January 20, 2020, 12:15

House Dem calls State Dept IG briefing a relaying of Ukraine ‘conspiracy theories’

House Dem calls State Dept IG briefing a relaying of Ukraine ‘conspiracy theories’

After a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill Thursday with members and staffs of various congressional committees and the State Department’s inspector general, one Democrat lawmaker in attendance said the Ukraine-related documents the IG provided were, at first glance, full of “conspiracy theories.”

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“The inspector general has no idea where it came from. I mean, of course on its face it said it is coming from the White House,” Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md, a member of the House Oversight Committee said. “There is a series of folders which all come from Trump hotels, so folder after folder that says Trump hotel. Now, I haven’t had time to thoroughly scrutinize, but it is a packet of propaganda and disinformation spreading conspiracy theories.”

Tom Brenner/Getty Images

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) walks into a secure meeting space before attending a closed door meeting with lawmakers, Oct. 2, 2019, on Capitol Hill.

Raskin told ABC News’ Kyra Phillips that many of the documents were tied to former Vice President Joe Biden and his family and that it was a “irrelevant distraction to the work at hand.”

(MORE: Pompeo confirms being on Trump’s Ukraine call, doesn’t answer whether appropriate)

A separate Democratic source told ABC News based on the information they were presented, the documents appeared to be sent from the White House and to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the State Department, and that it contained a bunch of Trump hotel folders with notes from interviews that took place at the offices of President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, with various Ukrainians.

A source tells ABC News the information appears to be old and had been in the IG’s possession for some time.

Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

State Department Inspector General Steve Linick is surrounded by news photographers as he departs after briefing House and Senate Intelligence committees at the Capitol, Oct. 2, 2019.

Another source in attendance described the meeting as “very unusual” and said the decision to release the non classified information was solely at the IG’s discretion. The meeting, which ABC News first reported about on Tuesday, was requested by the IG and was described as “urgent” and related to documents from the State Department regarding Ukraine.

“We understand that the Department’s Inspector General has provided relevant Congressional Committees materials relating to Ukraine. The State Department can confirm that these materials were provided by the Department to the Inspector General on May 3, 2019 for his review and for such action as the Inspector General deemed appropriate. We refer any further questions relating to these materials to the Inspector General,” a State Department spokesperson said in a statement.

As details about President Trump’s advocacy for a Ukrainian investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden continue to emerge, the State Department’s role in connecting Giuliani with Ukrainian officials remains murky.

The State Department confirmed that the former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine, Kurt Volker, put Giuliani in touch with Andriy Yermak, an aide to Ukrainian Volodymyr Zelenskiy, at Yermak’s request. Volker resigned from his post last week and is scheduled to meet with congressional investigators on Thursday.

In a deluge of press interviews over the past week, Giuliani has said he was merely doing the State Department’s bidding in reaching out to Ukrainians.

“I never talked to a Ukrainian official until the State Department called and asked me to do it,” Giuliani said on Fox News last week, “and then I reported every conversation back to them.”

(MORE: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was on July call between Trump, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy)

In an interview on ABC’s “This Week” with George Stephanopoulos, Giuliani insisted that “the Ukrainians came to me. I did not go to them.”

Several Ukrainians have told ABC News they met with Giuliani over the past year. But a comprehensive timeline of Giuliani’s interactions with Ukrainians remains elusive.

Three congressional committees have issued subpoenas for documents related to the State Department’s role in facilitating Giuliani, including communications with him and records around Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in July.

They asked for documents to be produced by Oct. 4.

Sourse: abcnews.go.com

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