Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani was in contact with secretary of state Mike Pompeo in the months before the US ambassador to Ukraine was abruptly recalled, according to a cache of documents released by on Friday.
The state department released the documents to the group American Oversight in response to a freedom of information lawsuit. They show that Pompeo talked with Giuliani on 26 March and 29 March.
Austin Evers, executive director of American Oversight, said the documents reveal a clear paper trail from Giuliani to Trump to Pompeo in order to enable the smear campaign against the now ousted envoy in Kyiv, Marie Yovanovitch.
“We can see why Mike Pompeo has refused to release this information to Congress. It reveals a clear paper trail from Rudy Giuliani to the Oval Office to secretary Pompeo to facilitate Giuliani’s smear campaign against a US ambassador,” he said.
Last week, Yovanovitch told House impeachment investigators she felt kneecapped by a smear campaign Giuliani led against her. She was withdrawn from her post in Ukraine in May.
The documents released late on Friday also include a report, apparently on Trump hotel stationery, that appears to summarise an interview on 23 January 2019 with Ukraine’s former prosecutor general, Victor Shokin. The summary says Giuliani and two business associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, were present.
Parnas and Fruman were arrested last month on a four-count indictment that includes charges of conspiracy, making false statements to the Federal Election Commission and falsification of records. The men had key roles in Giuliani’s efforts to launch a Ukrainian corruption investigation against Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
In the document, Shokin claims he was removed from his position under pressure from Biden.
A second memo appears to be a summary of an interview with Yuri Lutsenko, also a former prosecutor general of Ukraine, conducted in the presence of Giuliani, Parnas and Fruman. Lutsenko is quoted raising questions about compensation that Hunter Biden received from the Ukrainian oil company Burisma.