Ukraine election meddling

September 27, 2019 – The Trump-Zelensky transcript contradicts the whistleblower complaint in three notable instances

“The Trump-Zelensky transcript contradicts the whistleblower complaint in three notable instances, raising questions about the credibility of the whistleblower and his or her purported White House sources.

First, WB claims that his sources told him that after “an initial exchange of pleasantries” Trump “used the remainder of the call to advance his personal interests.” The transcript shows that the leaders discussed meetings in Poland and DC before ending the call.

 

Second, WB claims that aside from the cases “purportedly dealing with the Biden family and the 2016 US election … no other ‘cases’ were discussed.” But the transcript shows that Trump and Zelensky talked of a potential probe of Marie Yovanovitch. (misspelled as Ivanovich)

Zelensky: “if you have any additional information that you can provide to us, it would be very helpful for the investigation to make sure that we administer justice in our country” in regards to Yovanovitch.

In the transcript, Yovanovitch’s name is misspelled “Ivanovich” and Zelensky appears to have misstated her title as “Ambassador to the United States from Ukraine.”

WB claims the loading of the call transcript onto a secure system amounted to an abuse of that system since the “the call did not contain anything remotely sensitive from a national security perspective.” The transcript was labeled (properly) “SECRET/ORCON/NOFORN.”

The “SECRET/ORCON/NOFORN.” label was appropriate since the call contained Trump’s views on foreign nations, including Germany, a key U.S. ally. Unauthorized disclosure of such information has the potential to harm national security.

Pelosi kicked off impeachment before the White House released the transcript of the call and before the complaint was made public. As a result, she may not have been aware that the complaint is based on hearsay, some of which has now been contradicted by the call transcript.” (Ivan Pentchoukov @IvanPentchoukov/Twitter, 9/27/2019)

March 20, 2019 – Senior Ukrainian official opens probe into US 2016 election interference on behalf of Hillary Clinton

Yuriy Lutsenko (Credit: Reuters)

“Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko told Hill.TV’s John Solomon in an interview aired on Wednesday that he has opened a probe into alleged attempts by Ukrainians to interfere in the United States’ 2016 presidential election.

“Today we will launch a criminal investigation about this and we will give legal assessment of this information,” Lutsenko said last week.

Lutsenko is probing a claim from a member of the Ukrainian parliament that the director of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU), Artem Sytnyk, attempted to the benefit of the 2016 U.S. presidential election on behalf of Hillary Clinton.

Hill.TV has also reached out to the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, NABU, and Clinton’s spokesperson for comment.

“According to the member of parliament of Ukraine, he got the court decision that the NABU official conducted an illegal intrusion into the American election campaign,” Lutsenko said.

“It means that we think Mr. Sytnyk, the NABU director, officially talked about criminal investigation with Mr. [Paul] Manafort, and at the same time, Mr. Sytnyk stressed that in such a way, he wanted to assist the campaign of Ms. Clinton,” he continued.

Solomon asked Lutsenko about reports that a member of Ukraine’s parliament obtained a tape of the current head of the NABU saying that he was attempting to help Clinton win the 2016 presidential election, as well as connections that helped release the black-ledger files that exposed Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s wrongdoing in Ukraine.” (Video: The Hill, 3/20/2019)

March 5, 2019 – Marie Yovanovitch calls for Ukraine’s special anti-corruption prosecutor to be removed

Marie Yovanovitch (Credit: U.S. Ukrainian Embassy)

Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, gives a speech to the Ukraine Crisis Media Center (UCMC) on March 5, 2019, calling for their anti-corruption prosecutor to be fired:

(…) “As observers of Ukraine during this election year, we’ve noticed that since the Ukrainian people want change in their lives and in their government, everyone styles themselves as a reformer.  So what are some of the things that are being discussed in Ukraine today, initiatives that could move and help institutionalize the transformation that Ukrainians seek.

I think one thing, coming after last week’s decision, would be passing – actually passing, not just proposing – a new and better amendment to the criminal code that not only restores illicit enrichment as an anti-corruption tool but reinstates the dozens of cases that were undermined by the court decision.

Instead of annulling anti-corruption laws, there are some that believe that the Constitutional Court could focus its attention on revoking the law that requires civil society to file electronic asset declarations, which was clearly intended to undermine the effectiveness of those – like media representatives – who expose corruption and hold elected representatives accountable.

To ensure the integrity of anticorruption institutions, the Special Anticorruption Prosecutor must be replaced. Nobody who has been recorded coaching suspects on how to avoid corruption charges can be trusted to prosecute those very same cases.

Those responsible for corruption should be investigated, prosecuted, and if guilty, go to jail.  And in order for that to happen, all of the elements of the anti-corruption architecture must be in place and must be working effectively.

