Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 26, 2019

Biden's Intervention In Ukraine And Ukraine's 2016 Election Meddling Are Matters of Fact

Several mainstream media have made claims that Joe Biden's intervention in the Ukraine and the Ukrainian interference in the U.S. election are "conspiracy theories" and "debunked". The public record proves them wrong. By ignoring or even contradicting the facts the media create an opening for Trump to rightfully accuse them of providing "fake news".

On October 04 a New Yorker piece, headlined The Invention of the Conspiracy Theory on Biden and Ukraine, asserted:

[In late 2018], Giuliani began speaking to current and former Ukrainian officials about the Biden conspiracy theory, and meeting with them repeatedly in New York and Europe. Among those officials was Viktor Shokin, a former top Ukrainian prosecutor who was sacked in March, 2016, after European and U.S. officials, including Joe Biden, complained that he was lax in curbing corruption. Shokin claimed that he had lost his powerful post not because of his poor performance but rather because Biden wanted to stop his investigation of Burisma, in order to protect his son. The facts didn’t back this up. The Burisma investigation had been dormant under Shokin.

Several other media outlets also made the highlighted claim to debunk the "conspiracy theory". But is it correct?

We have looked into the claim that Shorkin's investigation against Burisma owner Zlochevsky was dormant, as the New Yorker says, and found it to be false:

The above accounts are incorrect. Shokin did go after Zlochevsky. He opened two cases against him in 2015. After he did that Biden and his crew started to lobby for his firing. Shokin was aggressively pursuing the case. He did so just before Biden's campaign against him went into a frenzy.
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On February 2 Shokin confiscated four large houses Zlochevsky owned plus a Rolls-Royce Phantom and a "Knott 924-5014 trainer". (Anyone know what that is?) Ten days later Biden goes into overdrive to get him fired. Within one week he personally calls Poroshenko three times with only one major aim: to get Shokin fired.
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Zlochevsky had hired Joe Biden's son Hunter for at least $50,000 per month. In 2015 Shokin started to investigate him in two cases. During the fall of 2015 Joe Biden's team begins to lobby against him. On February 2 Shokin seizes Zlochevsky's houses. Shortly afterwards the Biden camp goes berserk with Biden himself making nearly daily phonecalls. Shokin goes on vacation while Poroshenko (falsely) claims that he resigned. When Shokin comes back into office Biden again takes to the phone. A week later Shokin is out.

Biden got the new prosecutor general he wanted. The new guy made a bit of show and then closed the case against Zlochevsky.

It is quite astonishing that the false claims, that Shokin did not go after Burisma owner Zlochevsky, is repeated again and again despite the fact that the public record, in form of a report by Interfax-Ukraine, contradicts it.


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On Thursday Buzzfeed News wrote about a different Ukrainian prosecutor who in early 2019 was approached to set up meetings with President Donald Trump's private lawyer Rudy Giuliani:

[Gyunduz] Mamedov’s role was key. He was an intermediary in Giuliani’s efforts to press Ukraine to open investigations into former vice president Joe Biden and the debunked conspiracy theory about the country’s interference in the 2016 presidential election, a collaboration between BuzzFeed News, NBC News, and the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) can reveal.

The OCCRP is funded by the UK Foreign Office, the US State Dept, USAID, Omidyar Network, Soros' Open Society, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and others. Most of these entities were involved in the 2014 coup against the elected government of the Ukraine.

Is the "conspiracy theory" about Ukrainian interference in the U.S. election really "debunked"?

It is, of course, not. The facts show that the interference happened. It was requested by the Democratic National Committee and was willingly provided by Ukrainian officials. 

As Politico reported shortly after Trump had won the election, it was the Democratic Party organization, the DNC, which had asked the Ukrainians for dirt that could be used against the campaign on Donald Trump:

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.

The Ukrainian-American who was the go between the DNC and the government of Ukraine had earlier worked for the Clinton administration:

Manafort’s work for Yanukovych caught the attention of a veteran Democratic operative named Alexandra Chalupa, who had worked in the White House Office of Public Liaison during the Clinton administration. Chalupa went on to work as a staffer, then as a consultant, for Democratic National Committee. The DNC paid her $412,000 from 2004 to June 2016, according to Federal Election Commission records, though she also was paid by other clients during that time, including Democratic campaigns and the DNC’s arm for engaging expatriate Democrats around the world.

In March 2016 Chalupa went to the Ukrainian embassy in Washington DC and requested help from the Ukrainian ambassador to go after Trump's campaign manager Paul Manafort. In August 2016 the Ukrainians delivered a secret "black ledger" that allegedly showed that Manafort had illegally received money for his previous work for the campaign of the former Ukrainian president Yanukovych.

Handwritten ledgers show $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments designated for Mr. Manafort from Mr. Yanukovych’s pro-Russian political party from 2007 to 2012, according to Ukraine’s newly formed National Anti-Corruption Bureau. Investigators assert that the disbursements were part of an illegal off-the-books system whose recipients also included election officials.

“Paul Manafort is among those names on the list of so-called ‘black accounts of the Party of Regions,’ which the detectives of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine are investigating,” the statement said. “We emphasize that the presence of P. Manafort’s name in the list does not mean that he actually got the money, because the signatures that appear in the column of recipients could belong to other people.”

