Timeline: How Rudy Made It Hard for Mike Pompeo to Show Any Leadership
American Oversight FOIAed the documents showing Rudy Giuliani’s campaign to smear Marie Yovanovitch and the Bidens at State. For some of these, this represents another instance where NGOs have successfully obtained documents refused to Congress, but many of these were turned over to Congress by State’s Inspector General Steve Linnick in early October.
I did a thread on the documents here, but wanted to lay out the timeline of what the documents include. What it shows is that Rudy Giuliani and Mike Pompeo spoke twice around the time Rudy delivered a packet of disinformation to the Secretary of State. When Rudy’s campaign started showing publicly, with response from other Ambassadors and Congress, Department of State blew off their concerns.
March 26-29: Rudy shares a packet of information with Mike Pompeo wrapped up with Trump and White House labels
The bulk of these records document Mike Pompeo talking with Rudy Giuliani twice — on March 26 and 29 — and appear to include the materials they talked about, the packet of disinformation Rudy sent to State. The March 26 call does not appear in some of the month-long metrics sheets (see PDF 43), which makes me wonder whether Rudy called out of the blue.
March 26, 9:49AM: S (Pompeo) speaking with Rudy
March 26, 9:53AM: S finished speaking with Rudy
Pages 59-100 appears to be the disinformation packet Rudy sent, as follows:
- Cover sheet addressing the packet, ostensibly from the White House (59)
- Trump Hotels cover sheets (60 and 73; 77 and 88)
- Initial copy of Viktor Shokin notes (61-62)
- One copy of Yuriy Lutsenko notes, with underlines on section Lutsenko interview (63-66)
- Annotated copy of Shokin notes (67-68)
- Annotated copy of Lutsenko notes, incorporating original underlines (69-72)
- A list of names (including Sergii Luschenko) (74)
- A March 2016 letter from George Kent on US Embassy in Ukraine letterhead responding to a query about how US assistance was spent, with a post-it titled “Solomon articles” (75-76)
- Two timelines (in another Trump folder) with no headers or title, ostensibly laying out Obama Administration corruption; the second has a post-it querying about its source (78-87)
- Four John Solomon articles: one dated March 20 claiming Lutsenko had opened an investigation into how the Black Ledger was released, claiming it was a plot to help Hillary; another dated March 20 reporting Lutsenko claiming Yovanovitch had given him a do not prosecute list; a third dated March 20 reporting Lutsenko’s claim he had opened an investigation into the Black Ledger release; the draft of the March 26 column sent to Lev Parnas, Joe DiGenova, Victoria Toensing, and claiming the US embassy had shut down an investigation into a Soros backed anti-corruption group; the March 26 draft was sent from an unidentified ProtonMail account to someone unidentified (89-100)
That packet seems to show that Solomon wrote his four articles smearing Yovanovitch and Democrats based in part on the notes Rudy took in meetings with Shokin and Lutsenko. The draft status of the last Solomon article suggests that they were shared sometime on March 26, before it was posted.
March 27, 11:28AM: Rudy’s assistant, Jo Ann Zafonte, emails Trump’s then personal assistant Madelein Westerhout, asking for a number for Pompeo
March 27, 11:52: Westerhout asks someone what number she can have.
March 27, 12:03: In response, State gives Westerhout the scheduler’s number.
March 28, 9:27AM: Rudy (apparently, himself) calls to confirm the call on March 29
March 28, 9:34AM: State Ops Center emails someone whose name is redacted to ask if there will be monitors on Rudy’s call to Pompeo
March 28, 9:37AM: The person with redacted name informs David Hale about the call
March 29, 8:14AM: State puts Pompeo through to Rudy on his unsecure cell phone
March 29, 8:18AM: The call ends
April 1, 1:30: Pompeo speaks to Nunes (in one case described as HPSCI “Chairman”) on a secure line
April 8-15: Bill Taylor and other Ambassadors write David Hale about the smear of Yovanovitch
Pages 2-22 show Bill Taylor and other Ambassadors sending a letter decrying the attack on Yovanovitch (it was organized by John Herbst) to David Hale. The letter explained that the attack would not only weaken “the structure of our diplomatic engagement,” but “weaken the alliance” with Ukraine, “making it harder to take effective action against corruption.”
