Ukrainian prosecutor offered Giuliani associate a quid pro quo: Biden dirt for firing U.S. ambassador

Rudy Giuliani and associates
(Image credit: Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images)

It appears there's another documented quid pro quo tied to President Trump's efforts to procure from Ukraine some sort of damaging information about potential 2020 Democratic rival Joe Biden — or at least make it appear such evidence might exist. In a cache of documents released late Tuesday by House impeachment investigators, Ukraine's top prosecutor offered to hand Biden-linked information over to Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani if Trump pushed out U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch.

The documents are from Lev Parnas, a Russian-speaking Giuliani associate who helped Giuliani's Biden dirt-digging efforts in Ukraine. In handwritten notes on Ritz Carlton Vienna stationary, Parnas mentioned getting Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky "to annouce [sic] that the Biden case will be investigated," and it appears Yuri Lutsenko, the prosecutor general at the time, was ready to play ball.

"Lutsenko wanted to get rid of Yovanovitch," The Washington Post explains, "in part because she had been critical of his office and supported a quasi-independent anti-corruption bureau he despised."

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"If you don’t make a decision about Madam — you are bringing into question all my allegations. Including about B," Lutsenko wrote Parnas in a March 2019 text message translated from Russian. "Madam" is a reference to Yovanovitch and "B" means either Biden or Burisma, the Ukrainian gas company that hired Hunter Biden. After Parnas told Lutsenko a few days later that "soon everything will turn around and we'll be on the right course," Lutsenko texted he had "testimony about transfers to B" and "copies of payments from Burisma to Senaca," referring to a consulting firm founded by Hunter Biden and fellow Burisma board member Devon Archer.

Lutsenko also complained that Parnas "can't even get rid of" an unidentified female "fool," to which Parnas replied that she is "not a simple fool" and "she's not getting away." Yovanovitch was abruptly pulled from her job in April 2019 after a smear campaign pursued by Giuliani. Zelensky replaced Lutsenko in late August.

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Peter Weber

Peter Weber is a senior editor at, and has handled the editorial night shift since the website launched in 2008. A graduate of Northwestern University, Peter has worked at Facts on File and The New York Times Magazine. He speaks Spanish and Italian and plays bass and rhythm cello in an Austin rock band. Follow him on Twitter.