About 100 pages of newly released State Department documents show Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani had at least two phone conversations in the weeks before a U.S. ambassador in Ukraine was removed from her post.
Additionally, the files show a White House aide played a role in connecting Giuliani’s team with officials at the State Department so that Giuliani could get on Pompeo’s official call schedule in late March.
The conversations between Pompeo and Giuliani took place around the time Giuliani and two of his associates were working to push U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch from office. She was recalled from her post in Kyiv in May.
These events are central to the impeachment inquiry being led by House Democrats against President Trump. It also pulls Pompeo, who has sought to distance himself from the Ukraine affair, closer to the center of the crusade to oust Yovanovitch.
The documents were released late Friday by the group American Oversight, which bills itself as a nonpartisan ethics watchdog group. The documents were obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the organization.
Austin Evers, the executive director of American Oversight, promises more documents will be released in the future, adding the documents are evidence of “a clear paper trail.”
“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,” Evers said in a statement.
The State Department has not responded to requests for comment.
What is in the documents?
The documents show Pompeo and Giuliani spoke twice in late March but do not reveal what was discussed.
The timing of the calls — and how they were arranged — appears to underscore testimony during this week’s impeachment inquiry from U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, who testified that everyone “was in the loop” when it came to the Trump administration and the Ukraine affair.