Rudy Giuliani met with Ukrainian President Poroshenko twice last year amid U.S.-Ukraine arms deal negotiations
After being named an “informal” Cybersecurity Advisor to President Trump in January 2017, Giuliani entered into a “cybersecurity” contract with the Ukrainian government — personally enriching himself while appearing to use his position of influence to help advance Ukraine’s foreign policy goals
The vast conflicts-of-interest pertaining to Rudy Giuliani‘s current work for foreign governments has not received adequate coverage by U.S. news media. These conflicts — while serious enough during the transition to disqualify Giuliani from Secretary of State consideration — are now virtually ignored by the press as he represents President Donald Trump in a national security investigation. But it is no coincidence that Giuliani re-appeared on the scene shortly after Michael Cohen was raided — gobbling up the spotlight after being off the grid for all of 2017 and early 2018. The reason is that Cohen, who has extensive and potentially criminal ties to Ukraine, knows exactly what Giuliani has been up to. This includes lucrative “cybersecurity” contracts with the Ukrainian government, meetings with President Petro Poroshenko and other top Ukrainian officials, and payments and gifts from Ukrainian oligarchs under investigation by U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
While engaging with foreign governments may appear consistent with Giuliani’s past work, his Ukrainian activities have all occurred since January 2017, when Giuliani was named an “informal” Cybersecurity Advisor to President Trump (“informal” meaning unpaid and therefore not subject to the same ethics requirements of government employees). In an interview with Politico the month he assumed this role, Giuliani stressed “the federal government was far behind the private sector companies” and described his task as “to travel the world to find leading experts and introduce them and their ideas to Trump”. He said he would “stay in the private sector” and “would never use my access — I’m not a lobbyist. I’m not going to do any lobbying. I just do solutions.”
Giuliani’s duel role as “cybersecurity advisor” to President Trump and “cybersecurity consultant” to the Government of Ukraine also occurred during a crucial time period in U.S.-Ukrainian foreign policy negotiations. According to investigative journalist Paul Wood, who famously reported on the Steele dossier in January 2017, a Ukrainian intelligence source disclosed that President Poroshenko had paid Michael Cohen a $400,000 bribe during the spring of 2017. The bribe was allegedly paid to get “face time” with President Trump on his first state visit later that June. Recently, we also learned that after more than a year of negotiation, Ukraine received it’s long-sought Jevelin weaponry in April 2018. In turn, they reportedly ended their investigations into Paul Manafort and fully stopped cooperating with the U.S. Special Counsel’s investigation.
Speculation has swirled that the Ukrainian arms deal was part of a quid-pro-quo between President Trump and President Poroshenko. Mapped against the timeline of Giuliani’s activities in Ukraine, it appears likely he may have served as the backchannel for these covert negotiations.
Private “cybersecurity” contracts with the Government of Ukraine
Per Giuliani’s own website, his firm Giuliani Security and Safety LLC contracted with the city of Kharkiv, Ukraine beginning in May 2017, the same timeframe as the alleged Poroshenko bribe — this despite Giuliani recently telling The Washington Post that his work there only occured in 2018, and which they reported without correction. The city of Kharkiv is known for its Mayor Gennady Kernes’ role as a leading figure in the Party of Regions, the pro-Russian political party that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort worked for.
Under this contract, Giuliani’s team has held at least four meetings with Kharkiv officials — three in Ukraine and one in New York City. The contract between the two parties was facilitated by a company called TriGlobal Strategic Ventures, whose advisory board includes both ex-Ukrainian and ex-Russian government officials and whose offices include branches in New York, Kiev, and Moscow. Under the terms of the contract, Giuliani’s firm was to “provide recommendations for improved Kharkiv security system development.” The four meetings are as follows:
- A kick-off meeting in Kharkiv in May 2017. Giuliani didn’t attend, but later traveled to Kiev in June and reportedly met with President Poroshenko.
- A second trip to Kharkiv in July 2017, described as prep for an upcoming meeting between Giuliani and Mayor Kernes.
- A third trip to Kharkiv in November 2017, in which Giuliani meet with Mayor Kernes and participated in a panel discussion on cybersecurity, before traveling on to Kiev for a meeting with President Poroshenko.
- A fourth known meeting in New York City on March 27, 2018, during which Giuliani met with the first deputy mayor of Kharkiv Igor Terekhov.
Separate from this Kharkiv contract, Giuliani’s firm also appears to have previously negotiated a contract with the capital city of Kiev. During the same November 2017 visit, Giuliani met with Kiev Mayor Vitaly Klichko at City Hall and visited their Capital Data Center. According to the city’s official press release, Giuliani’s firm had “prepared a report on the need to create a municipal police, which would be passed on to the President and the Prime Minister of Ukraine.”
Meetings with President Poroshenko and top Ukrainian officials
According to at least one Ukrainian news outlet, during a June 2017 visit to Kiev, Giuliani “met with President Petro Poroshenko, Prime Minister Vladimir Groisman, Kiev Mayor Vitaliy Klichko, and also addressed students with a lecture.” The Foundation hosting this lecture similarly reported on its blog that “besides giving the lecture, Rudy Giuliani met with the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, the Prime Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Groysman, the Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko, the Prosecutor General of Ukraine Yuriy Lutsenko, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Pavlo Klimkin as well as young Ukrainian reformers.”
