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4 December, 2019

A mysterious ‘-1’ and other call records show how Giuliani pressured Ukraine

House Democrats’ impeachment report showed the president’s personal lawyer executing an irregular foreign policy

In the two days before President Trump forced out the American ambassador to Ukraine in April, his personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani was on the phone with the White House more than a dozen times.

Phone records cited in the impeachment report released Tuesday by the House Intelligence Committee illustrate the sprawling reach of Mr. Giuliani’s campaign first to remove the ambassador, Marie L. Yovanovitch, then to force Ukraine’s new government to announce criminal investigations for Mr. Trump’s political gain. 

That effort accelerated through the spring and summer into a full-court press to force Ukraine’s new president to accede to Mr. Trump’s wishes or risk losing $391 million in military assistance desperately needed to hold off Russian-led forces waging a separatist war in eastern Ukraine.

From March 26 to Aug. 8, as he developed an irregular foreign policy channel that eventually sidelined both National Security Council and State Department aides, Mr. Giuliani — who is not a government employee — was in touch with top-ranking officials, the newly revealed call records suggested. 

 

He reached out to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo; the national security adviser at the time, John R. Bolton; Representative Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the Intelligence Committee itself; midlevel White House officials; the Fox News host Sean Hannity; a conservative columnist; an associate who has been charged in a scheme related to Ms. Yovanovitch’s ouster; and the owner of a mysterious number, “-1.” 

Investigators are trying to determine whether the unidentified phone number belongs to Mr. Trump, said Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California, who leads the House Intelligence Committee. If so, the phone calls with Mr. Giuliani could be further evidence of the president’s direct involvement in the Ukraine affair.

 

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