President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani urged him in 2017 to agree to Turkey’s requests to eject an exiled Turkish cleric from the U.S., The Washington Post reported Tuesday night.
Giuliani, who was not the president’s attorney at the time, told Trump that the U.S. should remove Fethullah Gulen from the country, former officials told the Post.
Turkey has requested Gulen be turned over to its custody to face trial for allegedly plotting a coup against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
One formal official told the Post he called the topic Giuliani’s “hobby horse” because of how often the former mayor brought up Gulen. In 2017, some senior officials confronted Giuliani, asking him not to bring up the subject in front of the president.
The president was open to Giuliani’s suggestion, the Post reported, and asked advisers why the Turkish cleric could not be given to “my friend” Erdogan. Officials advised Trump against it.
Turkish state media reported a U.S. delegation spoke with Turkish officials in January about Erdogan’s request to extradite Gulen, according to the Post.
The former New York mayor is not registered as a foreign lobbyist, as would be required if he were paid to promote a foreign country’s interests.
Giuliani told the Post he never represented Turkey and declined to say why he wanted Gulen turned over to the country, saying he could not “comment on it that would be complete attorney client privilege but sounds wacky.”
He also called the allegations from the former officials “bull” and said he “will not participate in an illegitimate, unconstitutional, and baseless ‘impeachment inquiry.’”
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