Republican Conspiracy Theory Biden-in-Ukraine

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Republican Conspiracy Theory Biden-in-Ukraine

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Sep 30, 2019 8:33 am

from The Intercept

Reporters Should Stop Helping Donald Trump Spread Lies About Joe Biden and Ukraine
Robert Mackey
September 22 2019, 8:23 p.m.
President Donald Trump lied to the press outside the White House on Sept. 22, 2019. Photo: Alastair Pike/AFP/Getty Images

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP appears increasingly desperate to deflect questions about the flagrant abuse of power he seems to have committed this summer by withholding aid to Ukraine as he pressed that country’s new president to open an investigation into the false claim that Joe Biden abused his power as vice president to protect his son’s business interests in Ukraine in 2015.

Since the news broke that Trump repeatedly pressed his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky, to open an investigation into Biden, while delaying $250 million in military aid to Ukraine, the president has urged reporters again and again to look instead at the viral conspiracy theory that the former vice president had admitted on camera that he blackmailed Ukraine’s former president.

In fact, as a detailed review of the evidence conducted by The Intercept in May showed, Biden’s intervention in Ukrainian affairs that year, when he successfully pressed Ukraine’s then-president to dismiss a chief prosecutor who had failed to pursue corruption investigations, was no secret and was widely praised by Ukrainian anti-corruption activists and international donors to the country.

The reason there is footage of Biden boasting about this intervention on stage at a public event in 2018 is that he knew he had nothing to hide.

Put simply, there is no evidence to support the conspiracy theory that Trump and his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani want Ukraine to validate by opening an investigation. Still, it has become an article of faith among Trump supporters that Biden got the chief prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, dismissed to derail a corruption investigation of a Ukrainian firm his son was paid to advise.

But journalists at leading American news organizations — including CNN, the New York Times, Politico, ABC News, and MSNBC — have helped weaponize this disinformation by repeating the baseless smear over and over, without promptly and accurately conveying that Trump and Giuliani are lying about what the former vice president did in Ukraine. So lies and misinformation have been broadcast nationwide, reaching millions of people who will never read subsequent fact checks debunking them.

This began in May, when Giuliani’s embrace of the conspiracy theory was reported on the front page of the Times, in an article that forced readers to wait until the 19th paragraph to find out that “No evidence has surfaced that the former vice president intentionally tried to help his son by pressing for the prosecutor general’s dismissal.” Even so, the Times politics reporter who interviewed Giuliani, Ken Vogel, claimed on Twitter that this meant “The BIDENS are entangled in a Ukrainian corruption scandal.”

As I reported at the time, the truth is not that hard to determine. There is little doubt that Biden’s son Hunter did benefit from his father’s position by securing a spot on the board of a Ukrainian natural gas company in 2014, a legal but ethically dubious move. But when Joe Biden subsequently conveyed a threat from the Obama administration to withhold $1 billion in loan guarantees to Ukraine unless the chief prosecutor was dismissed, his intervention made it more rather than less likely that the oligarch who paid his son would be subject to prosecution for corruption.

That’s because one of the most prominent cases of official corruption that Shokin had failed to pursue was against a former environment and natural resources minister, Mykola Zlochevsky, who had oversight of all Ukrainian energy firms, including the largest independent gas company, Burisma, which he secretly controlled through shell companies in Cyprus. After Zlochevsky was forced from office in 2014 — in the popular uprising that toppled a pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych, and forced his political adviser, Paul Manafort, to look elsewhere for work — Burisma appointed Hunter Biden to its board.

Shokin’s reluctance to pursue Zlochevsky was loudly condemned by the Obama administration shortly before Biden traveled to Ukraine at the end of 2015. In a speech to the Odessa Financial Forum that September, U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt complained that the chief prosecutor’s office had “undermined prosecutors working on legitimate corruption cases,” like, for example, “the case of former Ecology Minister Mykola Zlochevsky.”

“Shokin was fired,” the executive director of Ukraine’s Anti-Corruption Action Center, Daria Kaleniuk, told me in May, “because he failed to do investigations of corruption and economic crimes of President Yanukovych and his close associates, including Zlochevsky, and basically it was the big demand within society in Ukraine, including our organization and many other organizations, to get rid of this guy.”

Despite the debunking of this conspiracy theory by The Intercept and other news outlets when Giuliani first raised it in May, the president’s lawyer was invited on CNN this week and allowed, over the course of 20 minutes on national television, to make a series of false claims about Biden and Ukraine, uncorrected by the host, Chris Cuomo, who admitted that he had almost no knowledge of the facts of the case.


Cuomo Prime Time

@CuomoPrimeTime
CNN's @ChrisCuomo: "Did you ask Ukraine to look into Joe Biden?"@RudyGiuliani: "Of course I did"

President Trump's attorney says he had spoken with a Ukrainian official about Joe Biden's possible role in that government's dismissal of a prosecutor who investigated Biden's son.
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Although Giuliani’s wild demeanor and rambling, self-contradictory remarks were widely mocked, Cuomo’s failure to interrupt his salvo of lies with corrections, captured in clips from the exchange created by Trump supporters, helped Giuliani’s false claims spread like wildfire online.

Had Cuomo been better prepared for the interview, he could have stopped Giuliani in his tracks and helped his viewers understand that the president and his lawyer have taken sides in a battle currently raging in Ukraine, between supporters of the old system and anti-corruption activists who are pressing for reform and transparency.

Trump and Giuliani have taken sides in a battle currently raging in Ukraine, between supporters of the old system and anti-corruption activists pressing for reform and transparency.
Giuliani began with an opening salvo of lies that, properly debunked, reveal the nature of the scam being perpetrated on the American people. The former New York mayor started by telling Cuomo that he had been looking into “complaints that the Ukrainian people, several people in Ukraine, knew about a tremendous amount of collusion between Ukrainian officials and Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee, including a completely fraudulent document that was produced in order to begin the investigation of Manafort.”

This is a reference to what Ukrainians call the black ledger, a book of handwritten accounting records officials from Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau discovered among the papers of deposed president Yanukovych’s pro-Russian political party after the 2014 uprising. Those records, which documented $12.7 million in secret cash payments made to Manafort by Yanukovych’s party, were posted online by the anti-corruption agency in August 2016, prompting Manafort to resign as Trump’s campaign chairman.

Despite Giuliani’s claim, there is no evidence at all that these records of off-the-books payments were “fraudulent.” Andrew Kramer, the Moscow-based Times foreign correspondent who first revealed the secret payments to Manafort, reported at the time that others in Ukraine who were also named in the ledger had confirmed that the document was genuine.

Sergii Leshchenko, a former investigative journalist and reformist member of parliament who helped publicize the off-the-books payments, told me on Friday that Giuliani “is a liar” for saying that the black ledger was a forgery. “It is a real document, with real signatures,” Leshchenko said in a telephone interview, explaining that it had been examined by Ukrainian law enforcement experts.

But if there is no evidence that the payment records incriminating Manafort were fake, where did Giuliani get this idea? In his interview with Cuomo, he attributes the claim to “people in Ukraine” who “were trying to get to us, but they were being blocked by the ambassador, who was a Obama appointee, in Ukraine, who was holding back this information.”

