Giuliani requested meeting with Ukraine president

A trove of new evidence in the impeachment case against President Donald Trump will be delivered to the Senate by the House Judiciary Committee, according to several House committee chairs who announced the news Tuesday.The evidence includes new text messages and phone records from Lev Parnas, a Ukrainian American business partner of Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer. The trove also includes a letter Giuliani addressed to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.”In my capacity as personal counsel to President Trump and with his knowledge and consent, I request a meeting with you on this upcoming Monday, May 13th or Tuesday May 14th,” Giuliani wrote in the May 10 letter.”I will need no more than a half-hour of your time and I will be accompanied by my colleague Victoria Toensing, a distinguished American attorney who is very familiar with this matter,” Giuliani wrote.Parnas texted a copy of that draft letter to a Zelenskiy aide, according to House Democrats. That meeting was apparently canceled, but Parnas continued to try to schedule a meeting with Zelenskiy.The documents shed new light on the president’s level of involvement in Giuliani’s efforts last spring to pressure the Ukrainian government to open investigations into Trump’s political rivals.They also reveal that Trump personally agreed to let his former attorney, John Dowd, take on Parnas and his associate, Igor Fruman, as legal clients after the two were arrested in October on campaign finance charges.The new information provided by Parnas, which includes copies of handwritten letters, phone records and other back-channel communications with foreign officials, was made public a day before the House votes to send the articles to the Senate for Trump’s impeachment trial.Democrats launched impeachment proceedings in the House in late 2019 to investigate Trump’s efforts to have Zelenskiy announce probes involving former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, as well as a debunked conspiracy theory that Ukraine and not Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election. Trump asked Zelenskiy to announce the probes while hundreds of millions of dollars in congressionally allocated military aid to Ukraine were being withheld without clear explanation.Trump has insisted throughout the impeachment inquiry that he had little to no knowledge of what Giuliani was doing for months in Ukraine, as Giuliani and Parnas sought out Ukrainian lawmakers in the country’s newly elected administration, and tried to press them into helping Trump by politically damaging Trump’s 2020 presidential rival, former Vice President Joe Biden.Giuliani’s claim in the May letter about Trump’s knowledge of his outreach sharply contrasts with Trump’s insistence that he had no idea what Giuliani was doing in Ukraine.As recently as last November, Trump was asked by former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly what Giuliani was doing in Ukraine on Trump’s behalf.Trump replied that had no idea. “You have to ask that to Rudy, but Rudy, I don’t, I don’t even know. I know he was going to go to Ukraine and I think he canceled a trip. But, you know, Rudy has other clients other than me. I’m one person,” Trump told O’Reilly.The president added that Giuliani has done “a lot of work in Ukraine over the years, and I think, I mean, that’s what I heard, I might have even read that someplace.”Trump also claimed not to know about Parnas and Fruman. “I don’t know those gentlemen,” Trump said of Parnas and Fruman in October of last year, after they were arrested at an airport carrying one-way plane tickets out of the U.S.”Now it’s possible I have a picture with them because I have a picture with everybody,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “Somebody said there may be a picture or something at a fundraiser or somewhere. But I have pictures with everybody. … I don’t know, maybe they were clients of Rudy. You’d have to ask Rudy.”But an email between Dowd and Trump’s personal attorney Jay Sekulow, released Tuesday as part of the cache of new evidence, suggests Trump knew the two Giuliani associates previously.”John, I have discussed the issue of representation with the President,” Sekulow wrote to Dowd on Oct. 2 — eight days before Trump denied knowing Parnas and Fruman.”The President consents to allowing your representation of Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman,” Sekulow wrote.This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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