We’re Suing the State Department for Giuliani-Ukraine Documents

En Español

American Oversight today sued the State Department for documents related to the efforts by the president’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani — who was subpoenaed Monday by three congressional committees — to pressure Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 election.

Our investigation into Giuliani’s attempts to have a foreign country investigate one of President Donald Trump’s potential 2020 opponents began after Giuliani announced his plans to visit Ukraine back in May, when we filed Freedom of Information Act requests for State Department communications about the efforts. We also requested records about the May recall of the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch.

The government’s failure to provide the documents even after our September expedition request prompted today’s lawsuit, which also seeks communications with or about Victoria Toensing and Joseph diGenova, two other personal lawyers who helped Giuliani with the Ukraine plan.

Despite near-daily revelations of the extent of Trump’s personal involvement, it is not yet known how many other Trump administration officials took part in the effort and whether it went beyond Trump’s decision to withhold congressionally approved military aid for Ukraine. The White House–released readout of Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky shows the president not only mentioning Giuliani, but also Attorney General William Barr, who was reported on Monday to have asked British and Italian officials to help U.S. Attorney John Durham in his investigation of intelligence agencies’ 2016 election interference investigation.

American Oversight is also investigating the Justice Department’s — specifically Durham’s — participation in the Ukraine pressure campaign. The Washington Post reported on Monday that Durham had traveled with Barr to Italy last week, and the intelligence community whistleblower complaint that sparked the House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry noted that Giuliani had told Fox News on August 8 that Durham was “spending a lot of time in Europe” and was “investigating Ukraine.” In August, we filed two lawsuits for all directives or guidance given to Durham, as well as any communications Durham had with Barr or the White House.

“This wasn’t just one phone call or Rudy Giuliani acting on his own,” said Austin Evers, American Oversight’s executive director. “This was a months-long, coordinated effort across multiple federal departments that hijacked American foreign policy to benefit Trump’s campaign, and the public needs to know who else was involved.

“We need a full accounting of what government resources were used as muscle behind the president’s efforts to abuse his power for his own personal and partisan interests at the expense of our national security.”

American Oversight’s lawsuit hopes to shed light on key unanswered questions:

Are there other transcripts or accounts of Trump’s July 25 phone call with Zelensky?

According to the whistleblower complaint, State Department official T. Ulrich Brechbuhl listened to that phone call. Our lawsuit seeks copies of records reflecting any of Brechbuhl’s communications about Giuliani’s plans — which would include any communications regarding Trump’s call.

How involved were Pompeo or other senior State Department officials?

Giuliani has boasted on television that he was “operating at the request of the State Department.” It is almost inconceivable that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his staff would have been unaware of or uninvolved in an effort that was such a high priority for the president. We’re looking for related communications from Pompeo as well as Deputy Secretary John Sullivan, Brechbuhl, Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook, and others.

Why was Yovanovitch recalled and was that decision directly related to the effort to pressure Ukraine?

In the call memorandum released by the White House last week, Trump referred to former Ambassador Yovanovitch as “bad news” immediately before asking Zelensky to “look into” Biden and Biden’s son. The lawsuit also involves Pompeo’s and other senior officials’ correspondence about Yovanovitch, including with the White House, as well as communications sent to or from Yovanovitch during her final two weeks as ambassador.

What role did Toensing and diGenova play in the effort to pressure Ukraine? 

On September 29, Fox News’ Chris Wallace reported that U.S. officials had confirmed that Trump had used the controversial lawyers as conduits between the president and Ukraine. Toensing and diGenova have histories of pushing conspiracies about efforts within the government to frame, discredit and remove Trump.

In addition to the litigation mentioned above, we have submitted 27 further FOIA requests to the Departments of State, Treasury, Justice, Energy, and Defense, as well as the Office of Management and Budget and the U.S. Agency for International Development. We’re seeking the calendars and communications of former U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker with Giuliani or about the effort; Justice Department communications about the whistleblower memo; and Defense and OMB records regarding the withholding of military aid. If the Trump administration fails to respond to those requests and release records as required by law, we’re prepared to pursue further litigation to ensure the public learns the truth.

Today’s lawsuit, as well as the other FOIA requests and lawsuits in American Oversight’s investigation, can be found here.

 

Grupo de Vigilancia Demanda al Departamento de Estado por Documentos Sobre Giuliani-Ucrania

La organización independiente sin fines de lucro, American Oversight, hoy demandó al Departamento de Estado para solicitar la divulgación de comunicaciones entre de Rudy Giuliani y altos funcionarios del Departamento, además de otras comunicaciones sobre esfuerzos para presionar a Ucrania a investigar al candidato presidencial Joe Biden y su hijo. La demanda judicial también pide archivos sobre el retiro de la ex-embajadora estadounidense a Ucrania, Marie Yovanovitch, además de comunicaciones entre el Departamento de Estado y abogados personales del Presidente Trump, Victoria Toensing and Joseph diGenova. 

La demanda presentada hoy en el Tribunal federal del distrito del Distrito de Columbia pide a un juez federal ordenar al Departamento de Estado a cumplir con dos peticiones de la Ley de Libertad de Información (o FOIA, en inglés) que American Oversight presentó en el mayo de 2019, un poco después de que Giuliani anunció sus planes de viajar a Ucrania para urgir una investigación sobre Biden. 

“Esto no fue solo una llamada telefónica, o una sola acción de Rudy Giuliani. Esto fue un esfuerzo coordinado, de varios meses, a través de varios departamentos federales, para secuestrar la política exterior de los Estados Unidos para beneficiar a la campaña de Trump, y el público necesita saber quién más estuvo involucrado,” dijo Austin Evers, director ejecutivo de American Oversight. “Necesitamos un informe completo de cuáles recursos del gobierno fueron utilizados como la fuerza detrás del abuso de poder por parte del presidente para sus propios intereses personales y políticos, a costa de nuestra seguridad nacional.”

