Dec 4, 2019

Giuliani visits Ukraine to meet with prosecutors at heart of impeachment inquiry

Photo: Alastair Pike/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani traveled to Ukraine and Hungary this week in order to meet with the same former Ukrainian prosecutors whose unsubstantiated claims about Joe Biden and his son helped set off the impeachment inquiry, the New York Times reports.

The big picture: The overtures to Yuri Lutsenko, Viktor Shokin and Kostiantyn Kulyk — all of whom have faced allegations of corruption — are part of an effort to solicit new information that Giuliani hopes will undercut the impeachment proceedings, according to the Times.

  • The Times also reports that Giuliani is using the trip to help produce more episodes of a documentary series marketed as an alternative to Democrats' impeachment narrative on One America News, a pro-Trump media outlet.

Between the lines: The news of Giuliani's trip follows reports from the Times and the Washington Post that he was pursuing thousands of dollars in business from Ukrainian officials — including Lutsenko — in the same months he was attempting to unearth damaging information about Trump's political rivals.

  • In addition to facing impeachment scrutiny, Giuliani and his associates are being investigated by prosecutors from the Southern District of New York, who are reportedly considering a wide array of charges ranging from unregistered foreign lobbying to fraud to money laundering.

What they're saying: A spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Budapest confirmed to the Times that Giuliani had dinner there Tuesday night with the ambassador.

  • Giuliani did not immediately respond to a comment from Axios. To the Times, he rejected the notion that continuing to pursue missions in Ukraine was risky in light of the impeachment inquiry and New York investigation.
  • "If S.D.N.Y. leaks and Democrats’ threats stopped me, then I should find a new profession," he texted.

Go deeper: Giuliani pursued business in Ukraine while seeking to dig up dirt on Trump's rivals

Go deeper

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Updated 10 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Trump accuses Twitter of interfering in 2020 election

President Trump speaks to the press as he departs the White House in Washington, D.C., on Thursday. Photo: Mandel Ngan/Getty Images

President Trump responded via tweets Tuesday evening to Twitter fact-checking him for the first time on his earlier unsubstantiated posts claiming mail-in ballots in November's election would be fraudulent.

What he's saying: "Twitter is now interfering in the 2020 Presidential Election.They are saying my statement on Mail-In Ballots, which will lead to massive corruption and fraud, is incorrect, based on fact-checking by Fake News CNN and the Amazon Washington Post," the president tweeted. "Twitter is completely stifling FREE SPEECH, and I, as President, will not allow it to happen!"

Twitter fact-checks Trump's tweets for first time

President Trump briefs reporters in the Rose Garden on May 26. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

Twitter fact-checked two of President Trump's unsubstantiated tweets that mail-in ballots in the 2020 election would be fraudulent for the first time on Tuesday, directing users to "get the facts" through news stories that cover the topic.

Why it matters: Twitter and other social media platforms have faced criticism for not doing enough to combat misinformation, especially when its propagated by the president.