White House

State Department agrees to release Pompeo-Giuliani records by November 22

The State Department has agreed to “process and produce” records of communications regarding Ukraine policy between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Rudolph Giuliani, by November 22.

According to a brief filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Wednesday night, the State Department settled on terms for the records release with American Oversight, an ethics watchdog that sued for a swift release of the records in court. The records will also include communications from Pompeo’s inner circle with Giuliani or with any other individuals outside of government related to Giuliani’s Ukraine efforts.

The district court last week had ordered the records released within 30 days and asked for a status update. The brief was filed in response to that request.

In an interview last week, Pompeo told The Wichita Eagle and The Kansas City Star that he saw “no reason” why the department would not comply with the ruling.

According to its joint filing with American Oversight updating the court, the State Department agreed to release communications – including text messages, e-mails and electronic calendar entries – “with the appropriate redactions” regarding the president’s efforts to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate the family of former Vice President Joe Biden. That effort is currently the subject of a House impeachment inquiry.

Specifically, the department agreed to search for communications between Pompeo and Giuliani, as well as Victoria Toensing and Joseph diGenova – two lawyers allegedly involved in Giuliani’s efforts to influence U.S. policy in Ukraine.

The State Department will also search for and release “final directives” – from either the White House or State Department leadership – to recall the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, and accompanying explanations. Yovanovitch has testified before Congress that Giuliani led a campaign to oust her from her post, viewing her as an obstacle to a shadow foreign policy effort.

“This search will be limited to the two-week timeframe preceding Ambassador Yovanovitch’s recall,” the filing reads.

Austin Evers, executive director of American Oversight, told McClatchy that he was hopeful based on negotiations with the State Department that they would proceed “in good faith.”

“Last week the court ordered the administration to sit down to negotiate a plan for the release of Giuliani-Ukraine documents before Thanksgiving,” Evers said.

“While it is too early to say whether the State Department will ultimately meet the court’s order in letter and spirit, negotiations have begun in good faith,” he said.

The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Michael Wilner joined McClatchy as its White House correspondent in 2019. He previously served as Washington bureau chief for The Jerusalem Post, where he led coverage of the Iran nuclear talks, the Syrian refugee crisis and the 2016 US presidential campaign. Wilner holds degrees from Claremont McKenna College and Columbia University and is a native of New York City.
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