May 25, 2019

Amid push to investigate Russia probe, Giuliani met former Ukrainian diplomat

Giuliani at a February press briefing in Poland. Photo: Siavosh Hosseini/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Rudy Giuliani told the Washington Post that he met with a former Ukrainian diplomat in New York last week, after publicly saying he wanted to ask the Ukrainian president-elect to investigate the origins of the Mueller investigation.

Catch up quick: Giuliani would not confirm the details of the meeting, but former diplomat Andrii Telizhenko has claimed that the Democratic National Committee worked with Ukraine in 2016 to find incriminating information about Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign chair manager. The DNC has denied those claims, per the Post.

The big picture: This week, President Trump appointed Attorney General William Barr to "declassify, downgrade, or direct the declassification or downgrading of information or intelligence" related to the origins of the Mueller investigation.

  • Trump's allies in Congress have also pledged to investigate potential abuses by the intelligence community during the 2016 election — specifically whether the Russia probe was politically motivated.
  • Last month, Barr testified that spying by law enforcement officials on the 2016 Trump campaign "did occur." He later clarified that he wasn't saying improper surveillance occurred, but that he's "looking into it."

Flashback: This month, Giuliani canceled his trip to Ukraine to discuss the Russia probe — and potential conflicts of interest involving former Vice President Joe Biden — with President-elect Volodymyr Zelensky, after facing "withering attacks accusing him of seeking foreign assistance for President Trump’s re-election campaign," per the NYT.

Yes, but: Giuliani told the Post that he is still interested in "investigating Democratic ties with Ukraine."

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GM to exit Australia, New Zealand and Thailand

GM's Holden brand is popular among racing fans down under, and it's been a regular fixture at events like the Bathurst 1000 V8 Supercar Race in Australia. Photo: Speed Media/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

General Motors is retiring its celebrated Holden brand from sales in Australia and New Zealand after 160 years and winding down operations by 2021, the company confirmed in a statement Monday.

The big picture: GM also intends to "sell its Rayong factory in Thailand to China's Great Wall Motors and withdraw the Chevrolet brand from Thailand by the end of this year," AP reports. "The downsizing is part of a long-running strategy at GM since the Detroit-based company emerged from bankruptcy in 2009," per Bloomberg.

In photos: Deadly Storm Dennis lashes U.K., Ireland and western France

A family is rescued from a property in Nantgarw, Wales, on Sunday. The storm comes a week after the U.K. was battered by storm Ciara, which killed two people, per the BBC. Photo: Matthew Horwood/Getty Images

Storm Dennis continued to pummel parts of England, Wales and Ireland over Sunday night with heavy rain after battering Northern Ireland and Scotland, per the official British weather agency the Met Office.

Why it matters: It's the second-strongest nontropical storm ever recorded in the North Atlantic Ocean, with its hurricane-force winds and heavy rains that caused widespread flooding across the U.K., the Washington Post notes. Police in Wales confirmed Sunday they found the body of a man who fell into a river as the storm lashed Ystradgynlais.

Sanders accuses Bloomberg of trying to "buy" the 2020 election

Sen. Bernie Sanders and Mike Bloomberg. Photos: Drew Angerer; Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders tore into 2020 rival Michael Bloomberg at a Las Vegas campaign event Saturday, saying the billionaire and former New York mayor is trying to "buy the presidency" by paying millions of dollars in advertising.

Why it matters: Bloomberg has surged in national polling recently, having poured millions of dollars into campaign ads largely targeting Trump. His candidacy has become an obvious foil for Sanders, whose grassroots campaign railing against billionaires and the establishment has vaulted him to front-runner status.

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