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Report: Trump Knew About Complaint Before Aid Released

He distances himself from Giuliani's Ukraine work
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 27, 2019 6:43 AM CST
In this Aug. 1, 2018 photo,Rudy Giuliani, personal attorney for President Trump, speaks in Portsmouth, NH.   (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)
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(Newser) – New allegations in the New York Times could be big news for the impeachment inquiry, if they can be proven. The Times, citing "two people familiar with the matter," reports that President Trump knew about the whistleblower's complaint when he decided to unfreeze military aid to Ukraine. The sources say Trump, who released the aid on Sept. 11, learned in late August that he had been accused of wrongdoing in withholding the aid while pressuring Ukraine's president to carry out investigations that could help him politically. Trump was told about the complaint by White House counsel Pat Cippolone and other lawyers who were trying to figure out whether they were required to submit it to Congress, the sources say.

Days before Trump released the aid, he told US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland that no "quid pro quo" was involved. According to the Times' sources, Trump would have known at the time that investigators suspected otherwise. Bloomberg reports that the president is distancing himself from Rudy Giuliani's efforts to get Ukraine to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden. He told former Fox host Bill O'Reilly in an interview Tuesday that he did not direct his attorney to Ukraine to push for investigations. "No, I didn't direct him," Trump said. "No, but you have to understand, Rudy is a great corruption fighter." Giuliani has said his Ukraine investigation was "done solely as a defense attorney to defend my client against false charges." (Giuliani says he's not worried about Trump throwing him under the bus.)

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