Phone records detail extent of Giuliani, White House contacts

Source: The Hill | December 3, 2019 | Brett Samuels and Morgan Chalfant

The House Intelligence Committee released phone records on Tuesday showing extensive communications between Rudy Giuliani and the White House as well as several other key figures in the impeachment inquiry.

The phone logs revealed frequent contact between President Trump’s personal attorney and the Office of Management and Budget as well as interactions involving Intelligence Committee ranking member Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), Giuliani associate Lev Parnas and John Solomon, a conservative columnist formerly with The Hill.

In one instance, on Aug. 8, Giuliani was in regular contact with the White House as other administration officials sought to finalize a meeting in Washington between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Giuliani connected with the White House switchboard for roughly two minutes at about 12:45 p.m. that day, and he exchanged texts with an unspecified White House phone number roughly 20 minutes later.

A phone number associated with the Office of Management and Budget connected with Giuliani’s phone at about 3:13 p.m. that day for a call that lasted 13 minutes, according to the records.

That evening, a caller from an unidentified number tried to reach Giuliani several times in the span of about 60 seconds. Minutes later, Giuliani phoned the White House switchboard and connected for 47 seconds, the records show.

About 16 minutes after that, the afternoon caller from an unidentified number connected with Giuliani for a call that lasted just over four minutes.

The records do not contain the contents of the calls or identify the individuals Giuliani was reaching out to, but they include details such as the dates, times and durations of the calls.

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The phone records release Tuesday were among the few pieces of new information contained in the committee’s report on the impeachment inquiry. Democrats asserted the call logs will bolster their argument that there was a widespread, coordinated effort to pressure Ukraine to pursue investigations that could benefit Trump’s reelection campaign.

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Tuesday’s report laid out additional contacts among prominent figures in the impeachment inquiry, including Nunes, the Intelligence Committee’s top Republican.

Records showed Nunes and a member of his staff were in contact with Giuliani and Parnas in April and May. On April 12, Nunes and Parnas spoke for more than eight minutes, according to call records.

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Call logs also shed additional light on efforts to discredit former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.

The records showed that Solomon, who wrote opinion pieces for The Hill until September, was in contact with Parnas just hours after publishing a March 20 opinion piece that contained discredited claims about Yovanovitch, accusing her of disparaging Trump.

The committee phone records showed that in total, Parnas exchanged 16 calls with Giuliani between April 1 and April 7 and 10 calls with Solomon during the same time frame.

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Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) declined to discuss when or how the committee obtained the call records when asked about them at a press conference Tuesday afternoon. He said the logs revealed “considerable coordination” from outside parties and the White House in the campaign against Yovanovitch and the Trump administration’s policy toward Ukraine thereafter.

“I can’t go into the specifics of dates in which we obtained certain evidence or indeed whether we obtained communications from one or multiple parties, but certainly the phone records show that there was considerable coordination among the parties, including the White House,” Schiff said.

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Schiff also said the records warranted further investigation by his panel even as it prepares to submit a report to the House Judiciary Committee to consider possible articles of impeachment against Trump.

“There is more investigative work to be done. One of the issues we are looking into is, did this scheme begin far earlier than we first understood?” Schiff said, noting that the committee is investigating whether the administration also sought to pressure Ukraine’s previous president, Petro Poroshenko.

Schiff said he would “reserve comment” on the contacts between Nunes and Giuliani but described it as “deeply concerning” that a member of Congress may have been involved in an effort to investigate a political rival of Trump.

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