Giuliani Used Back Channels for Ukrainian Official

Elias Hubbard
October 21, 2019

Several Western leaders, including former Vice President Joe Biden, pushed to have Shokin removed as top prosecutor amid concern that he was not pursuing corruption cases.

Kent told Congress that Giuliani wanted a visa so Viktor Shokin could travel to the U.S. and, after the State Department denied the request, Guiliani asked the White House to reverse the decision.

Kent gave a closed-door testimony this week to congressional committees conducting an impeachment inquiry, but sources confirmed to CNN that he testified that Giuliani requested a visa in January 2019 for former Ukrainian prosecutor-general Viktor Shokin to travel to the United States. Rob Blair, a White House aide to acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, consulted with State about the decision and sided with the department's rejection of the visa, according to a person familiar.

Shokin was never granted a visa to visit the USA, but Giuliani did eventually speak with over Skype, CNN reported.

The incident reveals how Giuliani's work to dig up dirt on Democrats went much further than previously understood - and included an attempt to directly influence the actions of the federal government.

The former NY mayor has emerged as a key player in the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, as Congress digs into claims made in a whistleblower complaint from an intelligence official that alleges an abuse of office related to urging Ukrainian officials to pursue investigations into Biden and his son Hunter.

Giuliani did not reply Friday to questions from CNN.

Trump dangled the prospect of hundreds of millions of dollars in military and foreign assistance and of a White House meeting as leverage in his conversation with Zelensky, according to the whistleblower and documents that have since corroborated the whistleblower's account. Kent's lawyer declined to comment for this story.

When asked for comment from CNN, the State Department said it can not discuss details of individual visa cases under federal law.

During the call, Trump asked Zelenskiy to meet with Giuliani and US Attorney General William Barr over claims Biden lobbied for Shokin's dismissal. Kent told investigators that the State Department ultimately denied the request.

Guiliani told CNN that Shokin "believes the current Ambassador Marie L Yovanovitch denied his visa" and said Yovanovitch was 'close to Mr Biden'.

Giuliani also sought the removal of US ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, who was recalled in May before her tour was over.

In fact, US and European officials have said that the investigation into Burisma was dormant at the time of his firing and that Shokin was generally not pursuing corruption aggressively and needed to be removed.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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