This is a reference to a part of the conspiracy theory developed by John Solomon, an opinion columnist for the Hill in Washington, who relied on the word of a disgraced Ukrainian prosecutor, Nazar Kholodnytsky. Last year, Kholodnytsky was wiretapped by Ukraine’s independent anti-corruption bureau and caught on tape advising suspects in a corruption probe on how not to get caught. Kholodnytsky told Solomon that the ledger “was not authenticated.”

After Kholodnytsky was caught in that sting operation, Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, the Obama appointee who was the top American diplomat in Ukraine until May, demanded that he be fired. Kholodnytsky retaliated by helping Solomon and other right-wing pundits smear Yovanovitch as an anti-Trump, deep-state plotter, prompting the State Department to recall her from Kiev.

Solomon’s other main source for the claim that the ledger was false was Konstantin Kilimnik, Manafort’s former Ukrainian business partner, who has been linked to Russian intelligence.

Despite the questionable nature of his sources, Solomon’s reporting that the black ledger records were fake has been accepted as fact by the president and his surrogates.

Giuliani also wrongly claimed that, last December, there was “a finding by a court in Ukraine that a man named … Leschenko that he produced a phony affidavit that was given to the American authorities and an FBI agent named … Greenwood, and they found him guilty of that.”

In reality, as the reformist Ukrainian politician and journalist Sergii Leshchenko told me on Friday, “there was an administrative court ruling” in December that he, and the head of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau, had wrongly interfered in the 2016 presidential election in the United States, by publicizing the secret payments to Manafort, who was then leading Trump’s campaign. “But this decision of the court was never implemented, because I appealed and won that appeal in July,” Leshchenko added. The appeals court overturned the administrative court’s ruling against both men.

“Giuliani is continuing to misinform American society” about the ledger, Leshchenko told me, “by saying it’s fraudulent.” As for the allegation that he gave false testimony to an American investigator, Leshchenko said, “It’s total nonsense. I never made any affidavit to the FBI.”

“I told the FBI only about one payment to Manafort,” he said. “I met with an FBI person in 2017 only once, and I gave them a contract found in the office of Manafort in Kiev.”

That contract, Leshchenko explained, showed that “former President Yanukovych paid Manafort $750,000 in 2009 to sell 1,000 computers to an offshore company registered in Belize, and this company had its accounts in Kyrgyzstan.” The agent he met with was also not named Greenwood, Leshchenko said. Giuliani was possibly struggling to recall the name Karen Greenaway, a supervisory special agent in the FBI’s International Corruption Unit, who supported the efforts of anti-corruption activists in Ukraine to recover looted assets and was attacked by John Solomon for doing so.

“I will always be angry at Manafort,” Leshchenko wrote in a rebuttal to Giuliani published on Saturday by the Washington Post. “His work contributed greatly to Yanukovych’s election victory in 2010; Yanukovych then used his position as president to enrich himself and his inner circle. I have no doubt that Yanukovych paid Manafort for his services out of the funds he robbed from Ukrainian taxpayers.”

“My desire to expose Manafort’s doings was motivated by the desire for justice,” he continued. “Neither Hillary Clinton, nor Joe Biden, nor John Podesta, nor George Soros asked me to publish the information from the black ledger. I wanted to obtain accountability for the lobbyist whose client immersed Ukraine in a blood bath during the Revolution of Dignity and the subsequent war in eastern Ukraine, when Yanukovych called on Russia to send troops.”

Early in the CNN interview, Giuliani also claimed that, by threatening to withhold loan guarantees unless the chief prosecutor who failed to pursue corruption cases was removed, Biden had, “bribed the president of the Ukraine in order to fire a prosecutor who was investigating his son.”

What’s most telling about this claim is that while there is no evidence at all that Biden abused his power over U.S. aid to Ukraine to advance his own interests, there is plenty of evidence that Trump did delay $250 million in U.S. military aid to Ukraine this summer just as he was pressing its new president, Zelensky, to do him a political favor by opening a phony investigation into the man he trails in general election polls.

The whistleblower complaint filed by a member of the intelligence community last month reportedly concerns, in part, Trump’s conversation with Zelensky on July 25.

As the Kiev-based foreign correspondent Christopher Miller noted, an account of that call released that night by Zelensky’s office reported that “Donald Trump is convinced that the new Ukrainian government will be able to quickly improve image of Ukraine, complete investigation of corruption cases, which inhibited the interaction between Ukraine and the USA.”

Senior administration officials admit that the American president suggested eight times during that call that his Ukrainian counterpart should work with Giuliani to open an investigation into the Biden family. On Sunday, Trump told reporters outside the White House that his call with Zelensky “was largely corruption — all of the corruption taking place, was largely the fact that we don’t want our people, like Vice President Biden and his son, creating to the — the corruption already in Ukraine.” He then urged reporters to pay more attention to “the horrible thing that Joe Biden said,” when he “bragged” in 2018 about his role in pressing Ukraine to fire its then-chief prosecutor during a trip to Kiev in late 2015.

While Zelensky has clearly resisted calls to investigate Biden — “This is definitely not our war,” a source close to him told the Washington Post in May — he may also have antagonized Trump by resisting the American president’s efforts to have Russia readmitted to the Group of Seven industrialized nations. Last month, one day after Trump called for Russia to be readmitted to the G7, Zelensky tweeted, in English, that Russia should not be invited back to the group since it still occupies Crimea and sponsors separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine.


Володимир Зеленський

@ZelenskyyUa
Returning Ukraine’s occupied Crimea, cessation of hostilities in Donbas & releasing over 100 political prisoners & Ukrainian sailors that Kremlin currently holds would signal the world that Russia can be allowed back to its place at the top table of the global diplomacy.

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Володимир Зеленський

@ZelenskyyUa
Since March 2014, when Russia was suspended from the G8, nothing has changed. The Ukrainian Crimea is still occupied, the Ukrainian Donbas is still suffering from the war. Grateful to those countries that have consistently supported Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty

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In his CNN diatribe, Giuliani also claimed that President Zelensky was under the influence of “people who worked for George Soros.” Pressed, gently, as to whether he had proof of that, Giuliani replied, “I absolutely do. I have proof.” He then said, “George Soros has a not-for-profit called Antac. Antac is the one that developed all of the dirty information that ended up being a false document that was created in order to incriminate Manafort.”

Antac is an acronym for Ukraine’s nonprofit Anti-Corruption Action Centre, run by the American-educated lawyer Daria Kaleniuk. It is not, in fact, controlled by Soros or responsible for the records of secret payments to Manafort.

As Kaleniuk wrote in April, in response to attacks by John Solomon on her group, the center has received funding from Soros’s Open Society Foundation but also from “the E.U., the U.S., the governments of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic, the Global Fund,” and hundreds of concerned Ukrainian citizens.

The independent anti-corruption center is also not affiliated with Zelensky, a former television star who is new to politics but backed by a powerful oligarch who was accused by the previous administration of siphoning off millions of dollars in fraudulent loans from a private bank that had to be bailed out.

Since 2016, Kaleniuk wrote, she and her co-founder, Vitaliy Shabunin, have “faced a series of well-planned attacks from various corrupt officials and oligarchs” in retaliation for their efforts to expose corruption and demand transparency.

