Democrats released records earlier this week claiming that Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani had been in contact with the United States Office of Management and Budget (OMB) — which held the $400 million in U.S. aid to Ukraine earlier this year — a claim that now appears to be in doubt.
“House Democrats earlier this week released records asserting that Rudy Giuliani was in contact with a phone number associated with the White House budget office, where $400 million in aid to Ukraine was temporarily put on hold this summer,” The Wall Street Journal reported. “That assertion, however, is now in doubt. The previously undisclosed phone number cited by the House Intelligence Committee in its impeachment inquiry report, which The Wall Street Journal has identified, isn’t directly linked to the Office of Management and Budget. It could instead reflect phone calls from other parts of the White House, according to people familiar with the matter.”
A Democrat committee official admittedly told RealClearPolitics that they are not sure if the phone number provided by Chairman Adam Schiff, a Democrat, is accurate: “We don’t definitively know who the call was to because the White House has ignored our subpoena.”
The Journal noted that OMB officials stated that Giuliani did not speak with on one their staff and that a White House official previously stated White House call logs do not match up with phone records of acting chief of staff and budget office director Mick Mulvaney.
🚨Breaking: Uh oh…Now Schiff's committee doesn't know if he had the wrong number…was it OMB that Rudy called or wasn't it? They can't say. https://t.co/i7gsHLXqEU
— Susan Crabtree (@susancrabtree) December 5, 2019
Schiff’s committee claimed that Giuliani had a 12-minute phone call on August 8 with a number that Democrats claimed was OMB, which came a week after Giuliani allegedly met with a Ukrainian official.
“That number, along with the other references in the report to a number associated with OMB, all correspond to a placeholder number that shows up when officials in several White House departments make calls, according to people familiar with the matter,” the Journal added. “The Intelligence Committee’s report set off media speculation that Mr. Giuliani was coordinating with the budget office about frozen aid to Ukraine, though the report didn’t specifically allege any discussion of aid by the president’s lawyer.”
Giuliani has denied knowing that the aid was ever put on hold by the Trump administration until the information became public knowledge.
Democrats claim that President Donald Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during a July 25 phone call, which Zelensky has repeatedly denied, saying that Trump was withholding $400 million in military assistance to Ukraine as a way of pressuring them into opening political investigations into former Vice President and current Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden.
The part of Trump’s phone call that Democrats take issue with is when he brought up Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, who worked on the board of a corrupt Ukrainian gas company, Burisma.
“The other thing, there’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great,” Trump told Zelensky. “Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it… It sounds horrible to me.”
Despite Democrats’ claims, multiple witnesses in their impeachment hearings, including Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, Senior NSC official Tim Morrison, Ambassador Kurt Volker, and Ambassador Gordon Sondland have all testified that there was no quid pro quo during Trump’s call with Zelensky.
Lieutenant General Keith Kellogg, who is Vice President Mike Pence’s National Security Adviser, released a statement last month stating that he was on the call and nothing improper happened: “I was on the much-reported July 25 call between President Donald Trump and President Zelensky. As an exceedingly proud member of President Trump’s Administration and as a 34-year highly experienced combat veteran who retired with the rank of Lieutenant General in the Army, I heard nothing wrong or improper on the call. I had and have no concerns.”