WASHINGTON – Phone records released Tuesday by three House committees as part of their draft impeachment report detailed previously unreported contacts between President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, the White House, top House Republican Rep. Devin Nunes, and Hill columnist John Solomon.
As Solomon wrote opinion columns in early April 2019 attacking U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, according to AT&T phone records produced by the Intelligence Committee, he was in frequent phone contact with Giuliani and his associate Lev Parnas.
“The Committees uncovered evidence of close ties and frequent contacts between Mr. Solomon and Mr. Parnas, who was assisting Mr. Giuliani in connection with his representation of the President,” the Democrats wrote in their report drafted by the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, and Oversight Committees.
The Committees also obtained records showing phone calls and texts between Giuliani and Nunes, the top Republican on the Intelligence Committee, on April 10. Parnas and Nunes also spoke on the phone several times on April 12.
According to the Committees, on April 23, Giuliani had three short phone calls with a White House phone number, all under 20 seconds long, following by an eight and a half minute long call with an unidentified number.
After the call with the unidentified number, Giuliani spoke with a phone number associated with then-national security adviser John Bolton.
On April 24, Giuliani went on Fox and Friends to discuss the Mueller investigation and discredited theories about Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election.
Giuliani then had three phone calls that day with numbers associated with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and eight calls with White House phone numbers. In July, OMB took steps to eventually put a hold on the security assistance to Ukraine.
On the evening of April 25, according to the Committees, Yovanovitch received a call from the State Department calling her back from Ukraine because of “concerns” from the White House.
Further phone records showed contact between Giluani and the White House and OMB in August, at the same time Giuliani corresponded with U.S. envoy Kurt Volker about setting up a meeting between Trump and the Ukrainian president.
On Aug. 7, Volker texted Giuliani urging him to update Trump of their progress in Ukraine. Giuliani did not respond to Volker, but the day after, Giuliani called White House, White House switchboard, or OMB numbers several times. Giuliani texted numbers associated with the White House, and also had a longer call with an unidentified number.
Trump has said he was not sure what Giluani was doing for him in Ukraine when asked about Giuliani’s activities in a Nov. 26 interview with former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly.
“Well, you have to ask that to Rudy. But Rudy, I don’t, I don’t even know. I know he was going to go to Ukraine, and I think, he canceled a trip,” he told O’Reilly. “But, you know, Rudy has other clients other than me. I’m one person –”
Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff would not say when and where the evidence from the phone records came from, saying he couldn’t “go into specifics.” But, Schiff said the communications outlined “considerable coordination” in the smear campaign against former Ukraine Ambassador Yovanovitch and the shadow campaign in Ukraine.
Asked whether Schiff had spoken with Nunes about the call records and whether Nunes should recuse himself from voting on the report tonight, Schiff said he wanted to “reserve comment” but called the allegations and timing of the calls “deeply concerning.”
“At a time when the president of the United State was using the power of his office to dig up dirt on a political rival, that there may be evidence that there were members of Congress complicit in that activity,” Schiff said, adding that he was not saying that Nunes was complicit but that the allegations were troubling.
“Our focus is on the president’s conduct,” Schiff said. “It may be the role of others to evaluate” the conduct of members of Congress.
Contributing: Christal Hayes