2019-12-04 21:13:251 Oct 2018 01:53 AM EST
The further we get into the impeachment inquiry, the more Rudy Giuliani is embedded in it. It just seems like he is there at every turn, and right behind him is Donald Trump.
When the House Intelligence Committee released its impeachment inquiry report on Tuesday, it showed something not disclosed before in testimony or news reports: phone records that appear to have been subpoenaed showing Trump's personal attorney heavily involved with the White House during important moments while the shadow Ukraine policy was being set up.
The records not only show his extensive contact with the White House but with his associate Lev Parnas, one of the two businessmen arrested on unrelated campaign finance violations, and Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), the ranking Republican in the House Intelligence Committee who was one of the Republican faces seen frequently in the impeachment hearings in the Intelligence Committee.
House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA) said in a news conference that "the phone records show that there was considerable coordination among the parties, including the White House."
The phone records are from AT&T and Verizon's "document production," according to the report, making it appear that they were subpoenaed. It's unknown whose phone records they are, but it appears they may be Giuliani's and Parnas's.
In many of Giuliani's calls, he is speaking with someone from a number with an identifier of "-1." These calls are sometimes near other calls to the White House switchboard. It appears "-1" may be Trump. While the report does not spell that out, Schiff suspects it is and reported that they are trying to determine if "-1" is indeed the president.
From the records it can be determined that Giuliani made multiple calls to the White House on April 24. This was the day Marie Yovanovitch was called to Washington and told she had lost Trump's confidence in her position as U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. Giuliani called the White House at least seven times that day and also received a call from a White House number, then spent eight minutes speaking with "-1."
There were several calls and texts in early August between Giuliani, the White House, and the Office of Management and Budget. At this point in the timeline, diplomats were working on setting up a White House meeting between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Included in the communication is a 13-minute call with an OMB official and "-1" on August 8.
In the weeks before former Vice President Joe Biden made it official on April 25 that he was running in the 2020 presidential election, there were contacts between Giuliani, Parnas, and conservative columnist John Solomon, who writes for the Hill.
The columnist wrote a piece alleging that Ukraine had planted the allegations that Russia colluded with the Trump campaign in 2016 on the day Biden officially announced his candidacy. The column also mentioned Biden trying to get a Ukrainian prosecutor removed when he was veep and questioned whether he had done so because his son Hunter served on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company.
That evening Giuliani received a call from "-1" and spoke with that person for nearly five minutes. Just a few moments later, he spoke to Fox News host Sean Hannity for 36 seconds. Trump was a guest on his show later that night. He asked Trump to respond to Solomon's column, and the president replied, "That sounds like big, big stuff. I'm not surprised."
There were also a number of calls between Nunes and Giuliani and between Nunes and Parnas earlier this year. Parnas's attorney, Joseph Bondy, has alleged that Nunes and his staff were helping Giuliani pin the Bidens to trouble in Ukraine. He reportedly made a trip there a year ago.
In May Giuliani announced he would be traveling to Ukraine to meet Zelensky and to gather dirt on the Bidens. He came under attack for that, and on May 10 he played phone tag with National Security Council official Kash Patel, who previously worked for Nunes. The two eventually connected and spoke for 25 minutes. Five minutes later he spoke with "-1" for more than 17 minutes.
Patel has denied former Russia adviser Fiona Hill's testimony that he was a back-channel to Trump on issues relating to Ukraine. "At no time have I ever communicated with the president on any matters involving Ukraine," he said earlier this year.
"Any reporting to the contrary and any testimony provided to Congress is simply false, and any current or former staff who suggest I have raised or discussed Ukraine matters with President Trump are similarly misinformed or spreading outright falsehoods."
After Giuliani's calls with Patel and "-1," he made an appearance on Fox News and announced he'd be canceling his Ukraine trip because Zelensky was surrounded by "enemies of the president."
Nunes made an appearance on Hannity's show this week and said he has known Giuliani for a long time and spoke with him about Robert Mueller's investigations. He said he didn't recall the name "Parnas" but said it was possible he had spoken to him but wanted to check his phone records.
"But it seems very unlikely I'd be taking calls from random people," he noted.
Edward B. MacMahon Jr., another of Parnas's attorneys, mentioned that "with appropriate protections," his client would answer the questions left open from the calls.
"All phone records show you is that a phone call was made," he said. "It takes a participant in the phone call to tell you what was said."
This seems to be alluding to Parnas's request for immunity from Congress before he testifies. With pending campaign finance charges against him, it's unlikely he'll be granted immunity, meaning he probably won't be providing answers to those questions about the phone calls anytime soon.
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