 

The decision to invite Giuliani marks a reversal for Graham, who had previously indicated that he wanted "all things Ukraine" investigated but didn't think the Senate should be the body leading the probe.

Asked what action he would take in the Judiciary Committee about Hunter Biden's dealings in Ukraine, Graham told reporters before the two-week recess that "we're not going to do anything."

“I don’t want to turn the Senate into a circus,” Graham added. “I want somebody to look at the conflict of interest outside of politics.”

He had also previously criticized Giuliani, telling reporters last month that "I’m not sure he’s helping the president by being on TV every 15 minutes."

Graham has emerged as a vocal defender of Trump, even as most of his Senate GOP colleagues have remained mum about the president publicly asking China and Ukraine to investigate a potential 2020 rival.

His probe into "corruption and other improprieties" tied to Ukraine comes as the Senate Intelligence Committee is investigating a whistleblower complaint tied to Trump's actions toward Ukraine. That panel's chairman, Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), unlike Graham, has largely remained silent in the wake of the allegations against Trump.

House Democrats are also at the start of an impeachment inquiry centered on Trump asking the Ukrainian government to work with Giuliani to look into the Bidens and allegations that the president tried to withhold aid to Ukraine in an effort to get Kiev to launch such a probe.

Graham blasted House Democrats late Monday amid reports that they could hold a closed-door interview with the whistleblower outside of the Capitol complex or distort the person's voice or appearance over concerns that Republicans will leak the individual's identity.

"To House Democrats: Everyone in America -- including President @realDonaldTrump -- has the right to confront their accuser," Graham tweeted on Monday.

Giuliani, meanwhile, has become a key figure in the House impeachment inquiry.

House Democrats subpoenaed Giuliani late last month as part of an effort to force him to hand over documents, including text messages and phone records, regarding Hunter Biden and efforts by Giuliani or his associates to pressure current or former Ukrainian officials to investigate matters regarding the Bidens or any other American.

Giuliani also told CNN earlier this month that part of the documents handed over by the State Department inspector general to congressional staffers, and Rep. Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial questions; civil Democratic debate House poised to hand impeachment articles to Senate House to vote Wednesday on sending articles of impeachment to Senate MORE (D-Md.), originated with him.

The State Department watchdog turned over a packet of paperwork that Democrats blasted as "propaganda." The paperwork, according to staffers who attended the briefing, included theories about former Vice President Biden, his son Hunter Biden and former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. 

--Alexander Bolton and Brett Samuels contributed to this report, which was updated at 12:55 p.m.