It’s all Rudy Giuliani’s fault

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and President Donald Trump
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and President Donald Trump
Carolyn Kaster/AP/REX/Shutterstock
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and President Donald Trump.

It’s all Rudy Giuliani’s fault

A timeline of the Trump-Giuliani Ukraine scheme.
November 22, 2019

The historic public impeachment hearings on President Donald Trump have kicked into high gear, as the House Judiciary Committee commenced its impeachment hearings on Wednesday.

In a rather surprising move, former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney, is abroad, meeting with former Ukranian prosecutors and officials in Europe as the House impeachment continues and the legal scrutiny of his business endeavors intensifies.

In September, a plot to pressure Ukraine to help sway the 2020 presidential election in Trump’s favor, forged largely by Giuliani, began to unravel. On Sept. 19, both the Post and The New York Times reported that a whistleblower made a complaint that Trump had made inappropriate promises to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky. And in August, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs announced that it would be launching an investigation into a possible “scheme,” involving both Giuliani and Trump, to pressure Ukraine into helping the president get reelected. During an appearance on "Cuomo Prime Time,” on Sept. 19, Giuliani admitted to asking Ukraine to investigate former Biden and his son – though he initially denied doing so. 

Sept. 24, The Washington Post posted a report detailing how Giuliani orchestrated a massive scheme to get Ukraine to comply with his and the president’s demands to unearth information about former Vice President Joe Biden, in exchange for $250 million in military aid to fend off Russia – already approved by Congress – which Trump had halted for leverage.

Following Giuliani’s admission and mounting pressure from many representatives, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the opening of an impeachment inquiry on Sept. 24. Following 16 closed-door interviews conducted by the House in October, the impeachment hearing is now going public and Giuliani’s involvement in the Ukraine-plot is becoming clearer. Here’s a timeline of how Giuliani attempted to sway Ukraine into investigating Biden:

April 2018: Giuliani associates tell Trump U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine doesn’t share his interests

Giuliani associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman – who are tied to the ousting of Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, and have been arrested for conspiracy and campaign finance violations – attended a private dinner with Trump, intended to be an intimate gathering for PAC donors to mingle with the president. At the dinner, Parnas and Fruman told Trump they didn’t believe Yovanovitch, cared for Trump or his interests, the Post reports. Trump reportedly had a strong reaction to the news and suggested Yovanovitch be fired. 

February: Giuliani associates meet with former Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko

Parnas and Fruman met with then-Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko, reportedly at Giuliani’s behest (who was taking orders from Trump), according to the Post. The pair reportedly put pressure on Poroshenko to announce an investigation into Hunter Biden in addition to a theory that Ukraine interfered with the U.S.’ 2016 election in exchange for a state visit.

March: Giuliani begins pursuing staff changes in the U.S.’s Ukraine embassy

After the conclusion of Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller, III’s special investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, Giuliani began looking into changing up the U.S.’s Ukraine embassy’s staff – setting his sights on Yovanovitch, according to the Post. He also began pushing for a meeting with Zelensky around this time and reportedly had his own proxies stationed in Ukraine.

April 7: Giuliani suggests Biden had an inappropriate relationship with Ukraine 

The former mayor claimed that when he was vice president, Joe Biden had pushed for the removal of Viktor Shokin, in 2016 – a top Ukranian prosecutor. Shokin been looking into Burisma. However, multiple Western governments and international organizations were calling for Shokin’s firing because of his alleged corruption and Shokin had stopped investigating Burisma two years earlier. 

April: Giuliani meets with Zelensky

Giuliani first met with Zelensky in April, according to the Post, prior to the newly-elected official being sworn into office in May. 

May 9: Yovanovitch is ousted

Yovanovitch was ousted from her position, following accusations from Giuliani, who alleged she was involved in exposing Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s crimes of federal bank and tax fraud. Manafort was sentenced to seven and a half years in federal prison, back in March. Giuliani also falsely alleged that Yovanovitch, a career foreign service officer, was working for liberal billionaire George Soros. Soros is Jewish and false allegations that he is the mastermind of complex conspiracies are a staple of right-wing, anti-Semitic politics

July 25: Trump calls Zelensky

During a phone call between Trump and Zelensky, the president asked the Ukranian president to work with Giuliani on an investigation into Biden’s son eight times, according to the Wall Street Journal. On Wednesday, the White House released a transcript – which is noted as being “not a verbatim transcript” – of his call with Zelensky, in which he urges the Ukranian president to work with Giuliani on the investigation. 

August: Giuliani meets with Zelensky’s senior aides in Madrid

Giuliani cancelled his trip to the Ukraine on May 10, amid criticism, after it was discovered that he was planning to urge the Ukranian government to provide him with details about Biden’s son’s involvement with a Ukranian gas company. "I'm convinced from what I've heard from two very reliable people tonight that the president (Zelensky) is surrounded by people who are enemies of the president (Trump), and people who are -- at least (in) one case -- clearly corrupt and involved in this scheme," Giuliani told Fox News, announcing the cancellation of his trip.