(U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, 3/05/2019)  (Archive)

December 12, 2018 – Ukraine court rules Manafort disclosure caused ‘meddling’ in U.S. 2016 election

Artem Sytnik (Credit: Oleksandr Stashevskyi/The Associated Press)

“A court in Ukraine has ruled that officials in the country violated the law by revealing, during the 2016 presidential election in the United States, details of suspected illegal payments to Paul Manafort.

2016, while Mr. Manafort was chairman of the Trump campaign, anti-corruption prosecutors in Ukraine disclosed that a pro-Russian political party had earmarked payments for Mr. Manafort from an illegal slush fund. Mr. Manafort resigned from the campaign a week later.

The court’s ruling that what the prosecutors did was illegal comes as the Ukrainian government, which is deeply reliant on the United States for financial and military aid, has sought to distance itself from matters related to the special counsel’s investigation of Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential race.

(…) After President Trump’s victory, some politicians in Ukraine criticized the public release by prosecutors of the slush fund records, saying the move would complicate Ukraine’s relations with the Trump administration.

In Ukraine, investigations into the payments marked for Mr. Manafort were halted for a time and never led to indictments. Mr. Manafort’s conviction in the United States on financial fraud charges related to his work in Ukraine was not based on any known legal assistance from Ukraine.

Serhiy Leshchenko (Credit: Efrem Lukatsky/The Associated Press)

Two Ukrainian members of Parliament had pressed for investigations into whether the prosecutors’ revelation of the payment records, which were first published in The New York Times, had violated Ukrainian laws that, in some cases, prohibit prosecutors from revealing evidence before a trial.

Both lawmakers asserted that if the release of the slush fund information broke the law, then it should be viewed as an illegal effort to influence the United States presidential election in favor of Hillary Clinton by damaging the Trump campaign.

The Kiev District Administrative Court, in a statement issued Wednesday, said that Artem Sytnik, the head of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine, the agency that had released information about the payments, had violated the law. The court’s statement said this violation “resulted in meddling in the electoral process of the United States in 2016 and damaged the national interests of Ukraine.”

The court also faulted a member of Ukraine’s Parliament, Serhiy A. Leshchenko, who had commented on Mr. Manafort’s case and publicized at a news conference materials that the anti-corruption bureau had already posted on its website.

Mr. Leshchenko said he would appeal the ruling, and that the court was not independent and was doing the bidding of the Ukrainian government as it sought to curry favor with the Trump administration.” (Read more: The New York Times, 12/12/2018)  (Archive)

December 19, 2015 – Hillary Clinton’s Ukrainian connection is a question worth exploring

Hillary Clinton meets with Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko on September 19, 2016 in New York City. (Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

“The latest news headlines indicate that the Russia 2016 election-meddling investigation is ramping up. Connected with this probe is the now-infamous meeting President Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., had with Russian officials last June. While we are still trying to ascertain who all was in that meeting and what, if any, information was shared that could have helped Trump’s presidential campaign, we cannot ignore another meeting with a foreign government — one where we have proof serious campaign violations were committed.

Back in January of this year, Politico reported that Democratic officials met with Ukrainian officials to get information on the Trump campaign in an effort to boost Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid. While it didn’t get nearly the mainstream media scrutiny that Donald Trump Jr.’s Russia meeting is getting, it did prompt President Trump to correctly ask why it was being swept under the rug.

In a tweet last month, Trump said “Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump campaign — ‘quietly working to boost Clinton.’ So where is the investigation A.G.” It even prompted a Ukraine member of parliament, Andre Derkah, to send a letter last month to Ukraine’s prosecutor general requesting “that authorities launch a pretrial investigation into ‘illegal interference in the election of President of the United States organized by a criminal investigation.’” It also raised some very serious concerns for our organization, the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT).

This month, FACT filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) against the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and its Ukrainian-American consultant, Alexandra Chalupa, for knowingly soliciting and accepting illegal, in-kind contributions from the Ukrainian government.

Specifically, the complaint contends that last year, Ukrainian-American operative and DNC consultant, Alexandra Chalupa met with Ukrainian government officials to get information in an effort to expose ties between Trump, his former campaign manager Paul Manafort and Russia. As reported, a political officer in the Ukrainian Embassy was instructed to help Chalupa conduct research on connections between Trump, Manafort, and Russia. The DNC subsequently acknowledged that it had knowledge of the research.

First, according to federal law, an in-kind contribution consists of “anything of value, including information and leads, the fruits of paid research, or similar investigatory activity, to a political committee.” Second, federal law also prohibits accepting or receiving anything of value from foreign nationals and the Ukrainian government officials are foreign nationals.

Since Chalupa allegedly engaged in both activities as a DNC staffer, this collusion would constitute an illegal, in-kind contribution. And, even though the DNC claimed it “did not incorporate [Chalupa’s] findings in its dossiers on the subjects,” that would be irrelevant as the DNC solicited and received valuable opposition research.

Given what we know today about both situations, it’s clear they both merit serious investigation.” (Read more: The Hill, 8/30/2017)