Gi­u­liani trav­els to Ukraine for talks

Trump lawyer seen with of­fi­cial call­ing for Bi­den probe

Orlando Sentinel - - NATION & WORLD - By David L. Stern and Robyn Dixon

KYIV, Ukraine — Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s per­sonal lawyer Rudy Gi­u­liani met Thurs­day in Ukraine with a key fig­ure work­ing to build a cor­rup­tion case against Hunter Bi­den, the Ukraine law­maker said, af­ter post­ing Face­book pho­to­graphs of him­self with the for­mer New York mayor.

An­driy Derkach said he pressed Gi­u­liani on the need to set up a joint U.S.-Ukraine in­ves­ti­ga­tion into cor­rup­tion in Ukraine at the meet­ing in Kyiv. Derkach also vowed to set up an anti-cor­rup­tion group in the Ukraine par­lia­ment.

Gi­u­liani made no im­me­di­ate pub­lic com­ments on the meet­ings.

But his pres­ence in Ukraine ad­vances the ef­forts of Trump al­lies to cre­ate an al­ter­na­tive nar­ra­tive in the rapidly mov­ing im­peach­ment in­ves­ti­ga­tion — tap­ping some of Ukraine’s most con­tro­ver­sial fig­ures who have spread the­o­ries of cor­rup­tion and im­pro­pri­ety around Joe Bi­den, his son Hunter Bi­den and Ukrainian in­ter­fer­ence in the 2016 elec­tion.

The New York Times, which first re­ported Gi­u­liani’s trav­els, said he had meet­ings this week in Bu­dapest, Hun­gary and Kyiv to meet cur­rent and for­mer Ukrainian of­fi­cials for a doc­u­men­tary.

Derkach noted that their meet­ing was filmed by “some kind of Amer­i­can tele­vi­sion com­pany” but of­fered no fur­ther de­tails.

“Ru­dolph Gi­u­liani has ar­rived in Kyiv. We met up im­me­di­ately to dis­cuss the es­tab­lish­ment of the Friends of Ukraine STOP Cor­rup­tion in­ter­par­lia­men­tary group,” Derkach said in a Face­book post.

Derkach, an in­de­pen­dent law­maker who was for­merly a mem­ber of a proRus­sian party in par­lia­ment, went to the Dz­erzhin­sky Higher School of the KGB in Moscow. He is the son of a KGB of­fi­cer who later served as head of Ukrainian in­tel­li­gence.

Derkach wrote that Gi­u­liani could help bring ex­perts, jour­nal­ists and an­a­lysts to in­ves­ti­gate cor­rup­tion in Ukraine and “ben­e­fit strate­gic re­la­tions be­tween Kyiv and the United States.”

Derkach said he had sent let­ters Tues­day to key Repub­li­cans, in­clud­ing South Carolina Sen. Lind­say Gra­ham, Cal­i­for­nia Rep. Devin Nunes and White House act­ing chief of staff Mick Mul­vaney, seek­ing their par­tic­i­pa­tion.

He said their in­volve­ment would help ex­pose the in­ef­fec­tive use of U.S. tax dol­lars by Ukrainian au­thor­i­ties.

“We sent our pro­posal. We’re wait­ing for a re­ac­tion, an an­swer. We’re wait­ing to see how much this is some­thing that the con­gress­men and sen­a­tors are in need of. If they want to work to­gether, we’re ready,” Derkach said.

Derkach said he handed Gi­u­liani doc­u­ments out­lin­ing al­le­ga­tions re­lat­ing to in­ef­fi­cient ex­pen­di­ture of U.S. govern­ment money on projects in Ukraine and other mat­ters.

The doc­u­ments do not specif­i­cally men­tion the Bi­dens. But Derkach makes ref­er­ence to the en­ergy com­pany Burisma, which had Hunter Bi­den as a board mem­ber.

Right-wing net­work One Amer­ica News an­nounced Tues­day that it was con­duct­ing a “spe­cial in­ves­ti­ga­tion” with Gi­u­liani, fly­ing three Ukrainian of­fi­cials to the United States and “de­bunk­ing Schiff’s im­peach­ment nar­ra­tive.”

