“Talk to Rudy,” President Donald Trump said to anyone dealing with Ukraine issues. The sworn testimony came from European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland, who testified before Congress on the president’s efforts to bribe Ukraine into investigating his political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden.
The Washington Post reported Sunday that Ukraine isn’t the only country Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, is working with outside the purview of the State Department. As of Sept. 2018, Giuliani was on the phone with former Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. He was joined by implicated former Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX). Sessions has already been subpoenaed by a federal grand jury and Giuliani is reportedly under criminal investigation.
“Both were part of a shadow diplomatic effort, backed in part by private interests, aimed at engineering a negotiated exit to ease President Nicolás Maduro from power and reopen resource-rich Venezuela to business, according to people familiar with the endeavor,” The Post reported.
Sessions’ own spokesperson, Matt Mackowiak, revealed to The Postthat the former Congressman was the special person tasked with finding a “back-channel” to visiting with Maduro in person.
It wasn’t the first, and it wouldn’t be the last time Giuliani inserted himself into “shadow diplomacy,” outside of the view of the public.
Currently, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is expected to leave the department to run for U.S. Senate in Kansas, despite being linked to Trump’s Ukraine scandal. But after Trump won in 2016, Giuliani let it be known he was holding out for the high position in the president’s cabinet.
“I probably have traveled in the last 13 years as much as Hillary did in the years she was secretary of state,” Giuliani said in Nov. 2016. “My knowledge of foreign policy is as good, or better, than anybody they’re talking to.”
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