Sep 9, 2019

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.

  • Giuliani also met with a former Ukrainian diplomat in May after publicly saying he wanted to ask Zelensky to investigate the origins of the Mueller investigation. The diplomat had claimed, without evidence, that the Democratic National Committee worked with Ukraine in 2016 to find incriminating information about Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort.
  • Giuliani claims he was acting as a private citizen and the State Department was aware of his efforts in Ukraine. He would not say if the president was involved, but the Ukrainian government says Trump asked about corruption investigations during a July phone call with Zelensky.

Details: The 3 committees — chaired by Reps. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) — are demanding records related to Trump's and Giuliani's "attempts to manipulate the Ukrainian justice system to benefit the President's re-election campaign and target a possible political opponent."

What they're saying:

"A growing public record indicates that, for nearly two years, the President and his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, appear to have acted outside legitimate law enforcement and diplomatic channels to coerce the Ukrainian government into pursuing two politically-motivated investigations under the guise of anti-corruption activity."

Read the committees' letter to the White House

Go deeper

House Democrats subpoena Rudy Giuliani for Ukraine documents

Photo: Siavosh Hosseini/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Rudy Giuliani has been subpoenaed by the House Intelligence Committee to produce documents by Oct. 15 related to his and President Trump's alleged efforts to push the government of Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden.

Why it matters: Over the past year, Giuliani has met with a variety of Ukrainian officials in an effort to investigate baseless allegations that Biden forced Ukraine to fire a prosecutor investigating his son, Hunter. In a July phone call that is now at the heart of House Democrats' impeachment inquiry, Trump asked Ukraine's president to work with Giuliani to investigate Biden — prompting allegations by a whistleblower that Trump was soliciting foreign interference in the 2020 election.

Go deeperArrowSep 30, 2019

Joe Biden demands Trump release transcript of Ukraine call

Biden on September 17, 2019. Photo: Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden called for President Trump to release a transcript of his July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday, amid reports that Ukraine is at the center of a whistleblower's complaint over Trump's contacts with a foreign leader.

"If these reports are true, then ... It means that he [Trump] used the power and resources of the United States to pressure a sovereign nation—a partner that is still under direct assault from Russia—pushing Ukraine to subvert the rule of law in the express hope of extracting a political favor."
— Biden's statement on Friday
Go deeperArrowSep 20, 2019

Rudy: "I can't tell you if it's 100%" false that Trump threatened Ukraine aid

President Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani told Fox Business' Maria Bartiomo Monday that he couldn't assure her "100%" that Trump had not threatened to withhold military aid from Ukraine if the country did not launch an investigation into Joe Biden and his son.

The big picture: Giuliani is at the heart of the Ukraine controversy — which he says involved him asking Ukrainian officials to investigate "Ukrainian collusion" that he claims occurred during the 2016 presidential election — but he acknowledged over the weekend that his request involved Biden.

Go deeperArrowSep 23, 2019