As the controversy surrounding President Donald Trump’s phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky continues to steal the headlines, a new twist in the situation reportedly involves people with ties to Trump who allegedly pressured Ukraine over their state-run gas company in order to benefit their allies.
According to The Hill, the Associated Press reported the bombshell story on Sunday evening, with a claim that a group of Trump’s associates used their connections to the president and Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, to direct lucrative contracts to other companies controlled by allies of the president.
After Zelensky won the 2019 election against then-President Petro Poroshenko, the plan was reportedly sidelined. However, after Zelensky’s 2019 election win, U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry reportedly attempted to have Ukrainian officials replace the management team at the large, state-run gas firm, though it’s not known if that was an attempt at a continuation of the original plan to benefit Trump’s and Giuliani’s allies.
One of the candidates Perry had in mind to take over management happens to be from Texas and is one of the energy secretary’s past political donors.
A spokeswoman for the U.S. Energy Department insisted that Perry’s involvement at the time was primarily an effort by the former Texas governor to assist in reforming Ukraine’s energy sector while at the same time developing a path for Western nations to do energy-related business in the former Soviet country.
As The Inquisitr previously reported, Trump recently pivoted, to some degree, on his involvement in the controversial Ukraine phone call, claiming that the phone call to Zelensky was Perry’s idea in the first place. Trump told a group of GOP House members on a conference call that he never planned on making the call, but was convinced by Perry to do so.
The Associated Press stressed in their report that no criminal allegations were being made in the report and that as far as Giuliani’s role — if he had any role at all — it remains unclear if he was involved in pushing for lucrative gas contracts for his associates.
The report did raise questions about the Trump and Giuliani allies possibly combining politics and business. Based on information from three individuals the media outlet interviewed for the report, the allies, which are a group of Republican donors and businessmen with some level of presidential access, reportedly knew well in advance certain U.S. governmental moves that would be made in Ukraine.
One of those moves included having the knowledge that Trump planned to replace the U.S. ambassador in Ukraine three months ahead of it actually taking place.
The situation was so concerning to one of the interviewees that he reportedly told a U.S. Embassy official in Ukraine about it several months ago.