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In an attempt to deflect from the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani showed up to a TV interview waving documents and making allegations about Ukraine, Joe and Hunter Biden and the whistleblower at the center of the impeachment inquiry.
ABC This Week host George Stephanopoulos pushed back on Giuliani’s accusations, saying there was evidence to contradict what Giuliani was saying.
"OK. Well, then investigate it," Giuliani said during the Sept. 29 interview. "Maybe I'm wrong."
We found that Giuliani’s claims were inaccurate, unproven or needing context. He did not return a request for comment.
This is unproven. We found no evidence showing that the Obama administration asked the Ukrainians to produce false information in 2016.
Biden met with former Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko on Jan. 20, 2016, to discuss the importance of moving forward with Ukraine’s anti-corruption agenda, according to a two-sentence summary of the meeting.
There was another meeting that month in Washington between Ukrainian investigators and American officials to discuss coordinating their anti-corruption efforts, according to an April 2019 opinion article in The Hill by John Solomon. But there’s no evidence that the Americans asked for false information during that meeting.
We couldn’t find the affidavits that Giuliani is talking about, and he didn’t respond to our request for them.
Giuliani made this point after telling Stephanopoulos that, in November 2016, Ukrainians came to him with information regarding an individual who "illegally gave the Clinton campaign information."
We don’t know exactly what Ukrainians might have told Giuliani back in 2016. There are media reports that highlight how Ukrainian officials did want Hillary Clinton elected, because they perceived her as more anti-Russia than Trump, but there is no proof "they were colluding" with her campaign.
Politico in January 2017 reported that Ukrainian government officials tried to boost Clinton’s chances of winning the election by publicly questioning Trump’s fitness for office, disseminating documents implicating Paul Manafort (Trump’s former campaign manager) in corruption, and working with a Democratic National Committee contractor to dig up dirt about Trump and his advisers.
DNC and Clinton campaign officials have denied working directly with the Ukrainian government. (Here’s our story detailing the differences and similarities between Trump and Russia, Clinton and Ukraine.)
Giuliani didn’t respond to our questions, but we found what appears to be a notarized affidavit from Shokin dated Sept. 4, 2019 — at odds with Giuliani’s six months online reference. It doesn’t say that Hunter Biden was the direct target of an investigation.
Shokin claimed he was forced out because he was "leading a wide-ranging corruption probe into Burisma Holdings." Hunter Biden joined Burisma’s board of directors in spring 2014. (Here’s some background on Shokin’s ouster in 2016.)
Shokin’s affidavit said then-Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko on several occasions asked him to "have a look at the criminal case against Burisma and consider the possibility of winding down the investigative actions in respect of this company, but I refused to close this investigation. Therefore, I was forced to leave office, under direct and intense pressure from Joe Biden and the U.S. administration."
It’s unclear whether Burisma was actively under investigation by Shokin. Vitaliy Kasko, who had been Shokin’s deputy overseeing international cooperation, told Bloomberg that the investigation was dormant.
Shokin’s affidavit says it was made at the request of lawyers for Dmitry Firtash for use in legal proceedings in Austria. (Firtash is a Ukrainian energy tycoon for whom U.S. prosecutors have sought extradition based on charges of money laundering and bribery.)
This is wrong. Giuliani’s phrasing resembles an inaccurate talking point by Trump and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy. The claim goes that whistleblowers were previously required to provide direct, first-hand knowledge of allegations, and that such requirement was removed before a whistleblower came forward with allegations against Trump.
The rules for whistleblowers were not changed before the current complaint was filed. The forms changed, but the rules stayed the same.
The inspector general’s office changed its forms after the whistleblower filed, but those changes had no bearing on the rules under which a claim would be processed. Read more in this fact-check.
ABC News, "Rudy Giuliani fires back at former White House aide who accused him of spreading ‘completely false’ theory," Sept. 29, 2019
Affidavit from Viktor Shokin, former prosecutor general of Ukraine, Sept. 4, 2019
CNBC, "House Democrats subpoena Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani in impeachment probe," Sept. 30, 2019
The Daily Beast, "Leaked Memo: Colleagues Unload on John Solomon, the Journo Who Kicked Off Trump’s Ukraine Conspiracy," Sept. 28, 2019
The Denver Post, "Joe Biden is at the center of US diplomacy in Ukraine," Feb. 24, 2014
Foreign Policy, "How a D.C. News Site Amplified Dubious Ukraine Claims," Sept. 26, 2019
The Hill, "How the Obama White House engaged Ukraine to give Russia collusion narrative an early boost," April 25, 2019
The Hill, "Senior Ukrainian official says he's opened probe into US election interference," March 20, 2019
The Hill, "Solomon: These once-secret memos cast doubt on Joe Biden's Ukraine story," Sept. 26, 2019
Interfax, "Rada agrees to dismiss Ukrainian Prosecutor General Shokin," March 29, 2019
Memo from the Ukraine Prosecutor General’s Office, undated, accessed Sept. 30, 2019
The New York Times, "Biden Faces Conflict of Interest Questions That Are Being Promoted by Trump and Allies," May 1, 2019
Politico, "Republican senators press DOJ to probe Clinton and Ukraine," Sept. 30, 2019
PolitiFact, "Donald Trump’s boasts about former Ukrainian prosecutor’s fairness ring false," Sept. 26, 2019
PolitiFact, "The Mueller report: What you need to know," April 18, 2019
PolitiFact, "Trump mentioned the ‘Crowdstrike’ conspiracy during his call with Ukraine. Here’s what that means," Sept. 27, 2019
PolitiFact, "Trump’s Ukraine call, a whistleblower and the Bidens: What we know, what we don’t," Sept. 23, 2019
U.S. Department of Justice, "Report On The Investigation Into Russian Interference In The 2016 Presidential Election," March 2019
U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, "Readout of Vice President Biden’s Meeting with President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko," Jan. 21, 2016
The Washington Post, "The full Trump-Ukraine timeline — as of now," Sept. 27, 2019
Washington Examiner, Journalist John Solomon leaves the Hill to start own media outlet, Sept. 18, 2019
Tampa Bay Times, How Trump adviser Paul Manafort revived career, fortunes in Ukraine, Aug. 19, 2016
Bloomberg, Ukrainian Oligarch Firtash Loses Fight Over U.S. Extradition, June 25, 2019
rferl.org, Austrian Justice Minister OKs Firtash's Extradition To U.S., But Process Put On Hold, July 16, 2019
CNBC.com, House panels subpoena Secretary of State Pompeo for documents related to Trump impeachment probe, Sept. 27, 2019
The New York Times, House Subpoenas Giuliani, Trump’s Lawyer, for Ukraine Records, posted Sept. 30, 2019, updated Oct. 1, 2019
Politico, Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump backfire, Jan. 11, 2017