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Behind the Whistle-Blower Case, a Long-Held Trump Grudge Toward Ukraine

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine this month in Kiev. In a call in July, President Trump asked Mr. Zelensky to investigate Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son.

On Friday, Mr. Biden...

On Friday, Mr. Biden dismissed Mr. Trump’s criticism.

The president has suggested he would like Attorney General William P. Barr[1] to look into any material gathered by the Ukrainian prosecutors on the matters.

Starting almost a year ago, Mr. Giuliani, a former federal prosecutor and New York mayor, enlisted intermediaries in a monthslong effort to build interest in the Ukrainian inquiries. They worked with prosecutors under the former Ukrainian government to gather information about the investigations.

After Mr. Zelensky’s victory, Mr. Giuliani planned a trip to Ukraine[2] in May to try to press Mr. Zelensky’s team to pursue the investigations and to meet with people Mr. Giuliani believed would have insights into the new administration and the investigations he was pushing. “We’re not meddling in an election, we’re meddling in an investigation, which we have a right to do,” Mr. Giuliani said at the time.

After the planned trip prompted a backlash from Democrats accusing him of trying to enlist foreign assistance to help Mr. Trump’s re-election, Mr. Giuliani canceled the trip[3] at the last minute. He accused Mr. Zelensky’s allies of planning a “setup.”

Mr. Zelensky’s transition team, not wanting to be seen as taking sides in United States politics, rebuffed a request from Mr. Giuliani for a meeting with the new president, a former adviser to Mr. Zelensky, Serhiy Leshchenko, said in an interview.

“It was clear that the Zelensky team doesn’t want to interfere in American politics,” Mr. Leshchenko said. “They were very angry about this issue.”

Mr. Leshchenko and two other Ukrainians — all of them young, Western-leaning politicians and veterans of the 2014 revolution — said in interviews that Mr. Giuliani’s efforts created the impression that the Trump administration’s willingness to back Mr. Zelensky was linked to his government’s readiness to pursue the investigations sought by Mr. Trump’s allies.


  1. ^ has suggested he would like Attorney General William P. Barr (
  2. ^ planned a trip to Ukraine (
  3. ^ canceled the trip (

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