“He described the former New York mayor as obsessed with possible misconduct by Biden or his son Hunter”, the Los Angeles Times writes, in a Sunday article that looks poised to cast further doubt on the Trump administration’s Ukraine narrative.
The “he” refers to Ukraine’s former chief prosecutor Yuri Lutsenko, a central character in the whistle-blower complaint at the heart of the impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump.
During an interview with the LA Times, Lutsenko says he “repeatedly” pushed back when pressured by Rudy Giuliani to further investigate Joe and Hunter Biden for alleged misconduct. Lutsenko contends he told Giuliani that “he had seen no evidence of wrongdoing that he could pursue despite Trump’s allegations”.
Lutsenko’s remarks will doubtlessly stir more controversy.
The whistle-blower complaint describes the circumstances leading up to the July 25 call between Trump and Volodymyr Zelensky, including a series of articles that appeared in The Hill, citing Ukrainian officials including Lutsenko. Those articles (see here) insinuated wrongdoing by other Ukraine officials as well by the Bidens.
“Lutsenko’s account is controversial since he is believed to have been one of the original promoters behind the unsubstantiated allegations against Biden”, the LA Times writes, editorializing around their interview with Ukraine’s former top law enforcement official. “He also complained about the former US ambassador to Kyiv, Marie Yovanovitch”.
Trump maligned Yovanovitch in the phone call with Zelensky. A list of scheduled depositions sent to Mike Pompeo by House democrats includes Yovanovitch and Kurt Volker, the US special envoy to Ukraine who resigned on Friday. Yovanovitch was recalled and removed earlier this year. According to the whistle-blower complaint, Yovanovitch’s assignment in Ukraine was terminated in part because of Lutsenko’s allegations.
Giuliani met with Lutsenko on at least two occasions and, during an April 25 interview with Fox, called Lutsenko’s claims “big” and “incredible”. It was, according to Rudy, something William Barr “would want to see”.
Lutsenko – who was replaced by Zelensky and has been accused of perpetuating the Biden allegations in a bid to curry favor with Trump prior to the defeat of incumbent President Petro Poroshenko – admits to being ready and willing to work with Giuliani and Trump, but says he simply didn’t have enough evidence.
“I said, ‘Let’s put this through prosecutors, not through presidents'”, Lutsenko told The Times, summarizing what he claims to have conveyed to Giuliani. “I told him I could not start an investigation just for the interests of an American official”.
The interview was conducted at a cafe in downtown Kyiv.
The paper says Lutsenko “spoke quickly and animatedly, at times contradicting statements he had previously made publicly”.
That sounds a lot like Giuliani. The two of them together must have been quite the pair.