In much the same way that Russia’s leading anti-corruption activist, Aleksei Navalny, has been falsely accused of corruption and subjected to politically motivated prosecutions aimed at punishing him for exposing the kleptocracy overseen by President Vladimir Putin, the Antac activists have been constantly harassed by powerful Ukrainians who see their work as a threat.

“Smear campaigns on national TV owned by oligarchs, fake news, political harassment, physical attacks, U.S. lobbyists hired to intimidate Antac in foreign media and among decision-makers in the West — we’ve seen all that,” Kaleniuk wrote.

Later in the CNN interview, Giuliani referred to one of those attempts to discredit Antac. “The prosecutor was removed,” Giuliani said of Shokin, the focus of Biden’s intervention, “because he was investigating the son and he was investigating Soros’s charity or whatever the hell it was, Antac.”

As Kaleniuk explained on Twitter in response to Giuliani’s charge: “In 2016 we called for resignation of corrupt prosecutor Shokin for intimidating reformers in his agency and failure to investigate corruption crimes of Yanukovych associates, including Burisma case. In response Shokin fabricated criminal case against us.”

As the independent investigative journalist Scott Stedman revealed in May, court documents from a Canadian lawsuit show that the campaign of harassment against the Ukrainian activists even included the production of fictional news reports about Kaleniuk and Shabunin, apparently orchestrated by the private Israeli intelligence firm Psy-Group to mislead Ukrainians into believing that the politically motivated investigation by Shokin’s prosecutor general’s office was the subject of international news coverage.

Those actual examples of fake news, created to smear Antac’s founders, were, as The Economist noted, “an illustration of the increasingly hostile environment facing anti-corruption activists, journalists and reformist officials in Ukraine.”



Yaroslav Hrytsak, a historian at the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv, has described the pressure on the anti-corruption activists as part of “a counter-revolution” in Ukraine. “The counter-revolutionary propaganda machine is now trying to impose the idea that there are not, and cannot be honest people in Ukrainian politics. This blanket statement is supposed to convince people that the system is invincible, and fighting it is a waste of time,” Hrytsak wrote in the weeks after those fake reports were posted on YouTube.

For Giuliani to suggest now that Shokin’s investigation of those same anti-corruption activists was warranted means that he wants the United States government to take the side of Ukraine’s corrupt oligarchy in the counter-revolution against its reformers.

After watching Giuliani smear Antac on CNN as “Soros’s charity or whatever the hell it was,” Kaleniuk offered the president’s lawyer a simple explanation on Twitter. “We are a group of dedicated Ukrainians aimed to create hell for corrupt Ukrainian crooks and oligarchs,” she wrote. “We do that to stop thugs from robbing our country and thus turning it into a hell for Ukrainians.”

On Monday, she reposted images on Twitter of protests her group led in the summer of 2015, fivve months before Biden’s intervention, at which they demanded the resignation of Shokin, the chief prosecutor Giuliani now praises.


Daria Kaleniuk
@dkaleniuk
This is July 14, 2015. Our first protest in front of "tough prosecutor" (as @RudyGiuliani says) office. Shokin just opened criminal case against reformers in his office, who were investigating senior prosecutors corruption at PGO https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LtRGIJJaqGA
View image on Twitter

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See Daria Kaleniuk's other Tweets


Daria Kaleniuk
@dkaleniuk
This is July 24, 2015. Jointly with other NGOs we are running protest in front of prosecutors general office demanding Shokin resignation - because of his corruption, attacks on reformers and failure to investigate corruption of Yanukivych associates http://antac.org.ua/publications/shapky ... okuratury/
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Chris Cuomo’s failure to properly challenge Giuliani on the jumbled details of the conspiracy theory he presented on live television on Thursday was followed on Friday by more coverage of the smearing of Biden seen primarily through the lens of politics, in which a presumed obligation to treat both sides equally has obscured the fact that one side is lying.

A prime example was a new report from Ken Vogel in which he described the uproar over the president pushing his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate his political rival as “a clash between congressional Democrats and the White House over whether Mr. Trump used the powers of his office and United States foreign policy in an effort to seek damaging information about a political rival.” But Trump was not looking for “damaging information,” he was trying to coerce a foreign government into manufacturing false information about his Democratic rival so as to lend credence to a baseless conspiracy theory.

On the airwaves, coverage of the viral rumors about Biden pushed by the White House has led to a flood of commentary from political reporters and cable news pundits, who are more eager to talk about how effective the tactic might be than to clearly inform the American people that they are being lied to. Notably absent from the discussion have been the voices of anti-corruption reformers in Ukraine, who welcomed the former vice president’s efforts to help them tackle endemic corruption in a country still run by and for a small group of powerful oligarchs with outsized political influence.

On Saturday, the feedback loop — in which Trump and his surrogates fill the airwaves with lies about Biden, and political reporters discuss them as a problem for the Democrat — was closed with the release of an attack ad from Trump’s campaign, featuring a highlight reel of speculation about Biden from pundits, reporters, and anchors on six different news shows, all echoing the president’s false claim that Biden’s intervention in Ukraine, might, somehow, be scandalous.


Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump
This is the real and only story!
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On Monday morning at the United Nations, the president who has refused to make his tax returns public, secretly pursued a deal to build a tower in Moscow as he campaigned for office, handed his daughter and son-in-law jobs in the White House without asking them to divest themselves of business interests, and used the presidency to constantly promote his golf resorts and hotels, told reporters that he was really just concerned about the former vice president’s son having apparently benefited from his father’s position. “What Biden did is a disgrace; what his son did is a disgrace,” he said.

Asked to say what he told the Ukrainian president about Joe Biden and his son during the phone call in July, Trump then accidentally offered a clear explanation of why Biden’s intervention as vice president — pressing Ukraine to tackle corruption in return for U.S. aid — was logical and correct. “We’re supporting a country, we want to make sure that country’s honest,” the president said. “It’s very important to talk about corruption. If you don’t talk about corruption, why would you give money to a country that you think is corrupt? One of the reasons the news president got elected is he was going stop corruption. It’s very important that on occasion you speak to somebody about corruption.”


CSPAN

@cspan
President Trump: "It's very important to talk about corruption. If you don't talk about corruption, why would you give money to a country that you think is corrupt?...It's very important that on occasion you speak to somebody about corruption."
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When another reporter followed up by asking, “Are you willing to clear this up by releasing the whistleblower report, sir?” Trump just pointed his finger at him and said, “Quiet.”

Later on Monday, at meeting with his Polish counterpart, the president continued his unlikely attempt to reinvent himself as an anti-corruption crusader, by stating flatly that “Joe Biden and his son are corrupt.” Without offering any evidence to support that debunked claim, the president who has used his office to enrich himself added, “If a Republican ever did what Joe Biden did, if a Republican ever said what Joe Biden said, they’d be getting the electric chair by right now.”


