Giuliani Travels To Ukraine
LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:
We've made this point before. The impeachment battle will play out as much over the airwaves and the Internet as in the halls of Congress. With that in mind, perhaps, the president's lawyer Rudy Giuliani has made a trip to Ukraine this past week, even as the House of Representatives was drafting articles of impeachment over President Trump's alleged attempt to extort political favors from Ukraine's president. The ostensible purpose of Giuliani's trip is to prepare a series for One America News Network.
One of the people who's been following Giuliani's many travels in Ukraine is Matthew Kupfer of the Kyiv Post, and he joins me now. Welcome.
MATTHEW KUPFER: Thank you for having me.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: This is an extraordinary trip for Giuliani to be making right now. Tell us briefly who these people are that Giuliani is meeting - has been meeting with.
KUPFER: If we want to generalize, we could say that almost all these people are politicians and former officials of questionable repute. First in Budapest, he met with the former Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko, who previously made accusations against the U.S. - former U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch. Lutsenko then later recanted his accusations.
He met with someone named Viktor Shokin, another former prosecutor general. This is the gentleman who Vice President Joe Biden called to have removed. What is often missing from the narrative pushed by people in the Trump circle is that it wasn't just former Vice President Biden calling for Shokin to be removed. It was large segments of civil society, many Ukrainian politicians and many of Ukraine's international partners.
Other people he met with was a lawmaker named Alexander Dubinsky. All of these people are, you know, individuals who you wouldn't necessarily take what they say at face value - and finally, Andrii Telizhenko, a former Ukrainian diplomat who alleges that the Ukrainian Embassy in the United States where he briefly worked was endorsing Hillary Clinton for president and was trying to help a Democratic National Committee operative dig up dirt.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: What have you been able to figure out is the purpose of this documentary when you take this group of people that he's been meeting with?
KUPFER: You know, it's not hard to understand what's going on here. Rudy Giuliani has come to Ukraine to dig up more dirt that will, he hopes, undermine the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump. And Ukrainian politicians have gotten pretty good at figuring out how to get your information to the Trump administration. And so they're ready - especially politicians who are of questionable honesty - are ready to serve up the information that Giuliani wants.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: So what might be the motives of these people in feeding the information to Giuliani?
KUPFER: One key thing is potentially money. It's possible some of these people could be getting paid by somebody to do this stuff. But I also think attention is another. These people may believe that this is a way of improving one's standing in the U.S. and advancing U.S.-Ukrainian relations. And I think, also, it increases their profile. I mean, who in America had heard of Alexander Dubinsky or Andrii Derkach? But they may, after this documentary, become figures who are important.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: What has been the reaction to Giuliani sort of swanning around with TV cameras in Ukraine at a time when the president's being impeached over things that he may have said to the president of Ukraine and what he was trying to get from the president?
KUPFER: In Ukraine, the reaction has not been huge, in my opinion. I certainly didn't hear of any Giuliani sightings in Kyiv except when people who were with him posted photos. I don't think journalists here, even Western journalists, managed to find him. I know people were checking out the different luxury hotels and cigar stores and things like that.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Places where he might be.
KUPFER: Exactly. I mean, they didn't find him. And so I think he was really having private meetings. He wasn't going out much. So he showed up. Most of this controversy around it was really happening in the U.S. - not really controversial for - so much for Ukraine. And then he was gone.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: That is news editor Matthew Kupfer of the Kyiv Post. Thank you very much.
KUPFER: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.