State Dept. agrees to release documents on Giuliani communications

The State Department has agreed to turn over a cache of records featuring communications from President TrumpDonald TrumpMeghan McCain: Democrats 'should give a little credit' to Trump for COVID-19 vaccine Trump testing czar warns lockdowns may be on table if people don't get vaccinated Overnight Health Care: CDC details Massachusetts outbreak that sparked mask update | White House says national vaccine mandate 'not under consideration at this time' MORE's personal attorney, Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiCapitol insurrection hearing exposes Trumpworld delusions DOJ declines to back Mo Brooks's defense against Swalwell's riot lawsuit Bob Dole: 'I'm a Trumper' but 'I'm sort of Trumped out' MORE, on matters related to Ukraine, according to a joint status report filed in court late Wednesday. 

The agreement comes a little over a week after a federal judge ordered the State Department to begin turning over documents related to Giuliani's communications with top State officials.

The ruling came in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by American Oversight, an ethics watchdog group.

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The judge ruled that the department had 30 days to turn over the documents, but that both parties needed to meet to narrow the scope of American Oversight's request. 

The State Department is agreeing to search for records related to external communications between Giuliani, his associates Victoria Toensing and Joseph diGenova and Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoNoem to travel to South Carolina for early voting event Poll: Trump leads 2024 GOP primary trailed by Pence, DeSantis Pence v. Biden on China: Competing but consistent visions MORE, according to the status report released Wednesday.

The report says that "to the extent responsive records exist" the State Department will "process and produce" the documents "with appropriate redactions" by Nov. 22. 

The department has also agreed to process communications between Giuliani and some of Pompeo's advisers, including including State Department counselor Ulrich Brechbuhl and former senior adviser Michael McKinley.

The search will include a review of text messages, messaging platforms, emails and calendar entries.

In addition, the department has agreed to American Oversight's request for records on any correspondence about Giuliani, diGenova or Toensing's plans to travel to Ukraine or encourage Ukrainian officials to investigate 2020 presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenCDC chief clarifies vaccine comments: 'There will be no nationwide mandate' Overnight Defense: First group of Afghan evacuees arrives in Virginia | Biden signs Capitol security funding bill, reimbursing Guard | Pentagon raises health protection level weeks after lowering it Biden urges local governments to stave off evictions MORE and his son. 

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

The agreement between the State Department and American Oversight comes amid a fast-moving House impeachment inquiry into Trump's dealings with Ukraine.

The inquiry is centered around a whistleblower complaint accusing Trump and Giuliani of seeking a foreign nation's help in investigating Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, over unfounded allegations of corruption. 

Pompeo has so so far refused to comply with House Democrats' subpoena for documents related to the department's dealings with Ukraine. But he hinted last week in an interview with the Wichita Eagle that the department would comply with the court order. 

According to the status report, the State Department has also agreed to produce communications between certain government officials and any non-government individuals regarding Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.

It has also agreed to search for any "final directives" given to recall her in May. The search will be limited to communications between Pompeo, Brechbuhl and John Sullivan, the deputy secretary of State. 

The whistleblower complaint has alleged that Yovanovitch's removal occurred because of accusations leveled by a former Ukrainian prosecutor. The State Department had called the allegations an "outright fabrication."

Meanwhile, the status report noted that the parties did not reach on agreement on including summaries and readouts of the July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The department claimed that the documents had a "high likelihood of being classified or privileged."  

Austin Evers, executive director at American Oversight, said in a statement last week that the court order was "an important victory for the American people’s right to know the facts about Ukraine." 

"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," Evers said following the agreement. "The Trump administration would do well to treat congressional subpoenas with the same approach rather than trying to sustain a failing strategy of total obstruction."