Ex-Trump officials met with Zelensky campaign aides at Trump hotel earlier this year: report

Former Trump officials and campaign advisers for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky reportedly met at Trump International Hotel months before the July phone call between the leaders that is now at the center of a whistleblower complaint.

Zelensky's campaign advisers had dinner on April 16 with Mike Rubino, a former Trump campaign adviser and former representative in the Department of Health and Human Services, and Matt Mowers, a former State Department member, CNBC reported. Former White House press secretary Sean SpicerSean Michael Spicer'A Warning' replaces Donald Trump Jr.'s 'Triggered' as No.1 book on NYT bestseller list Sarah Sanders defends Trump: He reads 'more than anybody I know' The Hill's Morning Report - Witness transcripts plow ground for public impeachment testimony MORE also made a short appearance.


The dinner at the hotel's BLT Prime restaurant reportedly took place just more than a week before Zelensky won Ukraine's presidential election. 

Zelensky's campaign had hired Signal Group Consulting for $60,000 to set up meetings with government officials before he won the election. Executives from the group also attended the dinner, according to CNBC.

Rubino said in an interview with CNBC that he did not know the people he met with were from Zelensky's campaign. 

“Honestly, I think Signal was trying to impress them,” Rubino said. “I just did it as a favor. I showed up, sat down, ate dinner and left. I didn’t really speak to anybody because they spoke in a different language.”

Spicer added in an interview with CNBC that he was introduced to a member of the campaign team but did not know if he was the campaign's leader.

“They introduced me to the campaign guy,” Spicer said in an interview. “I had every impression that they [Signal] were trying to impress this client,” he added.

The dinner occurred months before the call between the presidents, which has been at the center of the whistleblower report and Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiVulnerable Democrats tout legislative wins, not impeachment Photographer leaves Judiciary hearing after being accused of taking photos of member notes Overnight Health Care — Presented by That's Medicaid — House passes sweeping Pelosi bill to lower drug prices | Senate confirms Trump FDA pick | Trump officials approve Medicaid work requirements in South Carolina MORE's (D-Calif.) announced impeachment inquiry in the House. 

In the call, President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial Vulnerable Democrats tout legislative wins, not impeachment Trump appears to set personal record for tweets in a day MORE asked Zelensky to "look into" former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenSenate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial Conservative group hits White House with billboard ads: 'What is Trump hiding?' Democrat representing Pennsylvania district Trump carried plans to vote to impeach  MORE and his son Hunter Biden.

A spokesman from Signal told The Hill in a statement that the Bidens were not discussed at the meeting.

"At no time during the delegation’s April visit was there any mention of an investigation of the Biden family or any related topic," John Procter, the firm’s spokesman, said in a statement.

The Hill reached out to the Trump Organization and the White House for comment.