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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Photo: Zheng Huansong/Xinhua via Getty

Ethics watchdog American Oversight published a trove of State Department documents on Friday night that the group says present a "paper trail" between Rudy Giuliani and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and that the two were in contact as early as March.

Why it matters: The documented interactions between Pompeo and Giuliani further link Pompeo to the impeachment inquiry of President Trump and validate the public testimony of European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland, who claimed this week that senior administration officials were aware of efforts to dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden.

What we know: The 100-page cache, released in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, claims calls took place on March 26 and March 29, both before and after Giuliani shared claims against the Biden family with Pompeo. The second conversation was facilitated by Trump's then-personal assistant Madeleine Westerhout.

  • In October, Giuliani told NBC News that on March 28, he delivered documents “directly to the Secretary of State,” with allegations against Biden and former Ukraine ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, who was ousted in May.
  • A source with knowledge of Pompeo's discussions told Axios he never promised Giuliani that he'd investigate the documents that the State Department's inspector general shared with Congress — or anything related to Ukraine.
  • Some of the documents released Friday night mirror those the State Department inspector general gave to Congress.
  • There remains no evidence of wrongdoing by either Biden.

Of note: The documents also indicate Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), the ranking member of the Intelligence Committee and a fervent defender of Trump's, was in Pompeo's call log on March 31.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Biden will reverse Trump's attempt to lift COVID related travel restrictions

Photo: Tasos Katopodis via Getty

The incoming Biden administration will reverse President Trump's last-minute order to lift COVID-19 related travel restrictions, Jen Psaki, the incoming White House press secretary, tweeted.

Why it matters: President Trump ordered entry bans lifted for travelers from the U.K., Ireland, Brazil and much of Europe to go into effect Jan. 26, but the Biden administration will "strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19," Jen Psaki said. Biden will be inaugurated on Wednesday, Jan. 20 and Trump will no longer be president by the time the order is set to go into effect.

Dominion sends cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell

Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Dominion Voting Systems on Monday sent a cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell over his spread of misinformation related to the 2020 election.

Why it matters: Trump and several of his allies have pushed false conspiracy theories about the company, leading Dominion to take legal action. It's suing pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell for defamation and $1.3 billion in damages, and a Dominion employee has sued Trump himself, OANN and Newsmax.

Off the Rails

Episode 5: The secret CIA plan

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer, Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 5: Trump vs. Gina — The president becomes increasingly rash and devises a plan to tamper with the nation's intelligence command.

In his final weeks in office, after losing the election to Joe Biden, President Donald Trump embarked on a vengeful exit strategy that included a hasty and ill-thought-out plan to jam up CIA Director Gina Haspel by firing her top deputy and replacing him with a protege of Republican Congressman Devin Nunes.