Tommy Vietor

@TVietor08
Trump's attacks on Biden will get increasingly insane, and they will get covered ad nauseam on cable news. In a month, half the country will think Biden did something wrong despite there being no evidence to support the attacks. We gotta fix how the press covers lying sociopath. https://twitter.com/atrupar/status/1176206521287544832
Aaron Rupar

@atrupar
Replying to @atrupar
Trump ends his bilateral media availability with the Polish president by claiming that "if a Republican ever did what Joe Biden did ... they'd be getting the electric chair right now," before calling the assembled journalists "crooked as hell."
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Last Updated: Monday, Sept. 23, 4:11 p.m. EDT

This article was updated to report new comments from the president of the United States at the U.N. on Monday and evidence of protests by anti-corruption activists against Ukraine’s then-chief prosecutor in 2015.
https://theintercept.com/2019/09/22/rep ... n-ukraine/


From The Intercept

A Republican Conspiracy Theory About a Biden-in-Ukraine Scandal Has Gone Mainstream. But It Is Not True.
Robert Mackey
May 10 2019, 4:52 p.m.
Viral rumors that Joe Biden abused his power as vice president to protect his son’s business interests in Ukraine in 2016, which spread last week from the pro-Trump media ecosystem to the New York Times, are “absolute nonsense,” according to Ukraine’s leading anti-corruption activist. That evaluation is backed by foreign correspondents in Kiev and a former official with knowledge of Biden’s outreach to Ukraine after President Viktor Yanukovych was deposed in a popular uprising in 2014.

In an interview with The Intercept, Daria Kaleniuk, an American-educated lawyer who founded Ukraine’s Anti-Corruption Action Center, expressed frustration that two recent front-page stories in the New York Times, on how the conspiracy theory is being used to attack Biden, failed to properly debunk the false accusation. According to Kaleniuk, and a former anti-corruption prosecutor, there is simply no truth to the rumor now spreading like wildfire across the internet.

The accusation is that Biden blackmailed Ukraine’s new leaders into firing the country’s chief prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, to derail an investigation he was leading into a Ukrainian gas company that the vice president’s son, Hunter, was paid to advise.

The truth, Kaleniuk said, is that Shokin was forced from office at Biden’s urging because he had failed to conduct thorough investigations of corruption, and had stifled efforts to investigate embezzlement and misconduct by public officials following the 2014 uprising.

Properly debunking this particular conspiracy theory is easier said than done, though, since it is set in Ukraine, a country with byzantine political intrigue at the best of times, and these are not the best of times. The rivalries between political factions in Kiev are so intense that even the country’s new anti-corruption agencies are at each other’s throats.

There is no question that Biden did, during a visit to Kiev in late 2015, threaten to withhold $1 billion in loan guarantees unless Shokin was dismissed. But the vice president, who was leading the Obama administration’s effort to fight corruption in Ukraine, did the country a favor by hastening Shokin’s departure, Kaleniuk said, since he had failed to properly investigate corrupt officials.

“Shokin was fired because he attacked the reformers within the prosecutor general’s office,” Kaleniuk said, “reformers who tried to investigate corrupt prosecutors.”

As Andrew Kramer explained in the New York Times when Shokin was finally dismissed in 2016, Biden had acted as the point man for a coordinated international effort:

The United States and other Western nations had for months called for the ousting of Mr. Shokin, who was widely criticized for turning a blind eye to corrupt practices and for defending the interests of a venal and entrenched elite. He was one of several political figures in Kiev whom reformers and Western diplomats saw as a worrying indicator of a return to past corrupt practices, two years after a revolution that was supposed to put a stop to self-dealing by those in power.

As the problems festered, Kiev drew increasingly sharp criticism from Western diplomats and leaders. In a visit in December, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. said corruption was eating Ukraine “like a cancer.” Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, which props up Ukraine financially, said last month that progress was so slow in fighting corruption that “it’s hard to see how the I.M.F.-supported program can continue.”

To illustrate what he called “rot in the prosecutor’s office,” Kramer cited a notorious example, known in Ukraine as the case of the “diamond prosecutors,” in which “troves of diamonds, cash and other valuables were found in the homes of two of Mr. Shokin’s subordinates, suggesting that they had been taking bribes. But the case became bogged down, with no reasons given.”

Among the most prominent cases of official corruption Shokin had failed to pursue was against Yanukovych’s environment and natural resources minister, Mykola Zlochevsky, who had oversight of all Ukrainian energy firms, including the largest independent gas company, Burisma, which he secretly controlled through shell companies in Cyprus. After Zlochevsky was forced from office along with Yanukovych in 2014, his gas company appointed Hunter Biden to its board.

“Shokin was fired,” Kaleniuk observed, “because he failed to do investigations of corruption and economic crimes of President Yanukovych and his close associates, including Zlochevsky, and basically it was the big demand within society in Ukraine, including our organization and many other organizations, to get rid of this guy.”

By getting Shokin removed, Biden in fact made it more rather than less likely that the oligarch who employed his son would be subject to prosecution for corruption.

As the former Reuters correspondent Oliver Bullough explains in his book “Moneyland,” just weeks before Hunter Biden joined the Burisma board in May 2014, ostensibly “to strengthen corporate governance,” Britain’s Serious Fraud Office had frozen $23 million of Zlochevsky’s assets in a money laundering investigation. (Zlochevsky and Burisma have denied all allegations of corruption.) At the time, Bullough writes, “The White House insisted that the position was private matter for Hunter Biden unrelated to his father’s job, but that is not how anyone I spoke to in Ukraine interpreted it. Hunter Biden is an undistinguished corporate lawyer with no previous Ukraine experience. Why then would a Ukrainian tycoon hire him?”

Indeed, hiring the vice president’s son might have seemed to Zlochevsky like a way to protect his business from scrutiny by international investigators. But the facts show that the Obama-Biden administration strenuously opposed the decision by Ukrainian prosecutors to let Zlochevsky off the hook.

Vitaliy Kasko, a former deputy prosecutor who resigned in 2016 and accused Shokin’s office of being a “hotbed of corruption,” told Bullough that he had tried and failed to get his colleagues in the prosecutor general’s office to offer proper assistance to the British inquiry in 2014. But the British investigation was eventually stymied because Ukrainian prosecutors failed to provide a court with evidence that the $23 million — the proceeds from the sale of an oil storage facility Zlochevsky owned via a shell company in the British Virgin Islands — were related to criminal abuse of office by the former natural resources minister.

New reporting from Bloomberg News this week revealed that the 2014 case against Zlochevsky “was assigned to Shokin, then a deputy prosecutor. But Shokin and others weren’t pursuing it, according to the internal reports from the Ukrainian prosecutor’s office reviewed by Bloomberg.”

In December 2014, U.S. officials threatened Ukrainian prosecutors that there would be consequences if they failed to assist the British investigation, according to the documents obtained by Bloomberg. Instead, the Ukrainian prosecutors provided a letter to Zlochevsky’s lawyer stating that they knew of no evidence that the former minister had been involved in embezzlement.

The British investigation collapsed soon after that and the funds were unfrozen and quickly moved to Cyprus.

Kasko, the former deputy prosecutor, told Bloomberg News that there was no truth to the accusation that Biden or anyone in the Obama administration had tried to block the investigation of Zlochevsky. “There was no pressure from anyone from the U.S. to close cases against Zlochevsky,” Kasko said. “It was shelved by Ukrainian prosecutors in 2014 and through 2015.”

On her center’s website, Kaleniuk has been working to debunk a series of conspiratorial stories about supposed “Ukrainian collusion” in the 2016 election which have recently been embraced and promoted by President Donald Trump, his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and his son, Donald Trump Jr. But Kaleniuk was stunned and annoyed by a New York Times report published last week that focused on how the politics of the accusation against Biden might play. The report failed, in her view, to make it clear that the innuendo was false.

