House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) said shortly after the release of the report into President Donald Trump’s pressure campaign that his committee is still investigating whether the situation predated Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“Did this scheme begin far earlier than we first understood?” Schiff asked. “Was the scheme, in fact, put in place to try to pressure the last President of the Ukraine Poroshenko and his corrupt Prosecutor General Lutsenko into conducting these same investigations, and was that plan put into turmoil and chaos when this new reformer Zelensky surged in the polling and ultimately won that presidency? That is something we continue to investigate and something these phone records also shed light on.”
Schiff says committees are still investigating whether pressure campaign extended back to involve former Ukraine President Poroshenko pic.twitter.com/D2OM7uYF8o
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) December 3, 2019
Two months before Zelensky won his office, Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani had already communicated with Yuriy Lutsenko and reportedly planted the idea of “investigations” in Trump’s head, regurgitating fabrications about the Bidens’ corruption he got from Lutsenko.
By late February, Poroshenko, who was facing a tough reelection battle, had expressed openness to trading the bogus investigations for a U.S. state visit, according to the Wall Street Journal.
But Poroshenko lost. When Zelensky, a comedian who ran on a platform of reform, won in a landslide, Giuliani and his cronies scrambled to rebuild the deal with the President-elect and to make inroads with the new government officials.
That was the start of the Zelensky chapter of the pressure campaign, which includes the infamous July 25 call and leadership of the “three amigos”: Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and former Special Envoy for the Ukraine crisis Kurt Volker.