Phone records connect Giuliani to Nunes during Ukraine efforts
Washington — Call records released Tuesday in the House impeachment probe show President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani had extensive contacts with the White House as well as interactions with Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the Intelligence Committee.
Giuliani exchanged phone calls with the White House, Nunes and business associate Lev Parnas at the same time the former New York mayor was calling for Ukraine to investigate the son of the president’s political rival, the records show.
The calls were detailed in a report from the Democratic majority on the Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs committees that concluded that Trump abused his office by pressuring Ukraine’s government to deliver a political favor by announcing an investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, who had been on the board of a Ukrainian energy company.
The report, based on documents and testimony, placed Giuliani at the center of that effort, which included removing the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.
The call records don’t detail what was discussed, but House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff said the records show that “there was considerable coordination among the parties including the White House” in a campaign to oust then-U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch to clear the way for a back-channel effort in Ukraine.
Schiff said the phone records are not complete, and he said “we don’t have all the answers” of who was involved at the White House.
The White House has refused to cooperate with the probe, which the report details as evidence of obstruction.
While Republicans have sought to turn attention to Schiff and what he knows about contacts between his staff and the whistle-blower who effectively set off the impeachment inquiry, the records raise questions about what Nunes knew about Giuliani’s efforts.
The records show calls between Nunes and Giuliani on April 10, and between Nunes and Parnas on April 12. Also on April 12, the records show calls between Giuliani and Parnas, and Giuliani and White House numbers, among others.
Schiff declined to comment specifically about Nunes but said it’s “deeply concerning that at a time when the president of the United States was using the power of his office to dig up dirt on a political rival, that there may be evidence that there were members of Congress complicit in that activity.”
A spokesman for Nunes didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy sidestepped questions about whether Nunes should be forced to explain his role in these conversations and interactions.
“Devin Nunes has a right to talk to anybody,” said McCarthy, a California Republican, at a news conference. He then sought to turn the discussion to criticism of Schiff.
The report said Parnas has been providing documents to the Intelligence Committee in its impeachment inquiry. Parnas and another business associate, Igor Fruman, were assisting Giuliani’s efforts in Ukraine. Both were indicted in October on charges of using foreign money to make illegal campaign contributions.
The contacts were made during the time period when Giuliani was publicly discussing his efforts to pursue investigations into the Bidens and a conspiracy theory about Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election.
The committee found Giuliani in contact on Aug. 8 with phone numbers associated with the White House amid negotiations with Ukrainian officials about announcing investigations. The records also showed European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland in contact with White House and Office of Management and Budget phone numbers on Aug. 9. One of the Sondland calls came minutes before a text message he sent saying that he thought Trump strongly wanted the “deliverable.”
Sondland testified that “the deliverable” referred to an announcement by Ukraine of investigations sought by Trump and Giuliani.
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