“What I’m pissed off about,” Kaleniuk said, “is that Shokin, who was totally corrupt, who undermined the reform of prosecution, and reformers, and who didn’t want to investigate Zlochevsky, now appears in the New York Times as the hero who wanted to investigate Zlochevsky and Burisma and who suffered because Joe Biden demanded to dismiss him because of his willingness to investigate Burisma — which is absolute nonsense.”

Compounding her frustration, Kaleniuk said, is that she was interviewed for the Times story, but it focused more on the potential harm the anti-Biden conspiracy theory could inflict on his presidential candidacy than on making clear that Shokin was fired because of his failure to properly investigate suspected corruption, including by Zlochevsky. Kaleniuk’s fear — that the Times report would be taken as confirmation that Biden had acted improperly — seemed to be realized by a viral tweet promoting the story from Ken Vogel, the Washington correspondent who wrote it, which claimed that “The BIDENS are entangled in a Ukrainian corruption scandal.”


Kenneth P. Vogel

@kenvogel
NEW: The BIDENS are entangled in a Ukrainian corruption scandal:@JoeBiden pushed Ukraine to fire a prosecutor seen as corrupt.
BUT the prosecutor had opened a case into a company that was paying HUNTER BIDEN.
The Bidens say they never discussed it. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/01/us/p ... raine.html
Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. in 2017 in Kiev, Ukraine.
Biden Faces Conflict of Interest Questions That Are Being Promoted by Trump and Allies
As vice president, Joe Biden played a key role in the dismissal of a Ukrainian prosecutor who had opened an investigation of a company employing Mr. Biden’s son.
nytimes.com

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Kaleniuk was also distressed that the Times report, and Vogel’s tweet promoting it, failed to clearly debunk the false claim that the prosecutor Joe Biden got fired “had opened a case into a company that was paying HUNTER BIDEN.” In fact, Kasko and Kaleniuk noted, Shokin had undermined efforts to investigate the company and its owner.

After he was appointed prosecutor general in 2015, Kaleniuk said, Shokin’s office did formally open another investigation into Zlochevsky, but that was done at the request of the country’s parliament, not the chief prosecutor. A review of court documents by Kaleniuk suggested that the only investigative step taken by Shokin’s office in that case was to transfer the files to another agency.

During Shokin’s tenure, American diplomats in Kiev publicly complained about the prosecutor’s failure to investigate Hunter Biden’s employer, Zlochevsky, calling in evidence that the Prosecutor General’s Office (known as the PGO) was in dire need of reform.

“We have learned that there have been times that the PGO not only did not support investigations into corruption, but rather undermined prosecutors working on legitimate corruption cases,” U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt said in a speech to the Odesa Financial Forum on September 24, 2015. “For example, in the case of former Ecology Minister Mykola Zlochevsky, the U.K. authorities had seized $23 million in illicit assets that belonged to the Ukrainian people. Officials at the PGO’s office were asked by the U.K to send documents supporting the seizure. Instead they sent letters to Zlochevsky’s attorneys attesting that there was no case against him. As a result the money was freed by the U.K. court and shortly thereafter the money was moved to Cyprus.”

Pyatt added that the prosecutors “responsible for subverting the case by authorizing those letters should — at a minimum — be summarily terminated.”

Hunter Biden’s presence on the board of a Ukrainian company suspected of corruption first became a political issue three months later, in December 2015, when his father visited Kiev and threatened to withhold financial aid unless the prosecutor general was fired for blocking corruption investigations. As James Risen reported in the Times that month, the vice president’s spokesperson insisted that the younger Biden’s business in Ukraine would have no influence over his father’s determination to push for more vigorous enforcement of anti-corruption laws. (Risen is now The Intercept’s senior national security correspondent.)


VP Biden (Archived)

@VP44
Folks, we're home from Ukraine. This was a good trip. Here are my parting thoughts. http://go.wh.gov/Ukraine
Embedded video

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Although there is no evidence that Joe Biden did anything to shield Burisma from scrutiny, the fact that he failed to dissuade his son from helping to launder the reputation of a Ukrainian company widely suspected of corruption is hardly praiseworthy. The former vice president says that he simply never discussed his son’s business interests in Ukraine, but maybe he should have.

The bad news, for Biden, is that the false nature of the allegation about his role in Ukraine won’t stop Trump and his supporters from treating it like a major scandal, hoping to tarnish the Democrat currently leading the race to face him in the 2020 election. And since the setting for the supposed scandal is a part of the world few Americans have much knowledge of, it could be as hard to refute in the minds of voters as the attack on John Kerry’s Vietnam War record launched by the Swift Boat Veterans in 2004, or the weapons-grade innuendo about Hillary Clinton’s role in Benghazi generated by House Republicans.

As Dan Pfeiffer, a former communications director for President Barack Obama, explained on a recent episode of “Pod Save America” flooding the internet with baseless conspiracy theories can, unfortunately, be good politics. “This is how Trump won,” Pfeiffer said. “Which is: feed conspiracy theories to the base and just throw so much shit around that the folks in the middle say, ‘Well, it’s all confusing, I don’t know who’s right, I don’t have really any way of finding out — certainly the media isn’t capable of telling me — so I’m going to default to my natural expectations which is, both sides are corrupt liars.'”

“And when the public thinks that both sides are corrupt liars,” Pfeiffer added, “that inures to the advantage of the corrupt liar in the race.”

Pfeiffer also criticized Vogel for laying out the conspiracy theory at length before noting that there was no evidence to support it.


Dan Pfeiffer

@danpfeiffer
I read all the way to the 19th paragraph (after a graphic that looked something on a wall in The Wire"), where you buried this nugget: "No evidence has surfaced that the former vice president intentionally tried to help his son by pressing for the prosecutor general’s dismissal." https://twitter.com/kenvogel/status/1123987823693127680



Kenneth P. Vogel

@kenvogel
Replying to @danpfeiffer
If you think this is oppo from @peterschweizer or @RudyGiuliani, you did not read the story very carefully.

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A New York Times spokesperson, Arí Isaacman Bevacqua, defended Vogel’s focus on how the conspiracy theory, and a new investigation in Ukraine, could impact the 2020 election. “Our reporting on the current story began last fall, well before the issue surfaced again elsewhere, and became timely now for two reasons: the recent reopening of an investigation in Ukraine touching on Hunter Biden and the owner of Burisma, and the start of former Vice President Biden’s presidential campaign,” Bevacqua said in a statement. “The role of Rudolph W. Giuliani and the White House in drawing attention to the intersection of the Bidens and the situation in Ukraine was clear to us in the latter stages of reporting, and we highlighted that fact for readers in the story (and the headline). Our reporting unearthed new facts about Mr. Giuliani’s contacts with the Ukrainian prosecutors and the steps he took to keep President Trump apprised — developments that the story explicitly noted raised questions ‘about whether Mr. Trump is endorsing an effort to push a foreign government to proceed with a case that could hurt a political opponent at home.'”

