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President Trump. Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Staff/Getty Images

Kash Patel, a senior National Security Council official accused of running a secret backchannel to President Trump on Ukraine matters, has categorically denied ever discussing Ukraine with the president.

What he's saying: "A number of media outlets have falsely reported that, as senior director for counterterrorism on the National Security Council, I have communicated with President Trump regarding Ukraine," Patel told Axios on Friday night. "At no time have I ever communicated with the president on any matters involving Ukraine.

  • "Any reporting to the contrary, and any testimony provided to Congress, is simply false, and any current or former staff who suggest I have raised or discussed Ukraine matters with President Trump, are similarly misinformed or spreading outright falsehoods."

Why it matters: Trump's former top Russia adviser, Fiona Hill, told impeachment investigators that she heard Trump thought Patel was his Ukraine director and that Patel was slipping Ukraine-related "materials" to the president outside of the normal NSC channels. Patel has never been assigned to Ukraine on the NSC.

  • Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee seized on Hill's allegations about Patel, who previously worked for ranking member Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) and who helped write a memo that accused the Russia investigators of bias.

Between the lines: Hill said that when she heard from another NSC staffer about Patel's supposed involvement on Ukraine, she considered it to be so "strange" and alarming that she reported it to her superior.

  • Hill said, however, that she never found out what actually went on with Patel and that her superior, Charles Kupperman, never got back to her after telling her he'd look into the matter.
  • Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, an NSC official who testified before impeachment investigators, also mentioned Patel in his testimony.
  • Vindman testified that Hill told him that Patel was misrepresenting himself as an Ukraine expert and the president had come to believe Patel was in charge of Ukraine policy on the NSC.

In a statement Friday night, Patel categorically denied all of these allegations from his current and former colleagues.

  • "I pride myself on my record as a dedicated national security professional who is entrusted to handle our nation's most sensitive matters," he said. "At no time have I strayed from my mission to protect the homeland in service to President Trump and the National Security Council."

Go deeper: Vindman says Mulvaney coordinated plan to push Ukraine for Biden investigations

Go deeper

Updated 15 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Cuomo's former chief counsel joins calls for him to resign after damning report

Photo: Spencer Platt/AFP via Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's (D) former chief counsel joined top Democratic lawmakers on Tuesday in calling for him to resign after an independent investigation concluded the governor sexually harassed multiple women in violation of federal and state law.

The latest: Alphonso David, who is now president of the LGBTQ advocacy group Human Rights Campaign, called the report authored by investigators "devastating" and echoed others' comments in decrying Cuomo's "pattern of sexual harassment."

Cuomo accuser speaks out, calls denials "dangerous," "victim blaming"

Andrew Cuomo. Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

A former aide to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who accused him of sexual harassment, spoke out against his earlier denial of inappropriate behavior, telling CBS News that the lawmaker's comments were "dangerous" and "victim blaming."

Driving the news: At a press conference earlier Tuesday, Cuomo specifically addressed the allegations made by his ex-aide, Charlotte Bennett, admitting he "did ask her questions I don't normally ask people," but he flatly denied other details of her allegations.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Law enforcement confirms officer was killed in Metro station attack at Pentagon

Law enforcement officers patrolling the Pentagon's transit station on August 3. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Pentagon Force Protection Agency Chief Woodrow Kusse said an officer was attacked at a transit station outside the Pentagon on Tuesday morning, gunfire was exchanged between the suspect and law enforcement and multiple people were injured.

The latest: "PFPAOficial mourns the tragic loss of a Pentagon Officer killed during this morning's incident at the Pentagon," the Pentagon Force Protection Agency tweeted Tuesday evening. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the Officer's family.