Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani alleged on Dec. 6 that $5.3 billion in U.S. aid to Ukraine was misused, with much of the money going to non-governmental organizations favored by the U.S. embassy.
The embassy, which at the time was led by Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, directed Ukrainian officials not to pursue an investigation of the matter, Giuliani, who is a personal attorney for President Donald Trump, wrote on Twitter.
“Much of the $5.3B in US Aid Ukraine reported as misused was given to the embassy’s favored NGO’s. At the time Yovanovitch, witness for the Witchunt, was the Amb. That embassy directed the police not to investigate,” Giuliani said.
Giuliani did not offer any evidence for his claim. The day before, he wrote that the misuse was discovered by the “Accounts Chamber” in Ukraine, an apparent reference to Ukraine’s Accounting Chamber. The Accounting Chamber is an audit body for Ukraine’s parliament and acts as a watchdog over the state budget.
Giuliani leveled the allegation on the heels of a trip to Europe during which he met and interviewed several former Ukrainian officials, including Yuriy Lutsenko, Viktor Shokin, and Andrii Telizhenko. Shokin, Lutsenko, and Telizhenko have previously alleged misconduct by Obama-administration officials, including Yovanovitch and former Vice President Joe Biden.
One America News (OAN) filmed Giuliani’s interviews with the officials. The channel is scheduled to air the exclusive interview in a two-part series on Dec. 7 and 8. OAN claims the program will “debunk” the Democrat narrative at the center of the impeachment proceedings against Trump.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Dec. 5 directed the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), to draft the articles of impeachment against the president. Pelosi made the announcement shortly after the Democrats from three House committees released a 300-page summary of their investigation.
The report alleges that Trump abused “the powers of his office to solicit foreign interference on his behalf in the 2020 election.” The evidence to support the allegation consists entirely of hearsay and presumptions, according to a report prepared by House Republicans.
A portion of Giuliani’s claim appears to refer to an allegation about Yovanovitch that was first reported by investigative journalist John Solomon. Citing a video interview with Lutsenko, the former Prosecutor General of Ukraine, Solomon reported that Yovanovitch gave Lutsenko a “do not prosecute” list of people to the Ukrainians. Yovanovitch and the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine denied the claim.
Senior State Department official George Kent, one of the impeachment inquiry witnesses, told lawmakers that the U.S. embassy did push for certain groups and individuals to not be prosecuted. Kent also confirmed that he signed a letter which specifically warns against the prosecution of one of the groups on Yovanovitch’s “do not prosecute” list.
During the impeachment hearings, Democrats claimed that Lutsenko recanted his comments about the list. That claim relies on a report by a Ukrainian media outlet. The lawmakers did not mention that in subsequent interviews with Solomon and the New York Times, Lutsenko stood by his allegation that Yovanovitch pushed against the prosecution of certain groups and individuals.
One of the organizations on Yovanovitch’s list and in Kent’s letter is the Anti-Corruption Action Center, a group jointly funded by U.S. taxpayer dollars and a foundation belonging to billionaire financier George Soros.
That State Department did not respond to a request for comment.
In a subsequent message, Giuliani suggested that a bilateral investigation into the missing funds could help bring the U.S. and Ukraine together.
“In reviewing my notes, it seems to me that a large scale joint investigation into Ukraine and the US would uncover and recover billions stolen by crooks, from both countries, at the highest levels,” Giuliani said.
“This would be the most effective way to bring our two countries together.”