Do you want to talk about interference with foreign elections?
Want to investigate foreign collusion?
Then perhaps it’s time to drop Trump-Russia and start looking at Hillary-Ukraine!
While the Mueller investigation is showing all signs of being dead in the water after 2+ years and not even a shred of a link between Trump and Russia found, a new story is developing that suggests real election meddling may have came from the Ukraine in order to benefit Hillary Clinton!
Hannity reported on it last night.
Watch it here:
A bombshell new report from The Hill’s John Solomon Wednesday revealed the Ukrainian government has opened an official probe into allegations of “election interference” during the 2016 race for the White House “on behalf of Hillary Clinton.”
“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,” reports The Hill.
“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,” adds the report.
“Today we will launch a criminal investigation about this and we will give legal assessment of this information,” Lutsenko said.
Solomon went on to ask if Ukrainian officials possessed audio tapes of high-ranking members of Parliament discussing interfering on Clinton’s behalf in the months leading up to the general election.
“This member of parliament even attached the audio tape where several men, one of which had a voice similar to the voice of Mr. Sytnyk, discussed the matter,” said Lutsenko.
President Trump himself quoted to the story!
Take a look:
The story originally broke on The Hill:
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.
A State Department spokesman told Hill.TV that officials aware of news reports regarding Sytnyk.
"We have always emphasized the need for deep, comprehensive, and timely reforms that respond to the demands the Ukrainian people made during the Revolution of Dignity: an end to systemic corruption, faster economic growth, and a European future for all Ukrainians," a department spokesperson told Hill.TV.
"We have consistently said that Ukraine’s long-term success and resilience depends on its commitment to reform, in particular the fight to address corruption. To succeed, Ukraine needs committed government officials and strong anti-corruption institutions. The United States is committed to engaging with our partners in Ukraine, including on efforts to roll back the persistent corruption that continues to threaten Ukraine’s national security, prosperity, and democratic development.”
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.
"This member of parliament even attached the audio tape where several men, one of which had a voice similar to the voice of Mr. Sytnyk, discussed the matter."
And here's even more from The Hill:
After nearly three years and millions of tax dollars, the Trump-Russia collusion probe is about to be resolved. Emerging in its place is newly unearthed evidence suggesting another foreign effort to influence the 2016 election — this time, in favor of the Democrats.
Ukraine’s top prosecutor divulged in an interview aired Wednesday on Hill.TV that he has opened an investigation into whether his country’s law enforcement apparatus intentionally leaked financial records during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign about then-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort in an effort to sway the election in favor of Hillary Clinton.
The leak of the so-called black ledger files to U.S. media prompted Manafort’s resignation from the Trump campaign and gave rise to one of the key allegations in the Russia collusion probe that has dogged Trump for the last two and a half years.
Ukraine Prosecutor General Yurii Lutsenko’s probe was prompted by a Ukrainian parliamentarian's release of a tape recording purporting to quote a top law enforcement official as saying his agency leaked the Manafort financial records to help Clinton's campaign.
The parliamentarian also secured a court ruling that the leak amounted to “an illegal intrusion into the American election campaign,” Lutsenko told me. Lutsenko said the tape recording is a serious enough allegation to warrant opening a probe, and one of his concerns is that the Ukrainian law enforcement agency involved had frequent contact with the Obama administration’s U.S. Embassy in Kiev at the time.
“Today we will launch a criminal investigation about this and we will give legal assessment of this information,” Lutsenko told me.
Lutsenko, before becoming prosecutor general, was a major activist against Russia’s influence in his country during the tenure of Moscow-allied former President Viktor Yanukovych. He became chief prosecutor in 2016 as part of anti-corruption reforms instituted by current President Petro Poroshenko, an ally of the U.S. and Western countries.
Unlike the breathless start to the Russia collusion allegations — in which politicians and news media alike declared a Watergate-sized crisis before the evidence was fully investigated — the Ukraine revelations deserve to be investigated before being accepted.
After all, Ukraine is dogged by rampant corruption. It is a frequent target of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s dirty tricks. And it is a country that, just last year, faked a journalist's death for one day, reportedly to thwart an assassination plot.
But the chief prosecutor, a member of parliament and a court seemingly have enough weight to warrant serious scrutiny of their allegations and an analysis of the audio tape.
Furthermore, the mystery of how the Manafort black ledger files got leaked to American media has never been solved. They surfaced two years after the FBI investigated Manafort over his Ukraine business activities but declined to move forward in 2014 for lack of evidence.