While no government account or photo evidence has yet been uncovered to corroborate these meetings, they would have occurred between two important events in US-Ukraine relations. First, shortly before Giuliani’s visit in June, President Trump allowed Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin into the Oval Office for a photo-op. The photo was taken on the same day Trump now infamously invited Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak for a sit down meeting at the White House. The rumors of a $400,000 bribe began circulating in Ukrainian media after Trump tweeted about the meetings on May 11, 2017 with the message “let’s make peace.” The alleged June meeting between Giuliani and Poroshenko would also have occurred shortly before Poroshenko’s first visit to the United States on June 20, 2017 — which Paul Wood’s recent article alleges was secured as the result of a substantial bribe to Michael Cohen.
More significantly, Giuliani met again with President Poroshenko during his November 2017 trip to Ukraine. After departing Kharkiv, Giuliani traveled to Kiev for the meeting, and this is documented on the official website of the Ukrainian President and in Ukrainian media. According to the government account, the parties “discussed ways to overcome Russian aggression and the course of reforms in Ukraine” and “noted special importance of Ukraine-USA cooperation in cyber security sphere.”
The timing of the meeting, however, suggests more was discussed. Just one week earlier, on November 14, 2017, the U.S. National Security Council had “greenlight the presentation of a $47 million grant package to the Ukrainian government to purchase American defense arms, including the powerful Javelin anti-tank missiles.” This decision had been made after a nearly year-long debate inside the U.S. administration regarding whether to propose such a sale. A month later, Trump made his first steps towards providing this long-sought lethal aid when he approved the $41.5 million sale of Model M107A1 sniper systems and associated equipment.
Per Wood’s reporting, the decision to end cooperation with the Mueller investigation actually occurred in November 2017, rather than the April 2018 timeframe New York Times has reported. According to Wood’s source, “Poroshenko returned from Washington and, in August or September, 2017, decided to completely end cooperation with the US agencies investigating Manafort. He did not give an order to implement this decision until November 2017. The order became known to the US government after scheduled visits by Poroshenko’s senior aide to see Mueller and the CIA director, in November and December, were cancelled.”
The eventual approval of the Javelin anti-tank missiles came on March 2, 2018 and were subsequently shipped sometime later in April. Occurring in between these two dates was Giuliani’s fourth meeting with Kharkiv officials under his firm’s “cybersecurity” contract, on March 27, 2018 in New York City. Two weeks later, Cohen’s offices were raided by the FBI, and two weeks following Giuliani assumed the role of Trump’s lawyer.
Paid speeches and private jets courtesy of Ukrainian oligarchs
Over the course of Giuliani’s 2017 visits to Ukraine, the president’s “Cybersecurity Advisor” also met with, was paid by, and/or received gifts from at least three Ukrainian oligarchs — two of whom are reportedly under investigation by U.S. Special Counsel Mueller.
During his June 2017 visit to Kiev to meet with President Poroshenko, Giuliani also gave a speech on “Global Challenges, the Role of the US and the Place of Ukraine” at the Victor Pinchuk Foundation. Pinchuk is reportedly under investigation by U.S. Special Counsel Mueller for a $150,000 donation he gave to the now civilly-charged Trump Foundation in 2015.
During the Q&A session, Ukrainian media outlets reported Giuliani said the following about his relationship with President Trump (via Google translate): “Yes, I’m friends with Donald Trump for a long time, about thirty years. Yes, I did not want to go into the government, although he invited me. Yes, I’m his advisor. We talked yesterday. What do I advise him? Increase the army, increase military spending. Either you are the strongest, or you lose.”
Giuliani also met and was photographed with Russian-Ukrainian businessman Pavel Fuchs, per the oligarch’s U.S. Wikipedia page. It is unclear exactly when and where this meeting took place, although Wikipedia notes that it was July 2017 in New York City — the same month Giuliani’s firm made its second visit to Kharkiv. Fuks has a business history with Donald Trump and Giuliani has been referred to as Fuk’s “personal friend” in Ukrainian media.
The private plane Giuliani arrived to Kharkiv on in November 2017 is owned by Alexander Rovt, a Ukrainian-American billionaire who is also reportedly under investigation by Mueller. Spruce Capital, a firm funded by Rovt, is reported to have given a $3.5 million loan to Paul Manafort shortly after he left the Trump campaign. Rovt’s plane became notorious in Ukraine after President Poroshenko used it to secretly travel to Spain in July 2016. Poroshenko also used it in April/May 2017 for a vacation to the Maldives — the same timeframe as the reported bribe and Giuliani contract kick-off in Kharkiv.
The research cited in this article is by no means exhaustive, but conclusions can be drawn regarding Rudy Giuliani’s disqualifying conflicts-of-interest, potential criminal exposure, and dangerous intent.
At best, Giuliani used his title as an “Advisor to the U.S. President” for purely personal gain and to the detriment of his own country’s national security. At no time did he contribute to or strengthen the U.S. government’s critical role in protecting American citizens from cybersecurity threats, putting all of us in the vulnerable position we are in today. Regarding his planned “cyber working group” a former senior U.S. official reportedly stated “from what I saw, it didn’t exist.” At worst — and speculatively — Giuliani appears to have been a rogue envoy for Donald Trump, facilitating a year-long negotiation with the Ukrainian Government to trade lethal arms for silence in the Mueller investigation.
National security reporters need to stop sitting on this story. In May 2018, when Giuliani first began making the rounds on cable news again, he clearly stated his destructive strategy in representing Trump. Knowing that the significant criminal conspiracy Donald Trump (and himself) have been involved with will one day lead to impeachment, Giuliani said “to a large extent…what we’re doing here, it is for public opinion, because eventually the decision here is going to be impeach or not impeach.” As a result, every day that Giuliani is on T.V. is another day our news media is intentionally subjecting the American public to abusive gaslighting, and subjecting the Mueller investigation to jury tampering and sabotage.