Rep. Adam Schiff, DCalif., chaired the House In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee that handed down a re­port con­clud­ing that Trump sought to un­der­mine U.S. democ­racy and en­dan­gered na­tional se­cu­rity.

Derkach did not state whether the TV crew with Gi­u­liani was from One Amer­ica News.

Derkach and another par­lia­men­tary deputy, Olek­sandr Du­bin­sky, called a news con­fer­ence last month in Kyiv an­nounc­ing plans to launch an in­ves­tiga­tive com­mit­tee of the Ukrainian par­lia­ment, claim­ing cor­rup­tion by top Ukrainian po­lit­i­cal fig­ures and Burisma.

The com­pany is at the heart of the im­peach­ment in­ves­ti­ga­tion, with al­le­ga­tions Trump with­held mil­i­tary aid to press Ukrainian Pres­i­dent Volodymyr Ze­len­skiy to open cor­rup­tion in­ves­ti­ga­tions that could have dam­aged Joe Bi­den, a po­ten­tial ri­val in next year’s pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

An­a­lysts have dis­missed Derkach as spread­ing dis­in­for­ma­tion to sup­port the the­ory, be­ing pro­moted by Trump al­lies, that Bi­den sought the dis­missal of a for­mer Ukraine pros­e­cu­tor gen­eral, Vik­tor Shokin, be­cause he wanted to pro­tect his son.

Ukraine’s pros­e­cu­tor gen­eral, Rus­lan Rya­boshapka,

said in early Oc­to­ber that he would carry out an au­dit to re­view the han­dling of all pre­vi­ous cases in­volv­ing Burisma.

No ev­i­dence of wrong­do­ing by the Bi­dens has emerged, and Euro­pean pow­ers were also seek­ing Shokin’s dis­missal, see­ing him as cor­rupt and an ob­sta­cle to re­form.

Derkach has pre­vi­ously led calls to in­ves­ti­gate the Bi­dens and al­leged Ukrainian in­ter­fer­ence in the 2016 U.S. pres­i­den­tial elec­tions. In 2017, he wrote a let­ter to the Ukrainian pros­e­cu­tor gen­eral’s of­fice, de­mand­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into al­leged in­ter­fer­ence in the elec­tions by Ukrainian of­fi­cials to ham­per Trump’s cam­paign, claim­ing this had “se­ri­ously dam­aged Ukraine-Amer­i­can re­la­tions.”

The July 24, 2017, let­ter came one day be­fore Trump called on the U.S. at­tor­ney gen­eral’s of­fice in a tweet to in­ves­ti­gate “Ukrainian ef­forts to sab­o­tage the Trump cam­paign.”

Derkach and Du­bin­sky, how­ever, seem to be ex­pe­ri­enc­ing dif­fi­culty at­tract­ing the sup­port of 150 mem­bers of par­lia­ment — the num­ber re­quired to form the in­ves­tiga­tive group.

Derkach and Du­bin­sky have “zero” chance of form­ing an in­ves­tiga­tive com­mit­tee, said one par­lia­men­tar­ian Thurs­day, who spoke on the con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause of the sen­si­tiv­ity of the is­sue.

An­ders As­lund, a se­nior fel­low at the At­lantic Coun­cil and an­a­lyst on cor­rup­tion in Rus­sia and Ukraine, tweeted last month that Derkach and oth­ers were spread­ing “lies” on be­half of Trump and Gi­u­liani.

“Stay away from them!

All lies!” he wrote.

He tweeted Wed­nes­day that Gi­u­liani “has cho­sen Ukrainian in­ter­locu­tors who are crim­i­nals & NEVER say any­thing true.”


In a photo posted Thurs­day on the Face­book ac­count of Ukrainian law­maker An­driy Derkach, Rudy Gi­u­liani, left, meets with Derkach in Kyiv. Gi­u­liani has re­port­edly trav­eled to Ukraine and Hun­gary this week for a doc­u­men­tary.

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