In an interview with the Times last week, Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, boasted about pressing Ukraine’s current prosecutor general, Yuriy Lutsenko, to open a new investigation into Burisma, the firm that Hunter Biden was a board member of from May 2014 until last month. Lutsenko had previously closed the probe of Burisma after getting the company to admit to a relatively minor underpayment of taxes. But in late March, his office filed a new notice of suspicion related to the firm, according to the Times.

On Friday, the Times published a second front-page story on the anti-Biden conspiracy theory, reporting that Giuliani “plans to travel to Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, in the coming days and wants to meet with the nation’s president-elect to urge him to pursue inquiries” into the gas company that employed Hunter Biden and allegations that an independent anti-corruption bureau there “meddled” in the U.S. election in the summer of 2016 by releasing evidence of secret payments toPaul Manafort, Trump’s campaign chair at the time.

Giuliani shrugged off the suggestion that there might be something wrong with encouraging a foreign government to investigate the American president’s political rivals. “We’re not meddling in an election, we’re meddling in an investigation, which we have a right to do,” Giuliani told the Times. “And this isn’t foreign policy,” he added. “I’m asking them to do an investigation that they’re doing already and that other people are telling them to stop. And I’m going to give them reasons why they shouldn’t stop it because that information will be very, very helpful to my client, and may turn out to be helpful to my government.”

The fact that a Times reporter described Biden as “entangled in a Ukrainian corruption scandal” has been treated as confirmation by Trump’s supporters and the far-right media outlets that work to boost him that the allegation is true.


Rudy Giuliani

@RudyGiuliani
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/01/us/p ... -ios-share … via ⁦@nytimes⁩. Biden conflicts are too apparent to be ignored and should be investigated quickly and expeditiously. But the more important question is how deep and how high did the alleged Ukraine conspiracy go?
Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. in 2017 in Kiev, Ukraine.
Biden Faces Conflict of Interest Questions That Are Being Promoted by Trump and Allies
As vice president, Joe Biden played a key role in the dismissal of a Ukrainian prosecutor who had opened an investigation of a company employing Mr. Biden’s son.
nytimes.com

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Before it reached the Times, the frenzied speculation about Biden, and the supposed meddling in the 2016 election by anti-corruption prosecutors in Ukraine, was regularly featured on a network of far-right websites that work to boost Trump and undermine Democrats. Among the first outlets to promote the idea of the Ukrainians as the real meddlers was Sputnik, a Russian state-owned news agency. That theme, and related conspiracy theories about Ukraine and Democrats, were then featured in a series of opinion columns by John Solomon, a columnist for The Hill in Washington. Solomon’s stories, based on interviews with disgruntled, far-right Ukrainian officials who had previously been featured in Sputnik, have been enthusiastically embraced by the conspiracy theorist-in-chief.


Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump
“John Solomon: As Russia Collusion fades, Ukrainian plot to help Clinton emerges.” @seanhannity @FoxNews

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The Biden conspiracy theory has also been heavily promoted by the Epoch Times — which is owned by members of the Chinese Falun Gong spiritual movement and is virulently pro-Trump. As Ron Klain, Biden’s former chief of staff in the White House, noted, records of political spending online show that the Epoch Times has even paid to spread the conspiracy theory more widely on Facebook.


Meanwhile in Kiev, something of a feedback loop has developed in which Ukrainian officials who have been criticized by Obama-era diplomats are now supported by Trump loyalists.

Take the case of Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, the top American diplomat in Ukraine, who has served administrations of both parties but was appointed to this post by Obama.

Ukraine’s current prosecutor general, Yuriy Lutsenko, complained in an interview with The Hill that Yovanovitch had improperly handed him a list of people he should not prosecute for corruption. The allegation sounds scandalous, until you discover that the Ukrainians the U.S. ambassador was trying to protect were anti-corruption activists who received grants for their nonprofit work from the American government and were then baselessly accused of corruption for accepting the money.

Yovanovitch recently demanded the removal of a Ukrainian prosecutor who was wiretapped by a rival anti-corruption agency and caught on tape advising suspects in a corruption probe on how not to get caught. “Nobody who has been recorded coaching suspects on how to avoid corruption charges can be trusted to prosecute those very same cases,” Yovanovitch said in March. “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.”

The disgraced prosecutor Yovanovitch criticized, Nazar Kholodnytsky, was then cited as a source in articles attacking her as a deep-state plotter on far-right American websites, leading Donald Trump Jr. to call for her ouster.


Donald Trump Jr.

@DonaldJTrumpJr
We need more ⁦@RichardGrenell’s and less of these jokers as ambassadors.

Calls Grow To Remove Obama's U.S. Ambassador To Ukraine https://www.dailywire.com/news/45035/ca ... n-saavedra
Calls Grow To Remove Obama's U.S. Ambassador To Ukraine
Calls to remove former President Barack Obama's U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, have intensified over the last week as a scandal in Ukraine surrounding the 2016 U.S. presidential...
dailywire.com

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This month, the Trump administration decided to suddenly recall Yovanovitch from her post.

Update: May 12, 2019, 10:00 a.m.
The president’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, announced in a rambling Fox News interview Friday night that he was canceling his trip to Ukraine after people close to the incoming president, Volodymyr Zelensky, told reporters in Kiev that his new administration was not interested in being used to further the anti-Biden conspiracy theory. “This is definitely not our war,” a source close to Zelensky told the Washington Post. “We have to stay away from this as much as possible.”

One Zelensky supporter who spoke to reporters, Serhiy Leshchenko, is a former investigative journalist and reformist member of parliament member who helped publicize the off-the-books payments made to Paul Manafort in 2016. Leshchenko said in a statement on Saturday that Ukraine’s current prosecutor general, Yuriy Lutsenko, who was appointed by the outgoing president, Petro Poroshenko, was feeding pro-Trump conspiracy theories to Giuliani and The Hill about Biden as part of an effort to get White House support for his campaign to keep his job in the new government.

“Lutsenko is trying to manipulate the Biden/Burisma narrative so that Americans will help him cling to power because he is a disgrace and has nowhere else to go after his boss Poroshenko lost the election,” Leshchenko wrote on Twitter. “That’s why Lutsenko now claims he has evidence of wrongdoing that implicates Biden, but if this is true, why has he sat on it for YEARS? Why didn’t he do anything about it after he was appointed as Prosecutor General? And why couldn’t he give this information to his successor?”

“What really happened in the Burisma case,” the lawmaker added, “was that Lutsenko himself stopped the investigation! And not long after that the corrupt Yanukovych crony Zlochevsky went into business with Poroshenko and his corrupt cronies.”

Andrew Kramer, the Moscow-based Times foreign correspondent who first revealed the secret payments to Manafort in Ukraine that forced him to resign from the Trump campaign in 2016, pointed out on Twitter that Giuliani, in his Fox News interview, also incorrectly identified Serhiy Leshchenko as the source who made that information public. The secret payments were first published online by the independent National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine.