Hale forwarded it to Counselor Thomas Brechbuhl and Philip Reeker, as an FYI. Later that day, Reeker sends Brechbuhl an email memorializing a meeting about the topic which is entirely redacted under a deliberation exemption. The next day, Herbst sent a copy to Brechbuhl and someone else, the latter of whom responded to the FOIA. Herbst explained, “As we offered David, we would be happy to provide further information…” Brechbuhl responded mid-day the next day saying, “Thank you for your concern and offer. It’s much appreciated” — a polite brush-off.
On April 15, Hale sends it to someone whose name is redacted saying, “Not sure what to do with this.”
April 12-Jun 11: State ignores the concerns of Steny Hoyer and Eliot Engel
Pages 27-31 and 34-37 involve an April 12 letter Steny Hoyer and Eliot Engel sent to Pompeo urging him to defend his diplomats, using Yovanovitch as the urgent example. Internally, State (including Charles Faulker, who has been ousted for corruption) note that the Congressmen will not make the letter public. But Mary Elizabeth Taylor, the Legislative Affairs Assistant Secretary, does ask that it be tasked and turned around quickly.
Nevertheless, Taylor does not respond until June 11, in a letter in which she deflects with the Congressmen, claiming that Yovanovitch was due to finish her assignment this summer, and the end of her service coincided with the presidential transition in Ukraine.
This doesn’t fit into the timeline at all, but pages 23-25; 32-33 include details Trident Acquisitions Chairman Edward Verona sent to Mike McKinley (these are included because he makes a reference to Yovanovitch) about a November 2018 visit to Ukraine.
This fits more with a previous thread, but: Kash Patel joined NSC from Nunes’s HPSCI staff in February. Vindman and Hill testifed that he was passing himself off as Ukraine director to the president in late May, and Hill also said this was news to Kupperman and Bolton. (This also makes me wonder whether Patel might have been on Nunes’s alleged jaunt to Vienna, or at least in the loop, since he was still with HPSCI at the time.)
So what I’m wondering is whether there were separate disinformation streams (with a common Parnas/Fruman link) aimed at different parts of the executive branch, or perhaps it was just that there were plenty of people ready to bag up the shit that Shokin and Lutsenko and their backers were shovelling at them.
It makes me wonder who recommended Patel for that job, and if anyone actually checked his background.
Patel has been a top gofer for Nunes and now Trump for several years. Where he gets the juice is inexplicable, except that he appears to be not as bright or competent as either Trump or Nunes.
Calling someone “not as bright as Nunes or Trump” would be fighting words in most places that I’m acquainted with. [Don’t know much about Patel myself, but that is quite a standard to reach]
I’m beginning to wonder more and more about the role of Joe DiGenova and Victoria Toensing in this whole mess. A CNN article noted that they were attorneys for John Solomon. They are also attorneys for the oligarch Firtash as well popping up in other parts of this sordid tale. I wonder in they are really providing not legal advice but a secure courier service.
Now there’s a thought I hadn’t run into before! It would make sense – if they get caught, they’re personal attorneys and those are legal papers.
My understanding is that Toensing and diGenova represent Firtash and Solomon, and they hired Parnas to be an interpreter for Firtash. Parnas and Fruman hired Rudy Giuliani for Fraud Guarantee, then suddenly came into a lot of money and started working on Giuliani’s projects. It’s kind of a gordian knot of obfuscational attorney-client and executive privilege.
According to Parnas’ attorney Parnas, Toensing, diGenova, Solomon, Giuliani and Harvey (Nunes’ staffer) would meet to ‘discuss stories’ at Trump International Hotel DC. Parnas and Fruman claimed to be heading to Vienna to organise a Hannity interview of Shokin when they were arrested.
Toensing and diGenova took credit for influencing Trump to pardon Libby in 2018.
They’re either part of a very effective Trump influence peddling operation or they’re part of the WH operation.
Some extra datapoints on Marcy’s timeline about the disinfo amplification campaign:
May 9 2018: Parnas and Fruman (who happen to have Toensing and diGenova as attorneys) get Pete Sessions to write a private letter disparaging Yovanovitch to Pompeo
March 20: Solomon (who happens to have Toensing and diGenova as attorneys) writes pieces disparaging Yova citing the private letter Sessions wrote to Pompeo May 9 2018.
March 20: Solomon appears on Hannity to amplify the story.
March 20: Trump tweets about Hannity interview with Soloman.