A pesar de revelaciones nuevas, casi diarias, sobre el enredo personal del Presidente Trump – y los televisados mensajes de texto de Rudy Giuliani mostrando sus contactos con funcionarios del Departamento de Estado – aún no se sabe cuántos otros officiales de la administración de Trump participaron en este esfuerzo, y si fue más allá de retener ayuda militar.

La demanda de American Oversight espera arrojar luz sobre las siguientes preguntas que siguen sin respuestas: 

¿Qué tan involucrados estuvieron el Secretario de Estado Mike Pompeo o otros funcionarios con altos cargos del Departamento de Estado en la coordinación del esfuerzo para influir a Ucrania? 

Giuliani ha presumido en televisión que él estaba “operando a solicitud del Departamento de Estado.” La cobertura de prensa indica que el Secretario de Estado Mike Pompeo escuchó la llamada telefónica del Presidente Trump del 25 de julio con el presidente de la Ucrania Volodymyr Zelensky – contradiciendo sus declaraciones iniciales que él no tenía conocimiento del reporte del denunciante. La demanda de American Oversight busca comunicaciones sobre Giuliani o el esfuerzo en Ucrania por parte de Pompeo, además de el subsecretario John Sullivan, Consejero del Secretario T. Ulrich Brechbuhl, Representante Especial para Irán Brian Hook, tanto como otros miembros con altos cargos del Departamento de Estado.

¿Hay otras transcripciones o reportes de la llamado telefónica del 25 de julio entre el Presidente Trump y el Presidente de Ucrania Volodymyr Zelensky? 

De acuerdo con la queja del denunciante, el oficial del Departamento de Estado T. Ulrich Brechbuhl también escucho esa llamada telefónica. La demanda de American Oversight busca copias de documentos que reflejen cualquier comunicación de Brechbuhl o Pompeo con respeto a los planes de Giuliani a comunicarse con Ucrania o algún otro esfuerzo para urgir al gobierno de Ucrania a investigar a Biden – que claramente incluiría cualquier comunicación sobre la llamada telefónica de Trump. 

¿Por qué fue la embajadora Yovanovitch retirada de su puesto y esa decisión fue directamente relacionada con el esfuerzo de presionar a Ucrania a investigar a Biden? 

En el memo de la llamada que fue publicada la semana pasada por la Casa Blanca, Trump se refirió a Yovanovitch como “malas noticias” inmediatamente antes de que él le preguntó al presidente de la Ucrania a investigar a Biden y su hijo. La demanda de American Oversight busca comunicaciones entre Pompeo y otros oficiales con altos cargos sobre Yovanovitch; comunicaciones entre la Casa Blanca y el Departamento de Estado sobre el retiro; y cables, correos electrónicos, y cartas enviados a o de Yovanovitch durante sus últimas dos semanas como embajadora.

¿Qué papel jugaron los abogados personales de Trump, Victoria Toensing and Joseph diGenova, con el esfuerzo a presionar el gobierno de Ucrania? 

El 29 de septiembre, el presentador de Fox News Chris Wallace reportó que oficiales estadounidenses confirmaron que el Presidente Trump había trabajado con los abogados Victoria Toensing and Joseph diGenova como vías entre él mismo y Ucrania. Toensing y diGenova son conocidos por difundir teorías conspiratorias sobre esfuerzos interiores en el gobierno que quieren tender una trampa, desacreditar y remover al Presidente Trump. La demanda de American Oversight demanda la divulgación de comunicaciones entre Toensing o diGenova, y el Departamento de Estado. 

American Oversight también está investigando si el Departamento de Justicia – y, específicamente, el abogado de EEUU John Durham – participó en el esfuerzo para presionar a Ucrania a investigar a Biden. La queja del denunciante menciona que Giuliani le había dicho a Fox News el 8 de agosto que Durham “estaba pasando mucho tiempo en Europa” y estaba “investigando a Ucrania.” Reciente noticias han indicado que Durham está investigando el papel de Ucrania en las primeras etapas de la investigación sobre la interferencia de Rusia en la elecciones del 2016. 

En agosto 2019, American Oversight presentó dos demandas buscando “todos los directivos o guías” proporcionados a Durham para su investigación – tanto como todas las comunicaciones entre Durham y el Procurador General William Barr o la Casa Blanca. 

Además de esta litigación, American Oversight ha archivado 27 otras solicitudes de FOIA con los Departamentos de Estado, Tesorería, Justicia, Energía, y Defensa, tanto como la Oficina de Gestión y Presupuesto con respeto al esfuerzo de Ucrania. Estas solicitudes buscan documentos incluso: comunicaciones del Representante Especial de los Estados Unidos para Ucrania Kurt Volker con Giuliani o sobre otros esfuerzos a presionar el gobierno de la Ucrania a investigar a Biden, los calendarios de Volker durante el período del tiempo relevante, comunicaciones del Departamento de Justicia sobre la queja del denunciante, y documentos del Pentágono y la Oficina de Gestión y Presupuesto con respeto a la retención de ayuda militar. Si la administración de Trump falla en responder a estas solicitudes y en divulgar estos documentos como requeridos por ley, el grupo de vigilancia está preparado a seguir litigando para garantizar que el público aprenda la verdad. 

La litigación de hoy está disponible aquí: https://www.americanoversight.org/document/complaint-american-oversight-v-state-ukraine-communications-with-state-department-officials 

Más sobre la investigación de American Oversight disponible aquí:

https://www.americanoversight.org/investigation/the-trump-administrations-contacts-with-ukraine 

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