Giuliani in Ukraine meeting with Shokin, Lutsenko

A source directly involved in Rudy Giuliani’s trip to Europe confirms to NBC News that Giuliani is currently in Kyiv conducting interviews as part of his investigation into the Bidens and his bid to undercut the credibility of the impeachment investigation.

Giuliani conducted interviews on Thursday and has more scheduled in Kyiv for Friday, the individual says. Former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin and former prosecutor Kostiantyn Kulyk are both on Giuliani’s list of interviews, the individual says.

Giuliani has thus far declined to confirm the trip to NBC.

His stop in Kyiv comes after an earlier stop this week in Budapest. NBC News reported previously that Giuliani had a private dinner Tuesday evening with the U.S. Ambassador to Hungary, David Cornstein.

The reporter from One America News Network that is traveling with Giuliani, Chanel Rion, confirmed on Twitter that Giuliani was with her for her interview in Budapest this week with former Prosecutor-General Yuriy Lutsenko. She says that Lutsebko said that Marie Yovanovitch lied under oath in the impeachment hearings. Rion has not responded to a request for comment from NBC News.

 

New evidence shows Nunes aide communicated with Parnas on Ukraine

New evidence released Friday by House Democrats shows Derek Harvey, a former White House official and top aide to GOP Rep. Devin Nunes, communicated extensively with Lev Parnas about both Ukraine aid and setting up Skype interviews with former Ukrainian prosecutors.

The messages show that Harvey was far more involved than previously known in what appears to be a robust effort by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee to investigate Ukraine-related matters.

The documents released Friday include messages between Parnas and Harvey arranging times to meet and to speak by phone, and sharing articles and tweets about Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch and alleged Ukrainian meddling in the 2016 election, claims that have been called an unfounded conspiracy theory.

Read the full story.

Meet Trump's legal team for the impeachment trial

The legal team for President Donald Trump's impeachment trial in the Senate includes some high-profile names, including well-known personalities from television appearances and presidencies past, according to sources familiar with Trump's legal strategy.

Here's who's on the team so far, according to the sources.

Article II: Inside Impeachment — Lev Parnas speaks

On Friday’s episode of Article II, host Steve Kornacki talks to Josh Lederman, national political reporter for NBC News, about the new allegations being made by indicted Giuliani associate Lev Parnas and how these claims will factor into a Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.

The two discuss:

  • What’s in the trove of texts, voice mails and other records that were released for possible use during the impeachment trial.
  • Who is implicated by Parnas’s allegations.
  • The possible motivations behind his account.
  • How this new evidence will shape the fight over witnesses and other aspects of the Senate trial.

Download the podcast.

 

ANALYSIS: Trump may discredit an impeachment trial designed to acquit him

As his impeachment trial opens Tuesday, President Donald Trump's instinct for creating chaos represents an imminent threat to Senate Republicans' ability to protect him, and themselves.

That is, the more Trump discredits the Senate during his trial, the more he discredits an outcome engineered to help him now and as he seeks re-election.

For Republicans, the challenge is to acquit Trump while using the trappings of the Senate to present as much of a patina of high-minded fairness and objectivity as possible. And no venue in American politics is more aptly designed to preserve his power than a Senate that has perfected the art of smothering justice with solemnity.

Read the full analysis.

Pompeo vows to 'evaluate' possible surveillance of ex-Ukraine envoy

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday that he will look into revelations that former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch might have been under surveillance, and possibly even in harm's way, before she was ousted last spring in what Democrats allege was part of President Donald Trump's effort to get Ukraine to investigate Democrats.

"We will do everything we need to do to evaluate whether there was something that took place there," Pompeo said in an interview on the conservative talk-radio show "Tony Katz Today." "I suspect that much of what’s been reported will ultimately prove wrong, but our obligation — my obligation as secretary of state — is to make sure that we evaluate, investigate. Any time there is someone who posits that there may have been a risk to one of our officers, we’ll obviously do that."

Ukraine announced this week that it was opening an investigation into the possible surveillance of the ex-U.S. envoy, which recent reports said could violate Ukrainian and international law.

The possibility that Yovanovitch's movements had been closely watched came to light in records House Democrats obtained from Lev Parnas, a close associate of Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. In text messages to Parnas, a Trump donor named Robert Hyde, who is running for a House seat in Connecticut, disparaged Yovanovitch and gave him updates on her location and cellphone use.

Rep. Eliot Engel, a New York Democrat who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee, called upon the State Department to investigate the matter. 

In his interview Friday, Pompeo also said he had never met Parnas "to the best of my knowledge. I’ve never encountered, never communicated with him." 

He added in a separate interview Friday with conservative radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt that he didn't know Yovanovitch was being surveilled: "Until this story broke, I had, to the best of my recollection, had never heard of this at all."