In a surprise move, House Democrats just released a trove of fresh impeachment evidence against President Donald Trump Tuesday evening. The documents were provided by Rudy Giuliani’s fixer for Ukraine, Lev Parnas.
The documents, which include Parnas’s handwritten notes, copies of text messages, and other correspondence, reveal some new information — including a copy of a letter from Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani addressed to the President of Ukraine in which Giuliani claimed to be acting with President Trump’s full “knowledge and consent” in his communications with the Ukrainian government.
That letter, which requests a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, directly links Trump to a trip Giuliani described at the time as “meddling in an investigation.”
“In my capacity as personal counsel to President Trump and with his knowledge and consent, I request a meeting with you on this upcoming Monday, May 13th or Tuesday, May 14th,” Giuliani wrote.
One handwritten note of Parnas’s, scribbled on Ritz-Carlton hotel stationery, clearly states his main objective in his dealings with Ukraine: to get Ukraine’s president to announce “the Biden case will be investigated.”
In December, the House voted to impeach Trump for abusing his office by pressuring Ukraine to announce an investigation of Biden and for obstructing the Congressional investigation into what happened.
Republicans have repeatedly defended the president by arguing that the evidence and testimony in the impeachment hearings haven’t linked him closely enough to efforts by those around him, like Giuliani, to get Ukraine to announce an investigation into Biden. But the letter says explicitly that Giuliani had Trump’s full backing and consent, at a time when Giuliani told The New York Times: “I’m asking them to do an investigation.”
The documents also provide the strongest evidence yet that there was a corrupt understanding involving prosecutor general Yuriy Lutsenko (a Ukrainian official in the previous regime). Lutsenko offered to investigate Burisma and the Bidens — and, in exchange, he insisted that US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, whom he had clashed with, be fired. He made this quid pro quo clear in his messages to Parnas.
But most disturbing of all is a set of messages Parnas received from a person named Robert F. Hyde, a Republican congressional candidate. Hyde texted Parnas that he had people tracking Yovanovitch’s movements closely in Ukraine. He claimed he could tell whether her phone and computer were off. And he wrote: “If you want her out they need to make contact with security forces.”
There’s relatively little about Trump specifically here. The overall takeaway is that the effort to get dirt on Biden stunk to high heaven of corruption.
Giuliani told the Ukrainians he was acting on Trump’s behalf: The documents make clear that Giuliani told the Ukrainians he was acting at Trump’s behest. He wrote a letter to Zelensky dated May 10, 2019, while Zelensky was still president-elect and shortly before he was inaugurated, asking for a meeting.
“In my capacity as personal counsel to President Trump and with his knowledge and consent, I request a meeting with you,” Giuliani wrote.
Giuliani did not explain what the meeting was about — but the letter’s date is one day after Giuliani told the New York Times he would soon be traveling to Kyiv to try to get the Ukrainian government to investigate the Bidens and supposed Ukraine interference in the 2016 election.
Giuliani also wrote in the letter that he would be accompanied on the trip by Victoria Toensing, a conservative lawyer involved in the dirt-digging effort (whom Giuliani described as “very familiar with this matter”).
The documents also reveal that when Parnas and Fruman came under scrutiny in the impeachment inquiry (but before his arrest), Trump personally approved his former lawyer John Dowd’s representation of the pair. That’s according to an email from Trump’s lawyer Jay Sekulow.
An intriguing note from Parnas: Another interesting tidbit is a note — which the House Intelligence Committee says Parnas has confirmed he wrote — laying out an apparent to-do list.
The note reads: “get Zalensky to Annonce that the Biden case will be Investigated.” That is, get Ukraine’s new president to announce an investigation of the Bidens.
This is significant because several Trump administration officials, such as Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland, have long claimed they only discussed the possibility of investigating Burisma, the natural gas company whose board Hunter Biden sat on.
But here is Parnas openly referring wanting Ukraine to investigate “the Biden case,” just as Trump said he wanted on his infamous July 25 phone call with Zelensky.