The provenance of the ledger is highly dubious. It was allegedly found in a burned out office of Yanukovych's old party:

The papers, known in Ukraine as the “black ledger,” are a chicken-scratch of Cyrillic covering about 400 pages taken from books once kept in a third-floor room in the former Party of Regions headquarters on Lipskaya Street in Kiev.
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The accounting records surfaced this year, when Serhiy A. Leshchenko, a member of Parliament who said he had received a partial copy from a source he did not identify, published line items covering six months of outlays in 2012 totaling $66 million. In an interview, Mr. Leshchenko said another source had provided the entire multiyear ledger to Viktor M. Trepak, a former deputy director of the domestic intelligence agency of Ukraine, the S.B.U., who passed it to the National Anti-Corruption Bureau.

Anti-corruption groups in Ukraine said the black ledger detailing payments was probably seized when protesters ransacked the Party of Regions headquarters in February 2014.

The pages from the ledger, which had come from anonymous sources probably supported by John Brennan's CIA, were never proven to be genuine. But the claims were strong enough to get Manafort fired as campaign manager for Donald Trump. He was later sentenced for unrelated cases of tax evasion.

Serhin A. Leshchenko, the member of the Ukrainian parliament who published the dubious ledger, was rabidly anti-Trump. Shortly after providing the "secret ledger" he talked with the Financial Times and promised to continue to meddle in the U.S. election. The FT headline emphasized the fact:

    Ukraine’s leaders campaign against ‘pro-Putin’ Trump (screenshots):

The prospect of Mr Trump, who has praised Ukraine's arch-enemy Vladimir Putin, becoming leader of the country's biggest ally has spurred not just Mr Leshchenko but Kiev's wider political leadership to do something they would never have attempted before: intervene, however indirectly, in a U.S. election.
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Mr. Leshchenko and other political actors in Kiev say they will continue with their efforts to prevent a candidate - who recently suggested Russia might keep Crimea, which it annexed two years ago - from reaching the summit of American political power.

"A Trump presidency would change the pro-Ukrainian agenda in American foreign policy," Mr Leshchenko, an investigative journalist turned MP, told the Financial Times. "For me it was important to show not only the corruption aspect, but that he is [a] pro-Russian candidate who can break the geopolitical balance in the world."
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If the Republican candidate loses in November, some observers suggest Kiev's action may have played at least a small role.

A Democratic Party operative asked the Ukrainian ambassador to find dirt on Trump's campaign manger Paul Manafort. A few month later a secret "black ledger" emerges from nowhere into the hands of dubious Ukrainian actors including a 'former' domestic intelligence director.

The ledger may or may not show that Manafort received money from Yanukovych's party. It was never verified. But it left Trump no choice but to fire Manafort. Ukrainian figures who were involved in the stunt openly admitted that they had meddled in the U.S. election, promised to do more of it and probably did.

The Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election is well documented. How the Buzzfeed News author can claim that it is a "debunked conspiracy theory" is beyond me.

In 1998 the U.S. and the Ukraine signed a Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters (pdf). It came into force in February 2001. Article I defines the wide scope of assistance:

1. The Contracting States shall provide mutual assistance, in accordance with the provisions of this Treaty, in connection with the investigation, prosecution, and prevention of offenses, and in proceedings related to criminal matters.

2. Assistance shall include: (a) taking the testimony or statements of persons; (b) providing documents, records, and other items; (c) locating or identifying persons or items; (d) serving documents; (e) transferring persons in custody for testimony or other purposes; (f) executing searches and seizures; (g) assisting in proceedings related to immobilization and forfeiture of assets, restitution, and collection of fines; and (h) any other form of assistance not prohibited by the laws of the Requested State.

3. Assistance shall be provided without regard to whether the conduct that is the subject of the investigation, prosecution, or proceeding in the Requesting State would constitute an offense under the laws of the Requested State.

When Trump asked the current Ukrainian President Zelensky to help with an investigation into the above matters he acted well within the law and within the framework of the treaty. It was certainly not illegitimate to do that.

But when mainstream media deny that Biden's interference in Ukraine's prosecutor office is suspect, or claim that the Ukraine did not interfere in the U.S. elections, they make it look as if Trump did something crazy or illegal. He does plenty of that but not in this case. To use it a basis of an 'impeachment inquiry' is political bullshit.

Making these false claims will come back to haunt those media outlets. Sooner or later the public will recognize that those claims are false. It will lessen the already low trust in the media even more.

 

Posted by b on October 26, 2019 at 17:51 UTC | Permalink

Comments
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uncle tungsten @99--

Thanks for your reply to our very productive discourse! Regarding 2020, as with all incumbent POTUS, Trump has the ability to determine the context through the actions he undertakes. With Gabbard and Sanders, he has no way of undermining or topping their domestic vision as to do so would betray his Current Oligarchy sponsors and himself. But he does have the ability to shape events internationally, although much of what we've witnessed to-date is contradictory. Thanks to Clinton's outburst and her debate performance, Gabbard ought to poll high enough to gain admission to the next debate which I might even watch just to judge both her and Sanders's performance instead of relying on extremely poor media coverage.

IMO, the only entity that can insure Trump's reelection is the DNC, just as in 2016.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 28 2019 23:31 utc | 101

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