Giuliani travels to Ukraine for talks
Trump lawyer seen with official calling for Biden probe
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.