First on CNN: Trump told Perry and State Department officials as early as May to talk to Giuliani about the Ukraine

Trump believed that Ukraine was still rampant and said that if President Volodymyr Zelensky wanted to meet him, Giuliani would have to be convinced first, according to a source.

"If they can satisfy Rudy, they can satisfy the President," said a person familiar with the meeting.

Trump's push to have Giuliani as a guardian is more direct than previously revealed by one of the participants in the meeting in his statement to the House last week. It also shows how important Giuliani was in the accession to the President regarding Ukrainian politics and the passing on of messages to other officials of the administration.

CNN contacted the White House for comment.

A key accusation in the whistleblower's complaint that prompted the impeachment probe into the President's reports in the Ukraine is that Giuliani, a private citizen, had presented a different American policy to that of US diplomats in Ukraine.

At the May 23 meeting, Perry, US ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland and Kurt Volker, then special representative of the State Department in Ukraine, reported to Trump after returning from Zelensky's inauguration.

Their goal was to tell Trump that they had a favorable impression of Zelensky and his government and that he was a reformer that Trump was supposed to trust and commit to, according to three sources who were familiar with the meeting .

The sources said they hoped to organize a meeting between Trump and Zelensky. They believed that the Ukraine under Zelensky was a more trusted ally than the previous Ukrainian regimes and that a visit between Trump and Zelensky could prove to the Russian government that the United States has embraced a free Ukraine, according to two of the sources.

In particular, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was in Washington on May 23, but did not attend the meeting with Trump.

Perry led the delegation that had participated in the Zelensky inauguration and was a central figure in the May meeting with Trump.

It has become clear to Trump administration officials, according to sources, that they should have dealt with Giuliani.

Volker mentioned last week in speaking about how central Giuliani was in the President's approach to foreign policy in Ukraine.

"The president was very skeptical," Volker told House committees, describing what happened when he, Sondland and Perry talked to Trump. "During that conversation, he referred to conversations with Mayor Giuliani."

"He was clearly getting more information from other sources, including Mayor Giuliani, which was more negative, making him maintain this negative view" of a corrupt Ukraine, added Volker.

US officials then decided to correct the information feed that comes to the President as they realize that they should work with and around Giuliani, according to sources.

Two months later, during an agency meeting, the Office of Management and Budget announced that it would examine whether the Ukraine would receive $ 400 million in assistance from the United States that had been set aside by Congress. The question of aid that later arose eventually became an important topic of conversation between Sondland, Volker and others.

Perry acknowledged talking to Giuliani, according to a spokesman for the Department of Energy. The spokesman did not comment on the meeting itself or the substance of the conversations with Giuliani.

When asked if he had ever spoken to Perry about Ukraine, Giuliani responded by rejecting the question.

"Henry Kissinger never called me for Ukraine," Giuliani wrote on CNN Tuesday. "What about Colin Powell."

He then said that any information about his possible discussions with Perry would be privileged. He did not explain why.

CNN's Michael Warren, Rene Marsh and Jeremy Diamond contributed to this report.



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