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WASHINGTON — House Democrats just unveiled a trove of fresh impeachment evidence against President Trump in a surprise move just days before his impeachment trial is set to kick off in the Senate.
The files include a copy of a letter from Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani addressed to the President of Ukraine that casts Trump as fully aware of Giuliani’s actions in Ukraine — at a moment when Giuliani was publicly calling for the country to investigate Trump’s Democratic 2020 challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden.
That letter, which requests a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, directly links Trump to a trip even Giuliani described at the time as “meddling in an investigation.”
“In my capacity as personal counsel to President Trump and with his knowledge and consent, I request a meeting with you on this upcoming Monday, May 13th or Tuesday, May 14th,” Giuliani wrote.
The disclosures deliver a large new pile of hard evidence to Democrats on the eve of Wednesday’s vote to send articles of impeachment to the Senate for a trial. In December, the House voted to impeach Trump for abusing his office by pressuring Ukraine to announce an investigation of Biden and for obstructing the Congressional investigation into what happened.
Giuliani’s letter and other documents released Tuesday were recently delivered to House Democrats by an embattled Giuliani associate named Lev Parnas, a Ukranian-born businessman who helped Giuliani navigate the country and seek damaging information about Biden.
But Parnas’ alliances shifted after he was federally charged with campaign finance violations for allegedly orchestrating donations to GOP political campaigns on behalf of foreign interests. Parnas has pleaded not guilty. Now, his attorney is launching a public campaign to convince members of Congress to allow Parnas to testify. And that effort has included forwarding documents to Congress that corroborate his potential testimony.
Now, Democrats have begun to reveal just what Parnas gave them, which could spell fresh trouble for Trump at his upcoming impeachment trial.
Note to Self: Get Investigation
The new records include an apparent memo, written by Parnas, about getting Zelensky to announce an investigation of Biden. It’s a rare hardcopy piece of evidence suggesting what the whole scheme was about.
“Get Zalensky [sic] to Annonce [sic] that the Biden case will Be Investigated,” the note reads.
The desire to kickstart an investigation was the same message Trump’s Ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, testified that he delivered to the highest levels of Zelensky’s inner circle.
Sondland has said that he believed it wasn’t necessarily so important to Trump or Giuliani that the investigation actually be launched — but simply that it be announced. That’s prompted Democrats to suggest that Trump was never interested in fighting corruption, as his defenders have maintained, but rather in generating a scandal for his political enemy, Biden.
READ: Gordon Sondland’s testimony is devastating for Trump. Here’s why.
Cover image: President Donald Trump stands for the national anthem before the beginning of the College Football Playoff National Championship game between LSU and Clemson, Monday, Jan. 13, 2020, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)