WASHINGTON (AP) — Newly released documents show Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani was in contact with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in the months before the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine was abruptly recalled.
The State Department released the documents Friday to the group American Oversight in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. They show that Pompeo talked with Giuliani on March 26 and March 29.
Austin Evers, executive director of American Oversight, said the documents reveal “a clear paper trail from Rudy Giuliani to the Oval Office to Secretary Pompeo to facilitate Giuliani’s smear campaign against a U.S. ambassador.”
Last week, former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch told House impeachment investigators she felt “kneecapped” by a “smear campaign” Giuliani led against her. She was withdrawn from her post in Ukraine in May.
The documents released Friday also include a report, that appears with Trump hotel stationery, that appears to summarize a Jan. 23 interview with a former Ukrainian prosecutor general, Victor Shokin. The summary says Giuliani and two business associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, were present.
Parnas and Fruman were arrested last month on a four-count indictment that includes charges of conspiracy, making false statements to the Federal Election Commission and falsification of records. The men had key roles in Giuliani’s efforts to get Ukraine to investigate Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
A second memo appears to be a summary of an interview with Yuri Lutsenko, another former prosecutor general of Ukraine, conducted in the presence of Giuliani, Parnas and Fruman. Lutsenko is quoted raising questions about compensation that Hunter Biden received from the Ukrainian energy company Burisma.
In a Fox News interview, Giuliani was asked Saturday about the work that Parnas and Fruman did for him in Ukraine. The two men’s efforts included helping to arrange a January meeting in New York between Giuliani and Lutsenko, as well as other meetings with top government officials. Lutsenko, who replaced Shokhin in 2016, left the post in August of 2019.
“So, they helped me find people, and as I’ve said, they did a good job, but they weren’t investigators, and they weren’t James Bond, and they didn’t have personal communications with the president,” Giuliani said.
Giuliani allowed that he did introduce the two men to Trump at a Hanukkah party in December of 2018. But there was no extended meeting or conversations, he said.
“They took a one-minute picture. They walked away,” he said.
Federal prosecutors in New York are investigating the business dealings of Giuliani, including whether he failed to register as a foreign agent, according to people familiar with the probe. Giuliani was asked whether he was concerned about being indicted.
“Do you think I’m afraid. Do you think I get afraid? I did the right thing. I represented my client in a very, very effective way. I was so effective that I discovered a pattern of corruption that the Washington press has been covering up for three or four years,” Giuliani asserted.
Giuliani said he continues to have a good relationship with the president and that it can be assumed he talks to Trump “early and often.” Giuliani said he’s seen things written that Trump is intending to throw him under the bus. “When they say that, I say he isn’t, but I have insurance,” Giuliani said.