The White House learned as early as May that Rudy Giuliani was pressuring the new president of Ukraine to shake up the leadership of a state-owned energy company and of efforts by two associates to get the government to investigate the son of former Vice President Joe Biden, according to news reports Monday.
Fiona Hill, the White House's top official in Europe, learned that Giuliani was pushing the government of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate the energy company, Naftogaz, NBC News reports.
Hill also discovered on a May 20 meeting that Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, two Giuliani associates involved in the Naftogaz effort, were trying to find negative information on Hunter Biden, according to the report.
Hill then "quickly" told John Bolton, who was national security adviser at the time, about what she had learned, according to "individuals with knowledge of the meeting."
Biden had entered the presidential race about three weeks earlier.
Parnas and Fruman are now facing federal charges for allegedly using straw donors to make illegal campaign contributions to politicians and committees to advance their business interests.
According to the report, Hill was also at a May meeting at the White House where she learned that Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, a top GOP donor whom President Donald Trump tapped for a position in Brussels, was giving Zelenskiy unsolicited advice on who should serve in his administration.
The Ukrainians considered Sondland's actions "inappropriate." The new president was inaugurated May 20.
Former U.S. diplomat Amos Hochstein, now a member of Naftogaz's supervisory board, told Hill of Zelenskiy's concerns about Sondland, according to the report.
Hochstein had just returned from a May 7 pre-inauguration meeting with Zelenskiy and his advisers in Kyiv, where they discussed how they could keep Ukraine from getting dragged in to domestic U.S. politics, given Giuliani and Sondland's efforts, NBC reports.
The Associated Press had reported Zelenskiy's concerns about pressure from Trump and his allies expressed in the May 7 meeting.
However, those concerns being immediately relayed to the White House National Security Council have never been reported.
Bolton declined to comment Monday, NBC reports. Hill, through her attorney Lee Wolosky, also had no comment.
The White House did not also immediately respond to a request for comment.
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