Andrew E. Kramer
@AndrewKramerNYT
Giuliani, in an interview with Fox, falsely suggested that Leshchenko, a member of Ukraine's Parliament, was the source of so-called Black Ledger accounts showing Paul Manafort's payments in Ukraine. A law enforcement agency published the information https://www.foxnews.com/politics/giulia ... -of-the-us

Giuliani cancels Ukraine trip, says he'd be 'walking into a group of people that are enemies of the...
Rudy Giuliani, President Trump's personal attorney, said Friday on "Fox News @ Night" that he will not be traveling to Ukraine as previously announced.
foxnews.com

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In the same interview, Giuliani also falsely claimed that those records of illicit payments to Manafort had been “found to be fraudulent.” In fact, others in Ukraine who are also named in the ledger, detailing payments made by Yanukovych’s political party, have confirmed that the records are accurate.
https://theintercept.com/2019/05/10/rum ... rmer-says/





Still, when Joe Biden went to Ukraine, he was not trying to protect his son — quite the reverse.


from The Intercept

I Wrote About the Bidens and Ukraine Years Ago. Then the Right-Wing Spin Machine Turned the Story Upside Down.
James Risen
September 25 2019, 8:54 a.m.

It’s strange to see my journalism twisted, perverted, and turned into lies and poisonous propaganda by Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, and their enablers. But that’s what has happened to a news story I wrote four years ago.

In 2015, I wrote a story for the New York Times about Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, and Ukraine. Many observers now seem to think this suddenly hot story came out of nowhere this year, but that is not true.

The truth behind that story has been lost in a swamp of right-wing opposition research, White House lies, and bizarre follow-up stories. Now it appears that the Biden-Ukraine story will play a role in a new impeachment inquiry against Trump, amid evidence that he sought to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky by withholding U.S. aid unless Zelensky agreed to investigate the Bidens.

On Wednesday, the White House released a summary of the July conversation between Trump and Zelensky, in which Trump told the Ukrainian leader to work with Attorney General William Barr and Giuliani to find out what happened between the Bidens and a Ukrainian prosecutor. “There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great,” Trump told Zelensky, according to the summary. “Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it … It sounds horrible to me.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Tuesday that the House will launch an impeachment investigation, and the whistleblower who complained about the Trump-Zelensky call to the intelligence community inspector general is seeking to testify before Congress. Thus, just months after the completion of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether Trump and his campaign colluded with Russia to win the 2016 election, Congress will investigate whether Trump sought to pressure another foreign leader to help him win the 2020 presidential race.

With so much now at stake, I thought it would be useful to revisit my original story and in the process, separate the truth from the gathering lies.

In December 2015, I was an investigative reporter in the Washington bureau of the Times. That month, I published a story reporting that Vice President Joe Biden had just traveled to Ukraine, in part to send a message to the Ukrainian government that it needed to crack down on corruption.

But I also wrote that his anti-corruption message might be undermined by the association of his son Hunter with one of Ukraine’s largest natural gas companies, Burisma Holdings, and with its owner, Mykola Zlochevsky. Zlochevsky had been Ukraine’s ecology minister under former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, a pro-Russian leader who had been forced into exile in Russia.

Hunter Biden had joined the board of Burisma in April 2014, the same month that British officials froze Zlochevsky’s London bank accounts containing $23 million. Britain’s Serious Fraud Office, an independent government agency, was conducting a money-laundering investigation and refused to allow Zlochevsky or Burisma Holdings, the company’s chief legal officer, and another company owned by Zlochevsky access to the accounts.

But the British money-laundering investigation was stymied by Ukrainian prosecutors’ refusal to cooperate. The Ukrainian prosecutors would not turn over documents needed in the British investigation, and without that documentary evidence, a British court ordered Britain’s Serious Fraud Office to unfreeze the assets.

In September 2015, then-U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt gave a speech in which he attacked the Ukrainian prosecutor general’s office for failing to cooperate with the British investigation. In his speech — which I quoted in my story — Pyatt mentioned Burisma’s owner by name.

“In the case of former Ecology Minister Mykola Zlochevsky, the U.K. authorities had seized $23 million in illicit assets that belonged to the Ukrainian people,” Pyatt said. Officials at the prosecutor general’s office, he added, were asked by the United Kingdom “to send documents supporting the seizure. Instead they sent letters to Zlochevsky’s attorneys attesting that there was no case against him. As a result, the money was freed by the U.K. court, and shortly thereafter the money was moved to Cyprus.”

When Joe Biden arrived in Ukraine in December 2015 to press for more aggressive anti-corruption efforts by the government, Hunter Biden’s role with Burisma made his father’s demands, however well-intentioned, appear politically awkward and hypocritical. That was the point of my story. I quoted Edward C. Chow, who follows Ukrainian policy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, who said the involvement of the vice president’s son with Zlochevsky’s firm undermined the Obama administration’s anti-corruption message in Ukraine.

“Now you look at the Hunter Biden situation, and on the one hand you can credit the father for sending the anticorruption message,” Chow said. “But I think unfortunately it sends the message that a lot of foreign countries want to believe about America, that we are hypocritical about these issues.”

In fact, Hunter Biden has been the black sheep of the Biden family for years. He was the younger son who could never live up to the example set by his older brother, Beau, an Iraq war veteran and the attorney general of Delaware who died of brain cancer in 2015, cutting short a promising political career.

In 2014, Hunter Biden was discharged from the Navy Reserve after testing positive for cocaine use. He had also been involved in a hedge fund with his uncle, James Biden, Joe Biden’s brother, that went bad in the face of lawsuits involving the Bidens and a business partner.

Hunter Biden was the family millstone around Joe Biden’s neck, the kind of chronic problem relative that plagues many political families. George H.W. Bush had his son Neil; Jimmy Carter had his brother Billy.

Still, when Joe Biden went to Ukraine, he was not trying to protect his son — quite the reverse.


The then-vice president issued his demands for greater anti-corruption measures by the Ukrainian government despite the possibility that those demands would actually increase – not lessen — the chances that Hunter Biden and Burisma would face legal trouble in Ukraine.

When it first was published, my 2015 story seemed to have little impact, other than to irritate Joe Biden and his staff. It ran inside the print edition of the Times, not on the front page.

But somebody obviously read my piece, as well as others like it, because questions about the Bidens in Ukraine suddenly came roaring back this year. Giuliani, Trump, and their lackeys began spreading the false accusation that Biden had traveled to Ukraine to blackmail the government and force officials to fire the country’s chief prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, to derail an investigation into Burisma.

In May, when this issue began to surface, The Intercept’s Robert Mackey wrote an excellent piece debunking the lies in the new pro-Trump version of the Biden story. In the process, he provided greater detail than I had included in my 2015 story. He wrote that Shokin had been forced from office at Biden’s urging because he had failed to thoroughly investigate corruption and stifled efforts to expose embezzlement and misconduct by public officials. Biden did threaten to withhold $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees unless Shokin was ousted. But that was because Shokin had blocked serious anti-corruption investigations, not because he was investigating Burisma.
https://theintercept.com/2019/09/25/i-w ... side-down/


PAY DIRT
Rudy’s Ukraine Henchmen Made Big Donation to Pro-Trump PAC
We set out to trace money from Giuliani’s Kiev connections to a top Trump group, and stumbled down a rabbit hole of high-dollar Miami real estate deals.