March 24: Barr nothingburgers the Mueller report. Trump’s probably in a very good mood about now.
March 25: Giuliani gets a “brilliant job well done representing the President” story planted in the Federalist.
March 26: Giuliani calls Pompeo
March 26: Solomon emails preview March 26th disinfo story to Parnas, Toensing, diGenova
March 29: Rudy & Pompeo call
April 1: Nunes-Pompeo call
April 8-15: Letters from ambassadors decrying the disinfo attack on Yovanovitch
(…no statement defending Yova…)
April 24: Trump recalls Yovanovitch
Thanks for this!
A little more about Toensing from Kate Brannen:
8:14 PM – 22 Nov 2019
Nice. Any transcripts of those Livingston calls. His involvement so does make it sound like a lot more than “smear”.
” go through some things” was full three months from recall. It sure would be nice to know the definition of “things”.
Sounds more like a quasi-irregularity of Flynn-facts are greater than feelings campaign.
Thanks for writing about this, Marcy.
About ME Taylor’s letter to Hoyer and Engel: accordng to Yovanovitch, she had been asked by Hale[??], and accepted, in early March to extend her posting until July 2020.
[In case it makes any difference, the 2016 letter from George Kent is from April]
However, one unambiguous negative of tariffs is the opportunity to exploit exemptions for political or personal advantage. (Tariffs generally allow exemptions, usually for items that cannot be obtained elsewhere.) It appears that this is exactly what Trump was doing with his trip to Texas.
Obviously Trump valued the photo-op, where he could boast about his economic accomplishments. If this can buy Apple an exemption from China’s tariffs it sends a powerful message to other companies about the benefits of showing support for Trump.
This use of government power to advance his political agenda is exactly what Trump did with respect to aid to Ukraine. This sort of abuse is a hugely important issue. As a practical matter, there are far more companies looking for exemptions from tariffs than there are countries in desperate need of aid from the United States
That’s a very good point. Trump’s only way to exploit US companies that are not volunteering donations is to make life hard and get protection money. That’s a nice little business you have going there Mr Tim Apple, shame if something happened to its ability to sell stuff here.
O/T but near and dear to our hearts. @punaise is a celebrity, mentioned by the President in the same breath as Speaker of the House during an interview with Fox and Friends Friday AM:
And he made time to target one of his favorite foils, Pelosi, alternately disparaging the Democratic leader as “paralyzed,” “totally incompetent,” “absolutely lost,” “crazy as a **bedbug**” and simply “nuts.” [**emphasis mine] (https://www.politico.com/news/2019/11/22/public-impeachment-hearings-trump-fox-news-072873)
Badge of honor, @punaise, badge of honor.
Seeing the March 1st call from Pompei to Nunes the day after the Ghouliana call caused a shiver to run down my spine. I’m usually not shocked by what the modern GOP will sink to, but if that next day follow-up with Nunes involved strategy for weaponizing the disinfo, it’s frightening given Pompeo’s senior status.
Pompeo doesn’t need Rudy’s help to not show any leadership…
He’s quite capable of not showing any leadership on his own.
Seeing all this, one of my thoughts is that perhaps it’s a good thing Trump doesn’t have any real foreign policy; with all the time they’re spending on politics and re-election, they simply don’t have time to work! (I assume every administration does that to some extent, but this strikes me as a bit excessive?)
Giuliani, Lutsenko, and Shokin – 3 corrupt former prosecutors.
During this February = April time period, Poroshenko was trying to get an endorsement from Trump for the upcoming election. So Lutsenko would be more than happy to tell the President’s lawyer what he wanted to hear.
When Pompeo received the Giuliani Dossier, one appropriate response would have been to refer it to the DOJ. Another would have been to refer it to senior State Department staff to look at the merits. I don’t recall anyone from the State Department who testified discussing the Giuliani Dossier. Someone like George Kent or Amb. Taylor would have debunked the allegations fairly quickly.
Thank you Marcy for your insight and quick distribution.
This is a bit off topic; however what came to me is Kevin McCarthy and Paul Ryan in a secretly taped discussion in June 2016….
“There’s…there’s two people, I think, Putin pays…Rohrabacher and Trump. Swear to God.” McCarthy says.
“This is an off the record, NO LEAKS, alright? This is how we know we’re a real family here. What’s said in the family stays in the family,” replied Paul Ryan.