President TrumpDonald John TrumpPelosi hits back at Trump over letter: ‘Only the latest attempt to cover up his betrayal of our democracy’ Trump directed Perry, State Dept. officials to talk to Giuliani on Ukraine: report Murkowski warns against rushing to conclusions on Trump impeachment MORE pressured then-Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonTrump’s tirades, taunts and threats are damaging our democracy Donald Trump and the New Isolationism Tillerson: Netanyahu ‘played’ Trump with misinformation MORE to help convince the Department of Justice (DOJ) to drop a criminal investigation against an Iranian-Turkish gold trader who was also a client of Trump’s current personal lawyer, Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiPelosi hits back at Trump over letter: ‘Only the latest attempt to cover up his betrayal of our democracy’ Trump directed Perry, State Dept. officials to talk to Giuliani on Ukraine: report Murkowski warns against rushing to conclusions on Trump impeachment MORE, Bloomberg reports.
Tillerson refused Trump’s 2017 request, saying it would be illegal to interfere with an ongoing investigation. He repeated his stance to then-chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE in a hallway conversation in the White House.
At the time, Reza Zarrab, the trader in question, was being prosecuted by a New York federal court on charges of evading U.S. sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program, according to Bloomberg. As a result, Zarrab hired Giuliani and former Attorney General Michael Mukasey.
Giuliani reportedly reached out to U.S. officials numerous in attempts to solve his client’s situation outside of the court system.
The report comes amid growing scrutiny over the president’s dealings with foreign leaders, especially in light of a recent whistleblower report that raised concerns over a phone call Trump held in which he pressed Ukraine’s president to investigate former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenPelosi hits back at Trump over letter: ‘Only the latest attempt to cover up his betrayal of our democracy’ Clinton jokes she could ‘obviously’ beat Trump in 2020 ‘rematch’ Gowdy in talks to join Trump’s impeachment defense team MORE and his son. The scandal has also implicated Giuliani, whose own dealings in Ukraine have drawn the attention of lawmakers in recent weeks.
The report also comes shortly after Trump announced he was pulling U.S. troops out of northeastern Syria ahead of an expected Turkish offensive against Kurdish forces there. Presdient Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Wednesday that he had formally launched the invasion.
Zarrab’s release was reportedly of high priority for Erdogan until the trader decided to cooperate with New York prosecutors.
Tillerson has openly said that Trump asked him multiple times to do things that would break the law, according to the news source.
Eventually, Zarrab pleaded guilty and reportedly testified against Mehmet Hakan Atilla, who was in charge of international banking at Halkbank, a state-owned Turkish bank.
Erdogan, Zarrab asserted, knew and supported the laundering effort on behalf of Iran, according to the new outlet. The Turkish President has denied these allegations vehemently.
The White House, Kelly and Tillerson all declined to comment to Bloomberg.
Source : Google News