House Intelligence Report Reveals Call Logs Between White House And Giuliani

Dec 4, 2019
Originally published on December 5, 2019 9:48 am
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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Now, that standing ovation that Democrats gave Schiff was in large part due to the report that his committee prepared and then released yesterday. If you've been following the impeachment hearings, you already know much of what was in there, but there were a few surprises. Topping the surprise list - phone records the committee has obtained. They show Rudy Giuliani's contacts with the White House, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee and a Giuliani associate who is now under federal indictment. NPR justice correspondent Ryan Lucas is here again.

Hi, Ryan.

RYAN LUCAS, BYLINE: Hi there.

KELLY: All right. So these phone records - how'd they get them, what's in them?

LUCAS: So the House Intelligence Committee obtained call records from AT&T and Verizon as part of this inquiry. These are records of calls and text messages. But it's an important point here that they just show that a call was made or that a text was sent. They don't tell us what was said. We don't have the content of these communications.

KELLY: Just the metadata. OK. But they must tell us something, the very fact that these calls occurred and which days and which times. What are we learning?

LUCAS: Well, they show, for example, that Rudy Giuliani was in frequent contact with the White House at important moments. One example of that is April 23 and 24 of this year. Giuliani had around a dozen calls over those two days with the White House. He had three others with the Office of Management and Budget. Then on the morning of April 24, Giuliani goes on Fox News and says this - he says, keep your eye on Ukraine. Take a listen.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

RUDY GIULIANI: I think it gives some interesting information about Joe Biden from Ukraine, about his son, Hunter Biden, about a company he was on the board of.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: His business dealings.

LUCAS: A day after Giuliani says that, Joe Biden announces that he is running for president.

KELLY: So some questions prompted by those, including, I can think of - I'm curious why the president's personal attorney needs to be in touch with the Office of Management and Budget several times in one day.

LUCAS: Indeed.

KELLY: OK. But what is Giuliani saying about all this?

LUCAS: So he said on Twitter that the fact that he had calls with the White House doesn't establish that he spoke about any specific topic. And he says that, you know, he is the president's personal attorney, so he has every reason to speak with the White House. There was, however, another number in the phone records of calls with Giuliani. That number is identified only as dash one (ph) or minus one (ph) We don't know whose number that is.

KELLY: I want to ask about a couple of the other figures who appear in these call logs, including - this is a curious one - Devin Nunes, who, as we know, is the top Republican on the Intelligence Committee; also an indicted associate of Giuliani, Lev Parnas. What did we learn about their calls?

LUCAS: So the records show that Nunes was in touch by phone with Giuliani and Parnas. Parnas, of course, is someone who helped Giuliani dig up dirt in Ukraine on Biden. Parnas was indicted in October by federal prosecutors in New York for alleged campaign finance violations. An attorney for Parnas has told me that Parnas helped arrange a trip for Nunes to Europe in 2018. He wouldn't say where, but Nunes has denied reports that he traveled to Vienna for meetings tied to Ukraine. Now, Nunes was asked by Fox News' Sean Hannity yesterday about these phone calls with Parnas. Here's what Nunes said.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "HANNITY")

DEVIN NUNES: You know, it's possible, but I haven't gone through all my phone records. I don't really recall that name. You know, I remember the name now because he's been indicted.

LUCAS: The call records in the report say that Nunes and Parnas spoke for eight minutes and 34 seconds on April 12.

KELLY: Ryan, aside from the details about who called who when and how long they spoke for, the bigger question here is, does this deepen our understanding of what happened between Giuliani and the White House in regards to Ukraine? Have we learned more?

LUCAS: Well, Democrats are certainly suggesting that we have. The top Democrat on the committee, Adam Schiff, says that these records indicate that there was considerable coordination among the parties, including the White House, in this smear campaign linked to Ukraine. Schiff also says that, yes, they don't have the full picture. They would like to keep investigating to learn more. Parnas, for his part, says that he wants to work with the House. But the timeline is very tight on this. It's unclear whether he will actually be able to do so.

KELLY: Thank you, Ryan.

LUCAS: My pleasure.

KELLY: NPR's Ryan Lucas. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.