Trump directed Perry, State Dept. officials to talk to Giuliani on Ukraine: report

President TrumpDonald John TrumpWarren defends, Buttigieg attacks in debate that shrank the field Five takeaways from the Democratic debate in Ohio Democrats debate in Ohio: Who came out on top? MORE instructed Energy Secretary Rick PerryJames (Rick) Richard PerryState Dept. official told to 'lay low' after voicing concerns about Giuliani: Dem lawmaker White House, Pentagon, Giuliani reject House subpoenas The Memo: Drip, drip of revelations damages Trump MORE and two top State Department officials to talk with his private attorney Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiGiuliani urged Trump to eject exiled Turkish cleric from US: report State Dept. official told to 'lay low' after voicing concerns about Giuliani: Dem lawmaker White House, Pentagon, Giuliani reject House subpoenas MORE about Ukraine, CNN reported Tuesday night.

Two sources familiar with the president's orders told CNN that when Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky wanted to schedule a meeting with Trump, Trump told the officials to persuade Giuliani. Trump reportedly thought the country was still corrupt. 

"If they can satisfy Rudy, they can satisfy the President," a source familiar with the meeting told CNN. 

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Giuliani's involvement as a private citizen in foreign affairs, specifically with Ukraine, was called into question in the whistleblower report that sparked an impeachment inquiry against Trump in the House. The report alleges that the attorney presented different foreign policies to countries than U.S. diplomats did.

Perry, U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland and former special envoy for Ukraine Kurt VolkerKurt VolkerMulvaney helped organize controversial Ukraine meeting State Dept. official told to 'lay low' after voicing concerns about Giuliani: Dem lawmaker Top State Department official arrives for testimony in impeachment probe MORE met with Trump on May 23, intending to inform the president that Zelensky was trustworthy and worth meeting with, sources told CNN. A meeting between the two leaders would signal to Russia that the U.S. favored a free Ukraine.

"The President was very skeptical," Volker said to the House committees last week. "In the course of that conversation, he referenced conversations with Mayor Giuliani."

Sources said officials wanted to correct the president's view on Ukraine but realized they had to interact with Giuliani to do so.

An Energy Department spokesperson told CNN that Perry did speak to Giuliani but did not comment on what the conversations involved.

When asked by CNN if he had spoken to Perry about Ukraine, Giuliani said, "Did Henry Kissinger ever call me about Ukraine. What about Colin PowellColin Luther PowellTrump directed Perry, State Dept. officials to talk to Giuliani on Ukraine: report Powell: 'The Republican Party has got to get a grip on itself' Lobbying World MORE," before saying those conversations were privileged.

The Hill reached out to the White House, the Department of Energy and the Department of State for comment.