(CN) – President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani had multiple phone calls with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo weeks before the ouster of U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, according to State Department records released under court order Friday evening.
The documents were released to the watchdog group American Oversight in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. Among the records are confirmations of phone calls between Giuliani and Pompeo in late March, set up by President Donald Trump’s assistant Madeline Westerhout, suggesting that the president facilitated the call.
Yovanovitch testified to House investigators last week that she felt she was “kneecapped” by a “smear campaign” led by Giuliani and Trump. She was removed from her post in May.
Pompeo had previously refused to hand over such documents to House investigators in the impeachment inquiry. Austin Evers, executive director of American Oversight said the documents show why.
“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 U.S. ambassador,” Evers said.
Evers said the fact that his group could obtain the records demonstrates that there is “no legal basis” for withholding them from Congress.
“That conclusively shows that the administration is engaged in obstruction of justice. The president and his allies should ask themselves if impeachment for obstruction is worth it if the strategy isn’t even going to be effective,” Evers said.
The records also contain memos from Giuliani sent to Pompeo about a Jan. 23, 2019 meeting with Ukraine’s former prosecutor general Victor Shokin. Giuliani and two of his business associates, Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas, were recorded as being present for the meeting. Shokin was removed from his job in 2016 amid concerns that he was not investigating corruption cases.
The two associates were indicted last month on charges of lying to the Federal Election Commission, conspiracy and falsifying records.
Other memos detailed Giuliani’s discussions with Ukrainian prosecutors about former Vice President Joe Biden and Yovanovitch, as well as a phone call between Rep. Devin Nunes, ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, and Pompeo. Nunes is the latest Republican to be accused of conducting research on Democrats overseas.
A lawyer for Parnas said Friday his client would be willing to testify about Nunes’ meeting with Shokin in Vienna last year, according to CNN.
“Nunes had told Shokin of the urgent need to launch investigations into Burisma, Joe and Hunter Biden, and any purported Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election,” Bondy said.
Though congressional travel records show Nunes traveled to Europe Nov. 30 to Dec. 3, 2018, they do not specify where in Europe he travelled to.
While there has been no evidence to support the theory that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 elections, it continues to be promoted by President Trump and several Republicans.