WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on Friday urged Committee Chairman Jim Risch (R-Idaho) to submit an official Senate query to the Trump administration asking why a private citizen is traveling to Ukraine to work with a foreign government in an effort related to President Trump’s re-election campaign. In a letter to Chairman Risch, Murphy specifically expresses concerns that President Trump is dispatching an emissary to operate a shadow foreign policy apparatus outside the purview of the U.S. State Department. Murphy also expresses concerns about the timing of this trip with Ukraine Ambassador Yovanovitch’s departure from her post before the term was finished.
“Rudolph Giuliani, the President’s personal lawyer, has apparently held meetings with Ukrainian officials in the United States and plans to travel to Ukraine for further discussions. As far as we know, none of these meetings are being coordinated with the U.S. State Department or other government agencies,” Murphy said.
Murphy continued, “Reports indicate that promises have been made regarding U.S. policy as a quid pro quo in exchange for information. Has the private foreign policy engagement of Rudolph Giuliani or other private representatives of the President led to any official foreign policy decisions, such as the recalling of the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine?”
Full text of the letter follows and can be found here.
Dear Chairman Risch,
I was alarmed to read recent reports regarding private individuals associated with President Trump meeting with officials of a foreign government and potentially operating a shadow foreign policy apparatus aimed at influencing upcoming U.S. elections. I am deeply concerned about the implications of this for United States foreign policy.
Specifically, Rudolph Giuliani, the President’s personal lawyer, has apparently held meetings with Ukrainian officials in the United States and plans to travel to Ukraine for further discussions. As far as we know, none of these meetings are being coordinated with the U.S. State Department or other government agencies.
Mr. Giuliani admitted that some may “say it’s improper” to carry on these activities. I have never agreed with Mr. Giuliani more – these actions are entirely improper and could be illegal. Under our constitutional responsibility to conduct oversight of U.S. foreign policy, it is essential that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee query the Administration regarding the following questions:
Reports indicate that promises have been made regarding U.S. policy as a quid pro quo in exchange for information. Has the private foreign policy engagement of Rudolph Giuliani or other private representatives of the President led to any official foreign policy decisions, such as the recalling of the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine?
There are conflicting reports about the reasons U.S. Ambassador Masha Yovanovitch was recalled to Washington. It is at a minimum troubling that Mr. Giuliani’s engagement with the official government of Ukraine is occurring in the immediate aftermath of the removal of the U.S. Ambassador, and apparently without the involvement of the U.S. Embassy. Why was the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine recalled before her term was over?
Mr. Giuliani and his team are presumably briefing President Trump on their meetings and engaged in discussions with him on the relevant issues. Are Mr. Giuliani and his staff privy to diplomatic cables or classified information as part of these discussions? Have his employees been vetted for potential conflicts of interest?
It is deeply concerning that a private emissary of the U.S. President is reportedly encouraging a foreign government to investigate an American citizen. What implications does this have for U.S. foreign policy and the U.S. justice system?
Prosecutor General Lutsenko reportedly traveled to New York in January 2019. Was he traveling with an official visa from the United States or a tourist visa? If it was a tourist visa, why did he not receive an official visa?
Did Prosecutor General Lutsenko meet with representatives from the Justice Department during his visit to the United States?
Is the State Department aware of other foreign government officials meeting with private foreign policy representatives of the President or his campaign, either past or present?
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee should be concerned that the President of the United States is making foreign policy decisions through personal or campaign representatives that do not go through the Department of State, preventing us from exercising our constitutional oversight responsibilities on behalf of the American people. Further, the possibility that a personal representative of the President is engaging with foreign governments in order to obtain personal or political gain is a matter that must be thoroughly examined. I appreciate your attention to this urgent issue and look forward to discussing the steps necessary for our committee to carry out the appropriate oversight regarding these questions.
Christopher S. Murphy
CC: Senator Robert Menendez, Ranking Member