Nikki Haley: Rudy Giuliani should've been named special envoy to Ukraine
WASHINGTON – Nikki Haley, the former UN Ambassador under President Donald Trump, stated that she believes the Trump administration should have named Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, as special envoy to Ukraine.
Giuliani has emerged as a central figure in the Ukraine scandal that has led to the impeachment inquiry against Trump over alleged efforts to have Ukrainian officials investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential frontrunner.
USA TODAY interview: Nikki Haley isn't running for president. That is, not yet.
"I think it could've been handled better," Haley said to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer during an interview when asked about Giuliani’s involvement in the country's policy. “They should’ve named him the special envoy so that everyone within the administration knew what his role was."
Multiple officials who have testified in both closed-door depositions and now public hearings have stated that Giuliani, who is a private citizen, led a back-channel regarding Ukraine policy.
More:How to stay updated on USA TODAY's impeachment coverage
The job for special envoy is open now following Kurt Volker’s resignation in September, just a few days after the impeachment inquiry began.
Volker introduced Giuliani to a top adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in mid-July, according to a text message Giuliani posted on Twitter.
Haley also stated that she thinks “you have to protect a whistleblower," acknowledging that “you could call it disagreeing” with Trump’s wishes to oust the whistleblower.
More:Trump's allies want to ID the whistleblower, who may learn the price of speaking out
"I don't think it's ever good practice for us to ask a foreign entity to investigate an American," Haley stated during the interview.
When pushed on if that's what Trump was doing, she responded, "At the end of the day, it didn't happen."
She defended Trump's false claims as "slip-ups," saying he was always truthful with her.
Contributing: Michael Collins, John Fritze, David Jackson, USA TODAY