However, in August, Giuliani met with Andriy Yermak, one of Zelensky’s senior aides in Madrid, according to the Journal. The newspaper also indicated that Giuliani met with someone from the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s office in Paris in June.

Sept. 9: House announces investigation into Giuliani-Trump Ukraine scheme

The House Committee on Foreign Affairs launches an investigation into a possible Giuliani-Trump “scheme” to pressure Ukraine into helping the president get reelected.

Sept. 19: Giuliani admits to putting pressure on Ukraine to dig up Biden dirt

During an appearance on "Cuomo Prime Time” last Thursday, Giuliani admitted to asking Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.

Nov. 7: Giuliani aggressively tried to tarnish Yovanovitch’s reputation

During a closed-door deposition, a part of the House’s impeachment inquiry, Kent testified that Giuliani made “assertions and allegations against former Ambassador Yovanovitch were without basis, untrue, period.”

Nov. 13: Giuliani created “irregular” policies for dealing with Ukraine

At the House Intelligence Committee’s public hearing, Taylor accused Giuliani of creating “highly irregular” policies for U.S.’ dealings with Ukraine, which were not in line with the U.S.’ policy making practices or goals. 

Nov. 15: Yovanovitch says Giuliani and associates led campaign to get her fired 

The former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine told the House Intelligence Committee that Giuliani worked with an unscrupulous Ukranian prosecutor to force her out of her position. Yovanovitch also said that Giuliani’s associates Parnas and Fruman led a smear campaign against her, which turned the president against her and ultimately cost her her job.

Nov. 20: Ambassador Sondland says he worked with Giuliani to pressure Ukraine

Republican megadonor Gordon Sondland, who was appointed by Trump to be the ambassador to the European Union – following a hefty $1 million donation to the president’s inauguration – informed the House Intelligence Committee that he and several other White House officials helped pressure Ukraine to investigate the Biden family in exchange for military aid “because the president directed us to do so.” The ambassador said that he came to his own conclusion that military aid would not be provided to Ukraine unless it was willing to conduct the investigation.

Sondland also said that he, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Kurt D. Volker, who was the president’s special envoy for Ukraine at the time, didn’t feel comfortable working with Giuliani but did so at the president’s behest. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was instructing Volker to speak with Giuliani as recently as September, despite the Ukraine plot gaining significant media attention, according to Sondland.

Nov. 21: Hill and Holmes say Burisma was code for the Biden investigation 

Dr. Fiona Hill, the former top Russia advisor on the National Security Council and David Holmes, a top aide in the United States Embassy in Kyiv told the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday, it was evident that when Trump, Giuliani and others mentioned Burisma they were alluding to Trump’s desire to have Ukraine investigate the Bidens. 

Hill also described an uncomfortable meeting that took place with Ukranian officials at the White House on July 10, after which Sondland told her that he and White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney were pressuring Ukraine to investigate the Bidens in exchange for a meeting with the president. Following this exchange with Sondland, Hill told then-national security adviser John Bolton what Sondland had said to her. Bolton directed Hill to tell the National Security Council’s top lawyer what Sondland, Giuliani, and Mulvaney were doing. 

Nov. 22: Documents reveal Giuliani and Pompeo conspired to oust Yovanovitch

Giuliani was conversing with Pompeo within the months leading up to Yovanovitch’s abrupt termination, according to new documents released by the State Department in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the American Oversight ethics watchdog group.

According to American Oversight, the documents reveal a “clear paper trail” from Giuliani to Pompeo to orchestrate his smear campaign against Yovanovitch. 

Dec. 3: Giuliani’s foreign policy practices revealed

Call records included in the House Intelligence Committee’s impeachment report, released on Dec. 2, reveal that Giuliani made over a dozen calls to the White House in April, prior to Yovanovitch’s ousting. The calls illuminate the breadth of Giuliani’s campaigns to expel Yovanovitch and pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens – in addition to how he circumvented the National Security Council and State Department aides to create his own unorthodox foreign policy channel. 

The records also revealed that Giuliani frequently connected with the owner of a mysterious “-1” phone number, who has yet to be identified. 

Dec. 3: It’s reported that Giuliani has traveled to Europe to interview Ukranians

Amid the start of the House Judiciary Committee’s impeachment hearings this week, The New York Times reported that Giuliani has been in Budapest and Kyiv to interview former Ukranian prosecutors for a documentary series. 

Giuliani met with former prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko in Budapest on Tuesday, then traveled to Kyiv to meet with former prosecutors Viktor Shokin and Kostiantyn H. Kulyk on Wednesday. Also in attendance with Giuliani during his time in Budapest were former Ukranian officials Andrii Telizhenko and Andrii V. Artemenko, who have been very supportive of Trump’s presidency.

All of the Ukranian prosecutors Giuliani met with have either faced corruption allegations, are tied with efforts to investigate the Biden family, the Yovanovitch smear campaign or are responsible for sharing damaging information about Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort – who was sentenced to 47 months in prison, in early March.

The series is being produced for the conservative cable channel One America News and is intended to promote Giuliani’s anti-impeachment agenda.

Amanda Luz Henning Santiago
Amanda Luz Henning Santiago
is City & State's web reporter and social media editor.
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