White House alerted in May of Ukraine's concerns with Giuliani: report

The White House was alerted by at least mid-May that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had concerns about President TrumpDonald John TrumpThis week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry Impeachment week: Trump probe hits crucial point Judd Gregg: The big, big and bigger problem MORE’s personal attorney Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiImpeachment week: Trump probe hits crucial point This week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry Giuliani associate says he sought to pressure Ukraine to investigate Bidens MORE and his pressure campaign, NBC News reported Monday.

Two people with knowledge of the matter told NBC News that the National Security Council was informed of Giuliani's efforts to push for a change in leadership at the state-owned energy company Naftogaz and for an investigation into former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenImpeachment week: Trump probe hits crucial point Trump DACA fight hits Supreme Court Juan Williams: Honesty, homophobia and Mayor Pete MORE and his son. 

ADVERTISEMENT
Fiona Hill, a former top aide to Trump on European and Russian affairs, told then-national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonImpeachment week: Trump probe hits crucial point Swalwell: Depositions provided evidence of an 'extortion scheme' Intelligence panel Democrat: 'I think we will end up calling' some witnesses on GOP list MORE of Ukraine’s concerns after finding out that Giuliani associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman were involved in the attorney’s efforts in Ukraine.

Hill also was informed that U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland was providing advice to the incoming Ukrainian president during the week of May 20 about who should hold leadership positions in his administration, which a source told NBC News the Ukrainians perceived as “inappropriate.” Ukraine is not part of the EU.

Former U.S. diplomat Amos Hochstein told Hill that he had talked with Zelensky and his advisers about the pressure from Giuliani and Sondland, and they shared how they did not want to be involved in domestic U.S. politics, according to the network.

NBC News’s report clarifies that the White House National Security Council knew the pressure campaign worried Ukraine before Zelensky had been sworn in as president. 

The Hill reached out to the White House and Hill’s lawyer for comment.

The Trump administration’s relationship with Ukraine has come under scrutiny after a whistleblower report indicated Trump asked Zelensky to investigate Biden and his son. News of the report pushed Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiImpeachment week: Trump probe hits crucial point Klobuchar: 'I have seen no reason why' Hunter Biden would need to testify Johnson dismisses testimony from White House officials contradicting Trump as 'just their impression' MORE (D-Calif.) to announce an impeachment inquiry.

Since then, Giuliani has come under the microscope. Parnas and Fruman were arrested earlier this month and charged with campaign finance violations.