House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff, a California Democrat, dropped a new slate of deeply revealing evidence Tuesday night in the impeachment case against President Donald Trump.
Though the evidence doesn’t change the basic narrative of the case against Trump — that he and a group of his cronies used the administration in various ways to put pressure on Ukraine to announce investigations into his political rivals as the 2020 campaign heated up — it adds more color and detail to the story and should make the president’s culpability in a disturbing plot even harder for his Republican allies to deny.
Here are seven stunning new facts the new evidence revealed:
1. Rudy Giuliani told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky he’s working with Trump’s “knowledge and consent.”
Writing to Zelensky on May 10, when Giuliani was trying to plan a trip to Ukraine to pressure the country into investigating former Vice President Joe Biden, the president’s lawyer wrote that he is acting with Trump’s “knowledge and consent.” This claim fundamentally undercuts the argument some defenders of the president have been inclined to make that Giuliani was operating as a rogue agent.
2. In the same letter, Giuliani says he is acting in his “capacity as personal counsel to President Trump.”
“I am private counsel to President Donald J. Trump,” Giuliani wrote. “Just to be precise, I represent him as a private citizen, not as President of the United States.”
This confirms, as many have argued repeatedly, that Giuliani’s efforts in Ukraine were clearly for Trump’s personal benefit, not the country’s. That’s part of the reason why it was so grossly wrong, and indeed impeachable, for him to use the powers of his office to induce Ukraine to announce an investigation into Biden and other political opponents.
AMONG THE EVIDENCE: A letter from Giuliani to Zelensky seeking a May meeting which he says has Trump's "knowledge and consent." pic.twitter.com/GLkcP2TOfs
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) January 14, 2020
3. Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow gave John Dowd, another attorney, permission from the president to defend Igor Furman and Lev Parnas, two of Giuliani’s associates who have been indicted on campaign finance charges, in part, for their Ukraine-related work.
Trump has claimed he doesn’t know who Furman and Parnas are, even though he has appeared in pictures with them. This evidence makes it harder to believe this is true and raises more questions about why he was trying to conceal his dealings with them.
4. Parnas wrote notes on Ritz-Carlton stationery suggesting he was directly involved with the Ukraine scheme.
“get Zalensky [sic] to Annonce [sic] that the Biden case will Be Investigated,” he wrote.
In a letter to House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler, Schiff said Parnas’ lawyer confirmed that he wrote the note.
5. Parnas texted with a man named Robert F. Hyde, believed to be the same person who is running for a House seat in Connecticut, about removing former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch.
In response to some articles, tweets, and videos accusing the Ambassador of being disloyal to President Trump, Mr. Hyde wrote “Wow. Can’t believe Trumo [sic] hasn’t fired this bitch. I’ll get right in that. Mr. Hyde then sent a series of text messages suggesting that he had Ambassador Yovanovitch under physical surveillance in Kyiv and that “They are willing to help if we/you would like a price.”
6. Parnas was also communicating with Ukrainian officials which, Schiff argued, demonstrated “that Mr. Parnas served as a direct channel between President Trump’s agent, Mr. Giuliani, and individuals close to President Volodymyr Zelensky.”
Parnas tried to set up a meeting for Giuliani and Zelenksy in May 2019 via senior aides to the Ukrainian president, the texts show.
7. Giuliani tried to get a visa approved for a disgraced former Ukrainian prosecutor.
Parnas told Giuliani that former Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin, who has been feeding the unsupported allegations against Biden, was denied a visa to the U.S. Giuliani said in response: “I can revive it,” despite having no formal role at the State Department.