Ukrainian Prosecutor Says First Invite From Giuliani Came Earlier Than Previously Known

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 17: Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani arrives at Trump Tower, November 17, 2016 in New York City. President-elect Donald Trump and his transition team are in the process of filling cabi... NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 17: Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani arrives at Trump Tower, November 17, 2016 in New York City. President-elect Donald Trump and his transition team are in the process of filling cabinet and high level positions for the new administration. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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The former top prosecutor in Ukraine who originally claimed to have dirt on Joe Biden said in a Tuesday radio interview in Kyiv that discussions with Rudy Giuliani began far earlier than previously known.

Ex-prosecutor general of Ukraine Yuriy Lutsenko said that Giuliani first invited him to New York City to discuss “Ukrainian interference in the 2016 elections” and the Bidens in October 2017.

That puts Giuliani’s earliest reported contact with Ukraine nearly a year earlier than previously thought, and means it came when special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russian investigation was in full swing. It also places the initial contact between Giuliani and Ukraine at around the time of Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s indictment in October 2017.

“At the end of 2017, Trump’s lawyer Giuliani started, through one of my subordinates, who his people knew in passing, to pass over invitations to meet in the states,” Lutsenko said, adding that he tried – but was unable – to meet in October, November, and December of that year.

In the interview, Lutsenko offered the reporter an innocent telling of his own interest in meeting Giuliani, saying without basis that the allegations were the subject of popular discussion in the U.S. at the time.

“Of course, I understood that Mr. Giuliani would be interested in general information about the events around the so-called Ukrainian interference in the 2016 elections in the United States, and also events around the Burisma company, about which American congressmen, politicians, and journalists were quite loudly speaking and asking,” he added

Lutsenko was involved early on in the chain of events that Giuliani set in motion, leading to the opening of an impeachment inquiry into President Trump in the first months of 2019. He flew to New York City in January, where he met with the former New York City mayor and discussed allegations of wrongdoing by the Bidens.

With the impending election of Volodymyr Zelensky as president of Ukraine, Lutsenko began to hawk increasingly wild conspiracy theories while making accusations of corruption against U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, who had criticized him for failing to bring graft cases as general prosecutor. Yovanovitch was ousted in May 2019, and within days Lutsenko began to walk back the allegations.

But as Lutsenko weaved these tales, Giuliani cottoned on to the narratives he was creating.

Lutsenko recalled his early discussions with Giuliani as them speaking “for three days, somewhere around two or three hours each day.”

“His interest … was what I could say about the interference of Ukrainian politicians in the American elections of 2016,” Lutsenko told the Ukrainian radio station, called New Times.

Giuliani beginning discussions on the matter with Lutsenko in 2017 would conflict with earlier reporting, which suggested that the pair’s first contact came via Soviet-born south Florida Giuliani associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman in late 2018.

Lutsenko also said that, during the January 2019 meeting with Giuliani, the former New York City mayor suggested that he get in touch with then-future attorney general Bill Barr.

“It would be better to organize a meeting” between the two, Lutsenko recalled Giuliani as saying.

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