National security officials didn't want President Trump to make the call to Ukraine's president that led to a whistleblower complaint and the opening of an impeachment investigation, sources tell the Washington Post. The insiders say officials, alarmed by Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani's pursuit of what the Post calls a "shadow agenda" on Ukraine, feared that the president would use the July 25 call to urge Volodmyr Zelensky to dig up dirt on Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. "An awful lot of people were trying to keep a meeting from happening for the reason that it would not be focused on Ukraine-US relations," one official says. The sources say that for months, national security officials were sidelined as Giuliani worked to get the newly elected Zelensky's administration to find damaging information on the Bidens.
The insiders say Giuliani, who had his own emissaries in Ukraine, also wanted Zelensky aides to punish those who exposed the activities of former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort that led to a corruption conviction. One of his targets was US ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, who was abruptly ousted in May. Officials say it was so difficult to get information from the White House on Giuliani's activities and agenda that they had to rely on news reports. In an interview with Fox News' Laura Ingraham on Tuesday, Giuliani claimed that he had carried out his Ukraine activities at the request of the State Department. He later threatened to sue Democratic contributor Chris Hahn for libel after Hahn accused him of "making things up," Mediaite reports. "Shut up, moron! Shut up!" Giuliani shouted. "You don't know what you’re talking about." (Read more Ukraine stories.)