Former defense secretary Gates says it’s not ‘case closed’ on Russian interference

Clay Curtis
May 14, 2019

Joe Biden's campaign has offered its first response after President Donald Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani said he would make a now-canceled trip to Ukraine to urge the country to investigate the Democratic presidential candidate.

Giuliani earlier announced plans to visit Kyiv to meet with Zelensky to convince the Ukrainian authorities of the need to launch an investigation involving the interests of U.S. President Donald Trump on Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election.

By Friday, Giuliani reversed course and canceled the trip, claiming without evidence that the Ukrainians surrounding president-elect Volodymyr Zelensky are "enemies of the some cases enemies of the United States" who have ties to Democrats. "The president of the United States is saying it's perfectly OK for him - and he's said this before - to go to the attorney general and get [the Department of Justice] to open an investigation of his rivals".

One is the origin of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US election.

Trump and Giuliani have urged scrutiny of Hunter Biden and have raised questions about whether the former vice president helped oust a Ukrainian prosecutor whose office was investigating the oligarch whose company paid his son.

Speaking about the "Ukrainian collusion with Democrats" Giuliani specifically pointed to an alleged January 2016 meeting at the White House during which, Obama administration officials reportedly asked Ukrainian officials to revisit an investigation into payments to American citizens from Ukraine's Russia-backed Party of Regions.

"I think I'm pretty busy and pretty active but I think having a president who is somebody our age or older, in the case of senator Sanders, I think it's problematic", he explained.

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Democrats rushed to denounce Giuliani.

Serhiy Leshchenko, a Ukrainian member of parliament and prominent Zelensky backer, said Ukraine is being drawn into a "dangerous game". "And I'm going to give them reasons why they shouldn't stop it because that information will be very, very helpful to my client, and may turn out to be helpful to my government".

Who knows what the Ukrainians will feed him? Some Trump allies have suggested they can tarnish Joe Biden with questions about corruption, founded or not, much like they did to Clinton in 2016. Usually, when the president talks about the Times, it is to attack the paper as "failing" or part of the 'fake news'.

Trump says "you all are going to elect him in 2020", host George Stephanopoulos said at the end of the clip. The ledger detailed financial transactions by then-Trump-campaign Chairman Paul Manafort.

"My objective was to share information to assist their on-going investigation of Ukrainian officials being used by Americans to gather information to assist Clinton in last election and to alert them to the very real dangers that there are people involved in the investigation. who are attempting to shut it down before it reaches a conclusion", Giuliani said in a statement.

"Certainly it is a very big issue and well see what happens", the President said in an interview with Politico that was published on Friday night. "Somebody could say it's improper".

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