A controversial right-leaning reporter at the center of the Trump-Ukraine scandal emailed a copy of one of his stories—before it was published—to a top ally of Rudy Giuliani, as well as two pro-Trump investigators attempting to dig up negative information on the Biden family.
In March, The Hill's investigative reporter John Solomon published a story claiming that the U.S. government had pressured Ukrainian prosecutors to drop a probe of a group funded by the Obama administration and liberal billionaire George Soros. The story was published at 6 p.m., according to a timestamp on the paper’s website. Solomon himself didn’t share it on his Twitter account until 6:56 p.m. that night. The earliest cache of the story in the Internet Archive is from 7:42 p.m. Eastern time.
But hours before that, at 12:52 p.m. Eastern time, Solomon appears to have sent a version of the article to Ukrainian-American businessman Lev Parnas and the Trumpworld lawyers Joe diGenova and Victoria Toensing. The email was titled “Outline of Soros reporting, including embedded documents” and included the headline and the text of his piece.
Two congressional sources confirmed to The Daily Beast that Solomon’s email was part of a roughly 50-page package of material that was turned over to lawmakers on Wednesday by the State Department’s Inspector General’s office. Reuters was the first to report the email’s inclusion in the packet.
That material, according to congressional sources, appeared to be a “misinformation” effort meant to smear the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine and the Bidens. CNN reported on Wednesday that Giuliani had conceded that the information in the package originated, at least in part, with him.
“They told me they were going to investigate it,” Giuliani said to CNN, referring to a call he got from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Neither Solomon nor The Hill responded to request for comment from The Daily Beast. But in a series of tweets Wednesday night, Solomon said he sent the email “as a reporter fact-checking my work”—although the email contained the text of a fully drafted story, not isolated items that needed vetting.
“The email released to the public appears to omit the opening line of my originally sent email,” Solomon claimed in the tweets. “Here is the passage that preceded the summary of my reporting. ‘Appreciate eyeballing for accuracy. Want to be fair and accurate.’ That’s not scandalous. It’s good journalism.”
Emails sent to the addresses Solomon used for Parnas, diGenova and Toensing did not bounce back but were not returned.
Solomon’s email to Parnas, diGenova, and Toensing suggests even stronger ties between the Hill columnist and the Trump team tasked with digging up dirt on Biden abroad. And it raises questions about the degree to which pro-Trump figures were working directly with sympathetic journalists to try and dig up and spread dirt on Biden and like-minded Democrats.
Solomon’s March 29 story about the U.S. embassy in Ukraine makes no direct mention of Parnas, diGenova, or Toensing—instead, the piece cites a letter about the probe from U.S. embassy official George Kent, and claims by former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko that the U.S. pressured him to halt an investigation into the Soros- and U.S.-backed group. But the three individuals have emerged as key players in the lead-up to Trump’s request for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to work with Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, to investigate the Bidens.
Parnas, a Giuliani friend and golf buddy, was a key player in connecting the former New York City mayor to former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin, whom Biden and other top Western government entities and officials had hoped to push out because of his perceived inaction tackling corruption.
DiGenova and Toensing have been some of the president’s most trusted outside allies for years. During Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation last year, the duo was briefly mentioned as possibilities to join the president’s legal defense team. On Sunday, Fox News reported that diGenova and Toensing had been working alongside Giuliani to dig up dirt on Biden—a revelation that the New York Times had noted months prior.
Solomon’s work has come under intense scrutiny following the revelation that a series of his stories about Ukraine may have helped spark events leading to Trump’s request that President Zelensky team up with Giuliani to investigate the Bidens.
On March 20, Solomon published an interview with Lutsenko in which the ex-prosecutor accused the former vice president of having pressured the then-Ukrainian president in 2016 to fire Lutsenko’s predecessor, Shokin. The insinuation, according to Lutsenko, was that Biden hoped to quash an investigation into a Ukrainian gas company connected to his son Hunter Biden. Despite Lutsenko’s retraction of some of the claims, and conclusion that Hunter Biden “did not violate any Ukrainian laws,” the incident was cited in a U.S. government whistleblower’s complaint as one of the circumstances that eventually led to Trump’s call with Zelensky.
Meanwhile, The Washington Post reported new details Wednesday night about Giuliani’s dirt-digging on another front: He’s been consulting via a lawyer with Trump's imprisoned former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort to inquire about the so-called black ledger that reportedly revealed a Ukrainian political party had funneled millions to Manafort. Giuliani believes the ledger was part of a conspiracy by Ukrainians to interfere in the 2016 election on behalf of Hillary Clinton.