We now have strong evidence that retired British spy Christopher Steele began his quest in what ultimately became the infamous Russia collusion dossier with a series of conversations with top Justice Department official Bruce Ohr between December 2015 and February 2016 about securing evidence against Manafort.
We know the FBI set up shop in the U.S. embassy in Kiev to assist its Ukraine–Manafort inquiry — a common practice on foreign-based probes — while using Steele as an informant at the start of its Russia probe. And we know Clinton’s campaign was using a law firm to pay an opposition research firm for Steele’s work in an effort to stop Trump from winning the presidency, at the same time Steele was aiding the FBI.
Those intersections, coupled with the new allegations by Ukraine’s top prosecutor, are reason enough to warrant a serious, thorough investigation.
If Ukraine law enforcement figures who worked frequently with the U.S. Embassy did leak the Manafort documents in an effort to influence the American election for Clinton, the public deserves to know who knew what, and when.
Lutsenko’s interview with Hill.TV raises another troubling dynamic: The U.S. Embassy and the chief Ukrainian prosecutor, who America entrusts with fighting corruption inside an allied country, currently have a dysfunctional relationship.
In our interview, Lutsenko accused the Obama-era U.S. Embassy in 2016 of interfering in his ability to prosecute corruption cases, saying the U.S. ambassador gave him a list of defendants that he would not be allowed to pursue and then refused to cooperate in an early investigation into the alleged misappropriation of U.S. aid in Ukraine.
For those readers with a great memory, you might recall this is not the first time we've heard rumblings of this story.
Back in 2017, Politico ran this story:
Donald Trump wasn’t the only presidential candidate whose campaign was boosted by officials of a former Soviet bloc country.
Ukrainian government officials tried to help Hillary Clinton and undermine Trump by publicly questioning his fitness for office. They also disseminated documents implicating a top Trump aide in corruption and suggested they were investigating the matter, only to back away after the election. And they helped Clinton’s allies research damaging information on Trump and his advisers, a Politico investigation found.
A Ukrainian-American operative who was consulting for the Democratic National Committee met with top officials in the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington in an effort to expose ties between Trump, top campaign aide Paul Manafort and Russia, according to people with direct knowledge of the situation.
The Ukrainian efforts had an impact in the race, helping to force Manafort’s resignation and advancing the narrative that Trump’s campaign was deeply connected to Ukraine’s foe to the east, Russia. But they were far less concerted or centrally directed than Russia’s alleged hacking and dissemination of Democratic emails.
Russia’s effort was personally directed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, involved the country’s military and foreign intelligence services, according to U.S. intelligence officials. They reportedly briefed Trump last week on the possibility that Russian operatives might have compromising information on the president-elect. And at a Senate hearing last week on the hacking, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said “I don't think we've ever encountered a more aggressive or direct campaign to interfere in our election process than we've seen in this case.”
There’s little evidence of such a top-down effort by Ukraine. Longtime observers suggest that the rampant corruption, factionalism and economic struggles plaguing the country — not to mention its ongoing strife with Russia — would render it unable to pull off an ambitious covert interference campaign in another country’s election. And President Petro Poroshenko’s administration, along with the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington, insists that Ukraine stayed neutral in the race.Yet Politico’s investigation found evidence of Ukrainian government involvement in the race that appears to strain diplomatic protocol dictating that governments refrain from engaging in one another’s elections.
Russia’s meddling has sparked outrage from the American body politic. The U.S. intelligence community undertook the rare move of publicizing its findings on the matter, and President Barack Obama took several steps to officially retaliate, while members of Congress continue pushing for more investigations into the hacking and a harder line against Russia, which was already viewed in Washington as America’s leading foreign adversary.
Ukraine, on the other hand, has traditionally enjoyed strong relations with U.S. administrations. Its officials worry that could change under Trump, whose team has privately expressed sentiments ranging from ambivalence to deep skepticism about Poroshenko’s regime, while sounding unusually friendly notes about Putin’s regime.
Poroshenko is scrambling to alter that dynamic, recently signing a $50,000-a-month contract with a well-connected GOP-linked Washington lobbying firm to set up meetings with U.S. government officials “to strengthen U.S.-Ukrainian relations.”
Revelations about Ukraine’s anti-Trump efforts could further set back those efforts.
“Things seem to be going from bad to worse for Ukraine,” said David A. Merkel, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council who helped oversee U.S. relations with Russia and Ukraine while working in George W. Bush’s State Department and National Security Council.
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