Dec 5, 2019

NSC staffer: Call with Giuliani listed in impeachment report was personal

Kash Patel, a senior National Security Council official, is interviewed on CBS. Photo: CBS

Kash Patel, a senior National Security Council official, told CBS News in an interview that aired Wednesday that his phone conversation with Rudy Giuliani documented in a draft impeachment report had nothing to do with Ukraine. He added he was "never a back channel to President Trump on Ukraine matters, at all, ever."

Why it matters: Call records included in an impeachment report released by House Democrats Tuesday show Patel spoke with Guiliani two months before the Trump administration suspended military aid to Ukraine.

  • Trump's former top Russia adviser, Fiona Hill, told impeachment investigators that she heard the president thought Patel was his Ukraine director and that Patel was slipping Ukraine-related "materials" to him outside normal NSC channels, per Axios' Jonathan Swan, who notes Patel has never been assigned to Ukraine on the NSC.

The big picture: Following Hill's testimony last month, Patel categorically denied ever discussing Ukraine with Trump.

  • In his interview with CBS News, Patel said his conversation with Giuliani was "personal" and he was "delighted" to speak with the former mayor of New York City, where he grew up.
"If [Democrats] had any actual information as to the substance of those calls, then they would've put it in there," he said. "But they didn't. This is a standard operating procedure to castigate someone's name and reputation — especially when they work in the White House."

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Why the missing testimony from the impeachment inquiry matters

As impeachment moves into its next phase, House Democrats lack testimony from major players in the Trump administration about allegations that the president withheld military aid and a coveted White House meeting to pressure Ukraine into investigating his domestic political rivals.

Go deeperArrowDec 5, 2019

Trump: When I asked Ukraine to "do us a favor," I meant the U.S.

President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during a Sept. 25 meeting in New York. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

As House Democrats step up their impeachment inquiries, President Trump sought to clarify via Twitter Wednesday night the context of his infamous July 25 phone conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart, President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Go deeperArrowDec 5, 2019

Highlights from Fiona Hill's and David Holmes' impeachment testimonies

Photo: Matt McClain/Pool/Getty Images

Fiona Hill, President Trump's former top Russia adviser, and David Holmes, a State Department official at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, testified in Thursday's impeachment hearing.

Driving the news: Hill testified she had a conflict with EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland over his claim that he was working on Ukraine policy at Trump's direction — to pursue what she termed a "domestic political errand."

Go deeperArrowUpdated Nov 21, 2019