December 30, 2019

Rudy Giuliani reportedly participated in a phone call with Nicolás Maduro. The White House was confused
You've probably heard about President Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani getting involved with Ukraine, but he also played a role in back-channel negotiations regarding Venezuela, The Washington Post reports. And nobody was really sure why.In September 2018, Giuliani, who isn't an official member of the Trump administration, reportedly listened in on a phone call between Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and then-Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) — who went on to assist Giuliani in the ouster of former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch — in which the sides discussed easing Maduro from power.When White House officials eventually found out about Giuliani's participation in the phone call, alarms bell went off, the Post reports. They reportedly couldn't figure out why someone in a private role was getting involved in a shadow diplomatic effort, especially because Giuliani and Sessions' plan went against the White House's official sanctions-heavy stance championed by former National Security Adviser John Bolton. "We didn't know why Rudy was involved at the time," a former senior administration official said.Giuliani reportedly met with Bolton around the time of the phone call to discuss the softer proposal, and sources told the Post it didn't go well. Washington went on to stick with the tougher line.It's not exactly clear why Giuliani was involved in the discussions or how large his role was, but even if it was just the one phone call, the White House still found it a head-scratcher. Read more at The Washington Post.More stories from theweek.com The 2010s were an economic disaster Trump didn't cause the generational split among evangelicals. But Christianity Today exposed its depth. The White House always knew Trump's order to freeze Ukraine aid could blow up, New York Times details
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