Speed Reads

Rudy's Shadow Diplomacy

Rudy Giuliani reportedly pressed Trump repeatedly to extradite a Turkish cleric sought by Erdogan

Rudy Giuliani, who says he serves President Trump without financial compensation, insists he isn't a foreign lobbyist, despite working for paying clients in Ukraine, Romania, Bahrain, and other nations at the same time he advises the president. But Giuliani personally pressed Trump to extradite Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen so often in 2017, The Washington Post reports, "White House aides worried that Giuliani was making the case on behalf of the Turkish government."

The extradition of Gulen, a permanent U.S. resident, is a top priority for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Giuliani brought up Gulen with Trump so often, one former administration official called it his "hobby horse," the Post reports. A second former official said "it was all Gulen" for Giuliani, but Trump's other aides were vehemently opposed to extraditing the Erdogan critic, citing legal and political issues. Trump, however, seemed receptive to extradition, reportedly pressing his advisers on Gulen's status and asking why he couldn't be turned over to "my friend" Erdogan.

Giuliani is now under scrutiny from House impeachment investigators and federal prosecutors for his work in Ukraine on behalf of Trump, but his efforts to persuade Trump to hand Gulen to Turkey "represent another instance in which he appears to have been pushing a shadow foreign policy from his perch outside government," the Post reports. Trump's first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, also pushed Trump for Gulan's extradition (or worse), and had to retroactively register as a foreign agent for his Turkish lobbying work.

Giuliani insisted to the Post that he has never lobbied on behalf of a foreign government — lobbying experts are skeptical — and said he couldn't comment on advocating for Gulan's extradition due to "attorney client privilege," but the idea "sounds wacky." When informed that multiple officials described his conversations with Trump, the Post adds, "Giuliani responded 'Bull,' and then liked the question with a thumbs-up emoji." Read more at The Washington Post.