Aug 22, 2019

Rudy Giuliani still wants Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden's son

Giuliani in the Rose Garden on July 29 in Washington, DC. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Rudy Giuliani, President Trump's personal lawyer, is continuing to encourage Ukraine's government to investigate the son of Joe Biden, Trump's current top-polling 2020 rival, the New York Times reports.

The impact: U.S. government officials who handle foreign policy related to Ukraine blame Giuliani for complicating Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's diplomatic visit to the White House, per the NYT. Trump and Zelensky have not yet met in person.

What's new: "Giuliani has spoken on the phone and held an in-person meeting, in Madrid, with a top representative" of Zelensky's to encourage Ukraine to investigate potential conflicts of interest involving the Biden family and whether the country "took steps during the 2016 election to damage" the Trump campaign, the NYT reports.

Flashback: The NYT previously reported that Giuliani also wanted to visit Ukraine to encourage Zelensky to investigate the origin of special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Giuliani canceled that trip in May, then met with a former Ukrainian diplomat in New York.

The other side: Ukraine's prosecutor general said in May that he has no evidence of wrongdoing by former Vice President Joe Biden or his son Hunter, regarding potential conflicts of interest involving the family's work with a Ukrainian company.

Go deeper: Giuliani cancels trip to Ukraine as Trump suggests investigating Biden

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House Democrats launch probe into Giuliani efforts to dig up dirt in Ukraine

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The House Foreign Affairs, Intelligence and Oversight committees launched an investigation Monday into alleged efforts by President Trump and his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to pressure the government of Ukraine into aiding the president's re-election campaign.

Background: In August, the New York Times reported that Giuliani had met with a top associate of Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky to push the government to investigate potential conflicts of interest involving former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who once served on the board of a Ukrainian gas company.

Go deeperArrowSep 9, 2019

WaPo: Trump "promise" reported by whistleblower involves Ukraine

President Trump. Photo: Chen Mengtong/China News Service/VCG via Getty Images

An alleged promise made between a foreign leader and President Trump recently reported by a whistleblower is said to involve Ukraine, 2 people familiar with the issue said, per a Washington Post report confirmed by the New York Times.

The state of play: On Aug. 12, a whistleblower filed a complaint with intelligence community inspector general Michael Atkinson, which he deemed "credible and urgent within the definition of the law." While the nature of Trump's alleged "promise" remains unclear, he spoke with newly elected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky roughly 2 weeks before the complaint was submitted. Per the Post, that conversation is being investigated by House Democrats.

Go deeperArrowSep 20, 2019

In "rare agreement," Russia and Ukraine swap prisoners

Ukrainian filmmaker and activist Oleg Sentsov chats with reporters after being released from Russia on Sept. 7. Photo: Sergei Supinsky/AFP/Getty Images

After weeks of negotiations, Russia and Ukraine exchanged 35 prisoners each on Saturday in what could be the "first step toward easing tensions between Moscow and Kiev," reports the Wall Street Journal.

Why it matters: Tensions between the 2 former Soviet countries have been high since Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula in 2014, per the WSJ. This "rare agreement" could lead to further negotiations, but some caution that the process will be lengthy and complicated.

Go deeperArrowSep 7, 2019