Good TPM Readers, I was in the midst of writing out a post explaining how there was a lot of circumstantial evidence that that packet of pro-Trump conspiracy theories the State Department Inspector General brought up to the Hill was actually Rudy Giuliani’s work product: the packet of information he’d assembled in his trips abroad. Rudy likely piped it into the State Department. It got circulated through the Department by State appointees (this part we know). The IG had had it since May. But when he heard the events of the last week, especially Pompeo going on the warpath, the IG decided he wanted to get it out of his hands and into the hands of Congress as soon as possible.
Well, I’m robbed of my genius reconstruction of the evidence! Because now Rudy has admitted that, yeah, it’s his stuff.
Here’s the key passage from a late report from CNN …
Giuliani told CNN on Wednesday evening that some of the documents provided to Congress by the State Department’s inspector general had originated with him.
Giuliani said that in late March, he had “routed” what he called an “outline” of allegations against Biden, as well as Yovanovitch, to the office of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. He said he also had sent details of his interviews from earlier in the year with the incumbent and former top prosecutors in Ukraine, who helped provide him with the information in his outline.
Giuliani said he received a phone call shortly thereafter from Pompeo, who told Giuliani he would be referring the documents for investigation.
“They told me they were going to investigate it,” Giuliani told CNN.
So it’s a mix of memos, planted newspaper articles and summaries of the interviews Giuliani conducted in Ukraine. Helpfully (to Congress) Giuliani says Pompeo was receptive to the documents and said he’d make sure they were investigated. The key point here is that the documents not only push the anti-Biden conspiracy theories. They also include attacks on the then-US Ambassador to Ukraine, as well as claims of a Mueller conspiracy against Trump, framing of the Russia, etc. etc. So they apparently got Pompeo to turn against the US Ambassador to Ukraine, who was subsequently dismissed.
Where specifically did the packet come from?
According to a statement released this evening from Chairs Engel, Schiff and Cummings, the State Department IG interviewed Pompeo’s Counselor Thomas Ulrich Brechbuhl.
Here’s the key passage …
“The Inspector General stated that his office interviewed Secretary Pompeo’s Counselor, Thomas Ulrich Brechbuhl, who informed the Inspector General that Secretary Pompeo told him the packet ‘came over,’ and that Brechbuhl presumed it was from the White House.
“Earlier this week, Pompeo attempted to block Brechbuhl, Ambassador Yovanovitch, and other State Department employees from testifying before Congress.
Needless to say, it’s quite clear that Pompeo is deeply implicated in these abuses of power. Meanwhile Rudy Giuliani is happy to provide more evidence of Pompeo’s involvement. Once Pompeo received them, they were circulated within the State Department. It doesn’t say specifically that Pompeo circulated them. But that seems consistent with all the other information we’ve learned.
It seems pretty clear why Inspector General Linick thought this was an urgent matter.