The State Department released a cache of records Friday night revealing communication between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Rudy Giuliani, even as the Trump administration continues to stonewall the House impeachment investigation.
The 100 pages of documents show repeated contact in March between Pompeo and Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, with the help of White House officials. They were released at the eleventh hour of a court-ordered deadline as part of a lawsuit by the non-profit watchdog American Oversight to uncover records concerning Trump’s actions on Ukraine.
A March 27 email in the released records revealed Trump’s former personal assistant Madeleine Westerhout helped put Giuliani in contact with Pompeo after Giuliani’s team had “been trying and getting nowhere through regular channels.”
The documents back up bombshell testimony from Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland this week alleging senior administration officials were in the loop on Trump and Giuliani’s efforts to get Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden’s family.
Other witnesses — including Kurt Volker, the former U.S. envoy for the Ukraine peace talks, and David Hale, the top career diplomat at the State Department — also told House investigators that Pompeo had communicated with Giuliani.
Volker offered the caveat that Pompeo didn’t always support the lawyer’s dealings in Ukraine. He told House investigators he expressed concern to Pompeo about Giuliani’s work involving Ukraine, specifically that he was spreading a false narrative about the country to Trump. Volker said Pompeo responded he was “glad” he was trying to correct the narrative.
Publicly, Pompeo has largely kept quiet on the Ukraine saga, drawing criticism for silencing and not protecting his own staffers, including former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, who was recalled from her post in May as Giuliani was kicking off his pressure campaign in the country.
The released documents also include a letter signed by six former U.S. ambassadors praising Yovanovitch.
The documents also reveal Rep. Devin Nunes, an ardent Trump ally and the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, was on Pompeo’s call list only a few days after Giuliani.
The revelation comes just after CNN reported that Lev Parnas, a recently indicted former Giuliani associate, would be willing to tell Congress about an alleged meeting between Nunes and ousted Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin in Vienna last December.
Austin Evers, executive director of American Oversight, said in a statement that the records released Friday offer more damning evidence in the impeachment inquiry and called the administration’s continued efforts to blockade the investigation tantamount to obstruction of justice.
“We can see why Mike Pompeo has refused to release this information to Congress,” Evers wrote. “It reveals a clear paper trail from Rudy Giuliani to the Oval Office to Secretary Pompeo to facilitate Giuliani’s smear campaign against a U.S. ambassador.”
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