Trumps personal lawyer, a pivotal figure in Ukraine scandal, is ordered to hand over materials relevant to impeachment inquiries
Rudy Giuliani, the personal lawyer to Donald Trump, has been subpoenaed by House congressional committees to produce documents related to his and the US presidents attempt to coerce Ukraine into meddling in American democracy.
Giuliani, a former mayor of New York, has emerged as a pivotal figure in the Ukraine scandal that engulfed Trump in recent days and led Democrats to open an impeachment inquiry.
On Monday the Democratic chairs of the intelligence, foreign affairs and oversight committees issued a subpoena to Giuliani, requiring him to hand over materials relevant to the impeachment inquiry by 15 October.
The committees are investigating the extent to which President Trump jeopardized national security by pressing Ukraine to interfere with our 2020 election, their joint letter said. Our inquiry includes an investigation of credible allegations that you acted as an agent of the President in a scheme to advance his personal political interests by abusing the power of the Office of the President.
In response, Giuliani said the chairs have prejudged the case, and that the subpoena raises significant issues concerning legitimacy and constitutional and legal issues including, inter alia, attorney client and other privileges.
Meanwhile the New York Times reported that, in another recent phone call, Trump urged Australias prime minister, Scott Morrison, to help the attorney general, William Barr, discredit the Russia investigation by the special counsel Robert Mueller.
The White House restricted access to the calls transcript to a small group of presidential aides, an unnamed official told the Times, which noted it was an unusual decision that is similar to the handling of a July call with the Ukrainian president.
Barr has also held private meetings overseas with foreign intelligence officials seeking their help in a justice department investigation that Trump hopes will discredit his own intelligence agencies conclusions regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election, the Washington Post reported.
Barr has already made overtures to British intelligence officials, and last week the attorney general traveled to Italy, where he and [John] Durham [the US attorney in Connecticut who is reviewing US intelligence work around the 2016 election] met senior Italian government officials and Barr asked the Italians to assist Durham, according to one person familiar with the matter, the paper said.
Giuliani has been operating outside the state department over the past year to push conspiracy theories about Ukraine. He has held meetings with Ukrainian officials in an attempt to push false allegations that the former vice-president Joe Biden compelled Ukraine to fire a prosecutor investigating his son, Hunter, who was on the board of a Ukrainian gas company.
There is no evidence Joe Bidenor his son, Hunter, engaged in corruption in Ukraine.
The chairs of the three House committees noted that Giuliani has acknowledged his efforts to pressure Ukrainian officials on national TV.
In addition to this stark admission, you stated more recently that you are in possession of evidence in the form of text messages, phone records and other communications indicating that you were not acting alone and that other Trump administration officials may have been involved in this scheme, wrote the House intelligence committee chairman, Adam Schiff, the foreign affairs chairman, Eliot Engel, and the oversight chairman, Elijah Cummings.