Months before the controversial phone call took place between Donald Trump and the president of Ukraine former Trump officials and campaign advisers for President Volodymyr Zelensky met at Trump International Hotel.
On April 16, members of Zelensky’s campaign had dinner with Mike Rubino, a former Trump campaign adviser, and Matt Mowers, a former State Department member. CNBC also reported that former White House press secretary Sean Spicer also made a brief appearance at the dinner.
The dinner was held at the hotel’s BLT Prime and it took place just over a week before Zelensky won Ukraine’s presidential election.
Zelensky’s campaign hired Signal Group Consulting for $60,000 to set up meetings with government officials before he won the election. Executives from Signal Group also attended the dinner.
Rubino told CNBC that he did not know the people he met with were from Zelensky’s campaign.
“Honestly, I think Signal was trying to impress them,” Rubino said. “I just did it as a favor. I showed up, sat down, ate dinner and left. I didn’t really speak to anybody because they spoke in a different language.”
Spicer claims that he was introduced to a member of the campaign team but did not know if it was the campaign’s leader.
“They introduced me to the campaign guy,” Spicer said in an interview. “I had every impression that they [Signal] were trying to impress this client,” he added.
The dinner was held months before Trump’s phone call with Zelensky which is now the center of an impeachment inquiry into Trump.
In the call, July 25 phone call Donald Trump pressured Zelensky to “look into” his political rival Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.
A spokesman from Signal said in a statement that the Bidens were not discussed at the dinner.
”At no time during the delegation’s April visit was there any mention of an investigation of the Biden family or any related topic.” John Procter, the firm’s spokesman, said in a statement.