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Trump’s State Department busted helping Rudy Giuliani dig up campaign dirt against Joe Biden

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The State Department assisted President Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, in setting up a meeting with a Ukrainian official to “strongly urge” the new administration in Ukraine to launch an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden.

This article originally appeared at Salon.

Giuliani backed out of a planned trip to Kiev earlier this year that was meant to dig up dirt on Biden. But the New York Times now reports the former New York mayor instead traveled to Madrid to meet with a top aide to new Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, with help from the State Department.

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Giuliani told the Times that he “strongly urged” the Ukrainian official, presidential aide Andriy Yermak, to investigate whether there was any impropriety in Biden’s diplomatic efforts in Ukraine while his son worked for a gas company in the country.

Giuliani said he urged Yermak to “just investigate the darn things” and came away “pretty confident they’re going to investigate it.”

Giuliani claimed to the Times that he traveled for the meeting as a “private citizen,” but acknowledged that his travel was arranged with the help of the State Department.

The meeting was arranged with the help of Kurt Volker, a special envoy to Ukraine. Giuliani said he “briefed State Department officials on the back-channel communications” after returning from the trip. He would not say whether Trump was aware of the outreach.

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The move concerned Ukrainian officials, who accused Giuliani of complicating their efforts to set up a meeting between Zelensky and Trump at the White House. Ukrainian officials are worried, according to the Times, that Giuliani’s outreach has created a perception that the meeting would be contingent on the Ukrainian government doing his bidding.

Giuliani “did not totally reject the suggestion that he was complicating relations between the two governments,” the Times reported.

Ukrainian news outlet warned that Zelensky, who was elected in April, risks serious blowback if he works with Trump.

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“If Ukraine supports the current president [i.e., Trump] and sells out Biden, it would become a cause of deep and irreversible processes which later will circle back on Ukraine in a very unpleasant manner,” the site said.

Giuliani was heavily criticized after the Times reported in May that he had actively worked to urge prosecutors appointed by Zelensky’s predecessor to investigate a gas company for which Hunter Biden had worked.

Later that month, the Washington Post reported that Giuliani had met with a former Ukrainian diplomat who had “made unproven claims that the Democratic National Committee worked with the Kiev government in 2016 to dig up incriminating information.”

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After Giuliani’s early efforts were reported, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., and Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., warned Ukrainian officials not to work with Giuliani.

The lawmakers warned that any coordination between the Ukrainian government and Trump’s personal attorney “risk severely jeopardizing support for Ukraine in Congress.”

Yermak told the Times that he did not interpret Hoyer’s message as a warning to avoid investigating Biden.

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Giuliani denied that he did anything wrong by pressuring the Ukrainians to go after Trump’s enemies.

“I wouldn’t do an unethical thing in my life, I’m a really good lawyer,” he told CNN. “I’m proud of what I did.”

But former federal prosecutor Mimi Rocah suggested Giuliani may have gone too far this time.

“There was an outcry, he canceled it, and now he’s just back at it?” she wrote on Twitter. “This seems highly unethical and likely illegal.”

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Igor Derysh is a New York-based political writer whose work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Herald and Baltimore Sun.


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Latest bombshell details Rudy Giuliani’s quid pro quo with Ukraine: ‘Your country owes it to us’

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More details continue to come out about President Donald Trump's alleged extortion of Ukraine for campaign assistance.

The latest revelations came from a report published by The Washington Post Friday evening.

The newspaper flushed out the apparent quid pro quo Trump sought.

"When President Trump spoke on the telephone with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in late July, the Ukrainians had a lot at stake. They were waiting on millions in stalled military aid from the United States, and Zelensky was seeking a high-priority White House meeting with Trump," the newspaper reported. "Trump told his Ukrainian counterpart that his country could improve its image if it completed corruption cases that have 'inhibited the interaction between Ukraine and the USA,' according to a readout of the call released by Kiev."

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Trump ordered ‘moderate’ deployment of troops to defend the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s oil: report

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President Donald Trump ordered U.S. troops to the Middle East, the Department of Defense announced Friday.

"President Trump has approved a 'moderate' deployment of troops to the Middle East to help Saudi Arabia defend itself against Iran, senior Pentagon leaders said in a brief news conference late Friday afternoon," Defense One reports.

"The deployment will be 'defensive in nature' and primarily concentrated on air and missile defense, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joe Dunford said, but provided no details about the precise number of troops to be sent," the publication reported. "Dunford said that the number would be 'not thousands.'”

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Dan Rather has advice for reporters covering ‘Trump extorting the Ukrainian government for his re-election’

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Veteran journalist Dan Rather on Friday offered advice for reporters covering the whistleblowing scandal involving President Donald Trump and Ukraine.

The former anchor for the CBS Evening News had also worked as the White House correspondent for CBS News during the presidency of Richard Nixon.

Rather made his comments after bombshell reports in The Wall Street Journal and Washington Post and New York Times on Friday.

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