WASHINGTON — Facing withering assaults accusing him of looking for overseas help for President Trump’s re-election marketing campaign, Rudolph W. Giuliani introduced on Friday evening that he had canceled a visit to Kiev wherein he deliberate to push the incoming Ukrainian authorities to press forward with investigations that he hoped would profit Mr. Trump.
Mr. Giuliani, President Trump’s private lawyer, defined that he felt as if he was being “set up” by Ukrainians vital of his efforts, and he blamed Democrats for making an attempt to “spin” the journey.
“They say I was meddling in the election — ridiculous — but that’s their spin,” he stated.
Mr. Giuliani stated on Thursday that he had hoped to meet in Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, with the nation’s president-elect and urge him to pursue inquiries that might yield new details about two issues of intense curiosity to Mr. Trump. One is the origin of the particular counsel’s investigation into Russia’s interference within the 2016 election. The different is the involvement of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s son in a gasoline firm owned by a Ukrainian oligarch.
The journey raised the specter of a lawyer for Mr. Trump urgent a overseas authorities to pursue investigations that his allies hope may assist him win re-election. And it comes after Mr. Trump has spent greater than half of his time period going through scrutiny about whether or not his 2016 marketing campaign conspired with Ukraine’s hostile neighbor, Russia. Mr. Giuliani had deliberate to go away on Sunday.
Mr. Trump has suggested he would like Attorney General William P. Barr to look into the material gathered by the Ukrainian prosecutors. On Friday afternoon, Mr. Trump intimated he was considering speaking to Mr. Barr about the overlap between Mr. Biden’s diplomacy in Ukraine and his son’s involvement with the gas company.
“Certainly it would be an appropriate thing to speak to him about, but I have not done that as of yet,” Mr. Trump told Politico in an interview. He suggested that he intended to speak to Mr. Giuliani about the matter before the planned trip to Kiev.
After The New York Times published a report about the trip on Thursday, Democrats assailed Mr. Giuliani, accusing him of activity evoking that at the center of the recently concluded special counsel’s investigation.
“Today, Giuliani admitted to seeking political help from a foreign power. Again,” tweeted Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California and the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. He called the plan “immoral, unethical, unpatriotic and, now, standard procedure.”
Senator Christopher S. Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat who serves on the Foreign Relations Committee, sent a letter to the panel’s Republican chairman asking for an investigation of Mr. Giuliani’s activities. Mr. Giuliani’s engagement with the Ukrainians amounted to “private foreign policy engagement,” Mr. Murphy wrote, adding, “I am deeply concerned about the implications of this for United States foreign policy.”
On Friday night, Mr. Giuliani rejected that characterization, asserting in a brief interview, “My only purpose was to make sure the investigation continued.”
The change of plans came as advisers were urging the incoming Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, a comedian and political newcomer, not to meet with Mr. Giuliani, according to a person familiar with the conversations.
Mr. Giuliani had requested the meeting with Mr. Zelensky through intermediaries, but it had not been confirmed.
Mr. Giuliani’s foray into Ukrainian politics comes at a delicate moment for the country, which is deeply reliant on the United States for financial and military aid. The current Ukrainian government has sought to distance itself from matters related to the special counsel’s investigation.
Mr. Zelensky is set to take office on June 3.
The investigations had been opened by Ukrainian prosecutors during the term of the country’s current president, Petro O. Poroshenko. He lost his re-election bid last month to Mr. Zelensky, who has said that he would like to replace the country’s top prosecutor, who oversaw some of the matters.
Mr. Giuliani and other Trump allies had been working behind the scenes with the prosecutor to gather information about the investigations.
Mr. Giuliani said he feared he would have been “walking into a trap” had the meeting with Mr. Zelensky occurred. He predicted that it would have been misrepresented by advisers of Mr. Zelensky who have criticized the top prosecutor, singling out a member of Ukraine’s Parliament, Serhiy A. Leshchenko, who has advised the incoming president.
Late last year, an administrative court in Ukraine faulted Mr. Leshchenko for calling attention in 2016 to documents related to earlier work in Ukraine by Mr. Trump’s campaign chairman at the time, Paul Manafort. The documents, which were first published in The New York Times, led to the resignation from the campaign of Mr. Manafort, who has since pleaded guilty to charges brought by the special counsel related to his work in Ukraine, and is serving a seven-and-a-half-year prison sentence. Mr. Giuliani has called for additional inquiry into Mr. Leshchenko’s scrutiny of Mr. Manafort.
Mr. Leshchenko, who is appealing the Ukrainian administrative court’s finding faulting him, said in an interview on Saturday that the case against him related to the Manafort documents was politically motivated, and not supported by the law. He said he did not advise Mr. Zelensky to skip the meeting with Mr. Giuliani. But he also said that Mr. Giuliani had been “misinformed” by a Ukrainian prosecutor Mr. Leshchenko accused of being “corrupt.”
Mr. Giuliani said the requested meeting with Mr. Zelensky was a recent addition to a previously planned trip to Kiev to deliver a paid speech about Middle East policy to a Jewish group.
On Friday, Mr. Giuliani said that group “felt overlooked” by all of the scrutiny on his efforts to try to advance Mr. Trump’s interests in Ukraine. He said they would reschedule his speech for the fall.