Impeachment Inquiry: US State Department releases Ukraine documents
23 November 2019, 10:02 | Updated: 23 November 2019, 10:03
The US State Department has been forced to release records relating to President Trump's dealings with Ukraine following a Freedom of Information request.
The documents have been released to the ethics watchdog American Oversight, which show repeated contact between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Mr Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.
Mr Giuliani is shown to have been in contact with Mr Pompeo multiple times in the months before the US Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, was recalled in May.
The pair talked on 26 March and 29 March according to the documents.
Austin Evers, executive director of American Oversight, said the documents are clear paper evidence linking Mr Giuliani, Mr Pompeo and President Trump to an alleged smear campaign against Ms Yovanovitch.
He said: “We can see why Mike Pompeo has refused to release this information to Congress.
"It reveals a clear paper trail from Rudy Giuliani to the Oval Office to secretary Pompeo to facilitate Giuliani’s smear campaign against a US ambassador.”
The revelation comes after Ms Yovanovitch told the impeachment enquiry on Wednesday that she felt there had been a smear campaign against her led by Giuliani.
The documents also include a report, apparently in reference to Trump hotel stationery, that includes an interview from 23 January 2019 with Ukraine's former prosecutor general, Victor Shokin.
It says that Mr Giuliani and two associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, were present during the interview.
Parnas and Fruman were arrested last month on charges of conspiracy, making false statements to the Federal Election Commission and falsification of records.
Both men had key roles in Giuliani's plan to force a Ukrainian corruption investigation into President Trump's democratic rival Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
A second memo appears to summarise an interview with Yuri Lutsenko, also a former prosecutor general of Ukraine, conducted in the presence of Mr Giuliani, Mr Parnas and Mr Fruman.
The impeachment enquiry is investigating claims against the President that he threatened to withhold US aid to Ukraine unless they agreed to investigate Mr Biden.
President Trump has strongly denied the claims and called repeatedly called the inquiry a "witch hunt".