President Trump directed his energy secretary and two of his top State Department officials to work with his private attorney Rudy Giuliani to coordinate official business with the president of Ukraine as early as May, CNN reported.
According to two sources familiar with the conversation who spoke to CNN, Trump was reportedly convinced that the Ukrainian government was inherently corrupt and that if new President Volodymyr Zelensky wanted a sit-down, Giuliani would first have to be assured that wasn’t the case.
After Energy Secretary Rick Perry, U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland and the then-U.S. special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker returned from Zelensky’s inauguration, the trio hoped to sit-down with Trump to express their belief that he should meet with Zelensky. According to CNN, it became clear to the three administration officials that they’d have to work with Giuliani in order to funnel accurate information about Ukraine to the President.
“If they can satisfy Rudy, they can satisfy the President,” a person familiar with the meeting told CNN.
While it’s been known that Giuliani played a significant role in the orchestration of Trump efforts to pressure Ukraine into investigating his political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, this is the clearest picture yet of the role President Trump played in directing officials to skirt governmental channels to work with Ukraine.