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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."

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Updated 8 hours ago - World

U.S. airstrike kills senior al-Qaeda leader in Syria, DOD says

A displacement camp near the village of Qah in Syria's northwestern Idlib province. Photo: Ahmad Al-Atrash/AFP via Getty Images

A U.S. airstrike in northwest Syria on Friday killed senior al-Qaeda leader Abdul Hamid al-Matar, U.S. Central Command said in a statement.

Why it matters: Syria serves as a "safe haven" for the extremist group to plan external operations, according to U.S. Army Maj. John Rigsbee.

Updated 13 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Giuliani associate Lev Parnas convicted of campaign finance crimes

Lev Parnas, a former associate of then-President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Florida businessman Lev Parnas was convicted Friday on charges of conspiracy to make foreign contributions to political campaigns, according to multiple outlets.

Why it matters: Prosecutors said Parnas, then an associate of former President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, funneled over $150,000 from a Russian businessman into U.S. campaigns as part of an effort to land licenses in the U.S.'s legal cannabis industry.

Supreme Court agrees to hear challenges to Texas abortion law

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear two cases challenging Texas' abortion law, which bans the procedure as soon as six weeks into pregnancy, but left the law in place in the meantime.

Why it matters: The court is moving extraordinarily fast on the Texas cases, compressing into just a few days a process that normally takes months. And that schedule means the court will take up Texas' ban a month before it hears another major abortion case — a challenge to Mississippi's own 2018 ban on abortions after 15 weeks.

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