Giuliani continues bid to dig dirt on Trump political rivals in Kiev
Rudy Giuliani on Friday continued a series of meetings in Kiev as part of a bid to keep digging for dirt on President Donald Trump’s political rivals, even as House Democrats are proceeding to draw up articles of impeachment against the US President for his dealings with Ukraine.
Giuliani’s trip to eastern Europe — he was also in Budapest, Hungary, earlier this week, The New York Times reported on Wednesday — comes at a time when he is facing enormous scrutiny over his involvement in the Ukraine scandal. The former New York City mayor is Trump’s personal attorney and a key player in the impeachment inquiry, and he has made various unsupported allegations asserting corruption by former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, though there is no evidence of wrongdoing by either of them.
Andriy Telizhenko, a former Ukrainian diplomat and associate of Giuliani, wrote on Twitter Friday that Giuliani was “prepping for tomorrow another hard working day” meeting former Ukrainian prosecutors Yuriy Lutsenko and Viktor Shokin.
“To all conspiracy theorist there is no secret on what we are doing,” Telizhenko wrote. “The TRUTH will come out. God Bless Ukraine and God Bless the United States of America.”
Giuliani, however, told CNN’s Dana Bash Friday morning ET that he was no longer in Ukraine. He did not divulge his current whereabouts.
Telizhenko is a former junior Ukrainian diplomat who previously worked in the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington and has promoted a debunked conspiracy theory that Ukraine, not Russia, conspired to interfere in the 2016 US presidential election. Both Lutsenko and Shokin have helped supply Giuliani’s team with a laundry list of allegations against the Bidens.
On Thursday, another Giuliani associate, Ukrainian lawmaker Aleksander Dubinsky, wrote on his Telegram blog he also had a meeting with Giuliani in Kiev. According to Dubinsky, the two discussed an initiative to set up an investigative commission with Ukraine’s parliament looking into corruption cases.
“Accepted a meeting invitation from Rudy Giuliani,” the post states. “I told him about our plans to create an investigative commission within our parliament, the main purpose of which will be an investigation of the facts of theft of billions of dollars from the Ukrainian budget during the presidency of [Petro] Poroshenko and [Viktor] Yanukovych,” former Ukrainian presidents.
Dubinsky’s ally, lawmaker Andrii Derkach, also met with Giuliani on Thursday and said he invited Giuliani to help set up an anti-corruption group in the Ukrainian parliament to investigate “the effectiveness” of US financial aid to Ukraine.
Ukrainian political activists and anti-corruption experts say Derkach and Dubinsky have suspicious political motives. They are politically marginal figures who have pushed publicly for a probe into a theory that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 US presidential election to aid Democrats.
On Wednesday, The New York Times reported that Giuliani traveled to speak with the former prosecutors for a documentary series meant to bolster unproven and debunked claims of corruption at the heart of the probe.
When asked about the trip, Giuliani’s spokeswoman Christianné Allen said his work was “still confidential.”
“What Mr. Giuliani is doing at this point is still confidential and is for the sole purpose of proving his clients’ innocence. In doing so, he will prove that this latest farce is even more baseless and malicious than the first attempted coup takedown. Once all individuals have returned safely to the United States, we will reveal the significant witnesses involved,” Allen said in a statement to CNN earlier this week.
Phone calls made by Giuliani that were surfaced in a House Intelligence Committee report earlier this week have raised questions about whether Giuliani played a role in holding up nearly $400 million in US military aid to Ukraine, a key element of the Ukraine scandal. Democrats allege Trump abused his power by delaying the aid to Ukraine in order to secure a public announcement of a Ukrainian corruption investigation into Joe Biden, though Trump has denied any wrongdoing and Giuliani has denied playing any role in withholding the aid. Information obtained by CNN has indicated the calls with a number that House investigators say is associated with the White House’s budget office may have simply been calls to and from the White House.
Giuliani also faces continued scrutiny over his business dealings and congressional lawmakers are investigating the motives behind his efforts to oust former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday moved to officially direct the House Judiciary Committee to draw up articles of impeachment against Trump over his dealings with Ukraine.
“The President leaves us no choice but to act because he is trying to corrupt once again the election for his own benefit,” she said in an announcement.