Giuliani asked State Dept. to grant visa for ex-Ukraine official at center of Biden allegations: report

President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate MORE’s personal attorney, Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiBiden: Impeachment hearings show 'Trump doesn't want me to be the nominee' Sondland brings impeachment inquiry to White House doorstep FBI sought interview with whistleblower at heart of impeachment probe MORE, asked the State Department and White House to grant a visa to the former Ukrainian prosecutor who Joe BidenJoe BidenFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate MORE wanted removed when he was vice president, a career diplomat reportedly told Congress this week during closed-door testimony.

CNN reported Friday that four people familiar with the testimony from Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent said he told lawmakers that around January Giuliani asked the administration to grant a visa for former Ukrainian prosecutor-general Viktor Shokin to travel to the United States.

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Biden had pushed for Shokin’s dismissal, arguing he was not pursuing corruption cases aggressively enough. Republicans have since floated unfounded claims that Biden’s efforts were instead motivated by a desire to help his son, Hunter, who sat on the board of a natural gas company Shokin was investigating.

Kent reportedly told congressional investigators that Giuliani appealed to the White House after the State Department denied the request but that Shokin’s visa was never ultimately granted.

Giuliani, the White House and the State Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The State Department told CNN that visa records are confidential under federal law and that the agency does not discuss the particulars of any individual case.

Giuliani has said Shokin told him over Skype that he found evidence of coordination between Democrats and people in Ukraine, as well as unspecified allegations about Biden’s son. He has said Shokin "believes the current Ambassador Marie L. Yovanovitch denied his visa" and noted that Yovanovitch was "close to Mr. Biden."

Yovanovitch was recalled as U.S. ambassador to Ukraine in May. She is one of several current and former State Department officials who have provided closed-door testimony to House Democrats as part of their impeachment inquiry into President Trump.

Shokin is a key player in the impeachment probe, which was sparked after it was revealed that Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate claims that Biden lobbied Ukraine for Shokin's dismissal to benefit his son.