Lachlan MarkayReporter
Updated 09.26.19 5:26PM ET
Published 09.26.19 2:06PM ET

Tasos Katopodis
In the summer of 2018, two Soviet-born businessmen who’ve served as middlemen between top Kiev officials and President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani made a six-figure contribution to a leading pro-Trump political group.
Since then, the two businessmen, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, have been thrust into the middle of a national scandal that has congressional Democrats on the verge of attempting to impeach the president. But the sources of the money they’ve used to buoy Trump’s political operation remain largely a mystery.
In July, Parnas told the Overseas Crime and Corruption Reporting Project that the company they used to make the contribution—which did so in the name of a wholly different company—had drawn the funds used for the donation just days earlier from a real estate transaction.http://archive.is/UuquW#selection-535.0-716.0


Wendy Siegelman


- Victoria Toensing who with husband Joe diGenova teamed with Giuliani to create a new conspiracy in Ukraine to help Trump in 2020 - also repped Sam Clovis, Erik Prince and promoted the Uranium One conspiracy
Quote Tweet

Polly Sigh



Sam Clovis' lawyer, Victoria Toensing [who was on FoxNews tonight perpetuating the Uranium One/HRC myth & represents the FBI informant who wants to testify in the Uranium One probe] is also Erik Prince's attorney.
"Prince denies any role in Trump transition-"
#maddow https://twitter.com/dcpoll/status/933061432220028929


Polly Sigh


^ Erik Prince, founder of Blackwater & brother of Betsy DeVos, will testify to House Intel Cmte next week in Trump-Russia probe. He denies any role in Trump transition. Lol.
#maddow http://politi.co/2zWol3f
Image
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^ [Clovis & Erik Prince's attorney] Victoria Toensing & her husband Joseph DiGenova have been in the anti-Clinton camp for decades just like the Kellyanne Conway & her husband George...



good catch! looks like Toensing and her husband have been in the anti-Clinton camp for decades, like the Conways...
https://books.google.com/books?id=A3y7D ... ay&f=false



^ This is getting good-
[Clovis & Erik Prince's atty] Victoria Toensing's husband, Joseph DiGenova & George Conway were involved in Troopergate w/ the now deceased Peter Smith [plotted w/Flynn to find HRC emails]

Image
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^ Clovis [whose atty represents Erik Prince & Uranium One 'informant' & husband was Troopergate special counsel], Kellyanne Conway [husband involved w/Troopergate] & the now deceased Peter Smith [Troopergate] tried to find HRC hacked emails

GOP activist Peter Smith who sought HRC emails also cited Bannon, Conway, Clovis along w/Flynn

https://wsj.com/articles/gop-activist-w ... 1498872923


https://mobile.twitter.com/mrspanstrepp ... 8109711360


mrs panstreppon


Notice similarities bet the timing of Peter Schweizer's "Clinton Cash" & his latest about Biden, "Secret Empires"? Both funded by Rebakah & Robert Mercer thru their "not-for-profit, the Government Accountability Institute.....

https://mobile.twitter.com/mrspanstrepp ... 8109711360
Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
But instead, they want mass death.
Don’t forget that.
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Re: Republican Conspiracy Theory Biden-in-Ukraine

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Sep 30, 2019 9:25 am

‘GIVE BACK THE MONEY’
juli.jpg


Russia’s Fingerprints Are All Over Trump’s Ukraine Whistleblower Scandal
Prominent figures on Russian TV have been openly putting out the same ideas that we now know the American president was privately pursuing.


Julia Davis
Updated 09.29.19 2:20PM ET
Published 09.27.19 8:05AM ET

Photo Illustration by Kelly Caminero/The Daily Beast/Getty
Elements of the bombshell whistleblower report outlining various aims pursued by the Trump administration with respect to Ukraine keep connecting back to Russia.

Several of the reported objectives of President Donald Trump, his administration officials, and his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, would benefit the Kremlin and not the United States or its national security. Namely, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky was urged to make a deal with Putin, pressured “to play ball” with respect to providing or manufacturing compromising materials about Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden, and essentially tasked with concocting “the evidence” to disprove the well-established fact that the Democratic National Committee server was hacked by Russian intelligence agents in 2016.



The unconscionable demand for Ukraine to make “a deal” with an invader— which has annexed and occupied its territory and continues to fuel an armed conflict that has claimed more than 13,000 lives—would mean a surrender of Ukraine’s national interests for the benefit of the Kremlin. It would also lead to the lifting of sanctions against Russia for its aggression in Ukraine. Casting doubt on Russia’s involvement in the hack of the DNC server would potentially lead to the lifting of sanctions against Russia for its election-meddling and other malign activities.

Attacking the credibility of Biden, frequently described by Kremlin-controlled state television as “Trump’s most dangerous rival,” would also benefit Putin, who openly admitted that he wanted President Trump to be elected in 2016. That preference remains intact, in spite—or perhaps because—of multiple missteps by America’s bumbling commander in chief. Dmitry Kiselyov, the host of Russia’s most popular Sunday news program, Vesti Nedeli, urged Trump to keep digging in Ukraine for “the sweetest” kompromat of all: “Proving that Ukraine—not Russia—interfered in the U.S. elections.”


Julia Davis
@JuliaDavisNews
#Russia's state TV names Joe Biden as "Trump's most dangerous rival," host Dmitry Kiselyov says Trump should keep digging in Ukraine for "the sweetest" kompromat of all: "proving that Ukraine—not Russia—interfered in the U.S. elections."
View image on Twitter

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The pressure on Ukraine to investigate Biden has been not only from Trump, but also from the Kremlin. One of the expectations, voiced on Russian state-television channel Rossiya 24 by analyst Alexander Kareevsky, was that taking down Biden would inevitably lead to the “revelation”—in fact, an outrageous fantasy—that the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was ordered by the Obama administration and carried out by Ukraine, not Russia.

In another fantasy, pundits on Russian state television continually assert that Trump’s impeachment is all but “impossible.” In the meantime, the impeachment fallout is beneficial for the Kremlin, creating a spectacle of unprecedented political turmoil in the United States while placing Ukraine in the untenable position of alienating both parties, as well as the country’s European allies, and distracting from Russian election interference and the imposition of any additional sanctions.


Julia Davis
@JuliaDavisNews
#Russia is not ready to dump Trump:
Kremlin-controlled state TV hosts throw buckets of mud on #Ukraine, insist it should investigate Biden and conclude that "Republican majority in the Senate won’t allow President Donald Trump—whom we elected— to be impeached. It’s impossible."
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8:16 AM - Sep 25, 2019
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Participants on 60 Minutes, Russia’s flagship info-talk show—hosted by pugnacious married couple Olga Skabeeva and Evgeny Popov and featuring Russian ambassadors, government officials, and military experts—frequently boast that Trump is “owned” by Russia and demand Ukraine release kompromat on Biden or “give back the money,” referring to U.S. aid provided to Ukraine.


Julia Davis
@JuliaDavisNews
#Russia's state TV host Olga Skabeeva says that since #Ukraine took the money from the U.S., it is now obligated to deliver the kompromat on Biden.
Panelist asks her: "Are you on Trump's or Russia's side, Olga?"
Skabeeva responds: "We elected him!"
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Last Sunday, Sergei Markov, an analyst close to the Kremlin, appeared on 60 Minutes and publicly directed Trump to pressure a specific official within the U.S. State Department—Deputy Assistant Secretary in the European and Eurasian Bureau George Kent—to extract the elusive Biden kompromat.

Pro-government experts on the nightly television show The Evening with Vladimir Soloviev have been openly rooting for the supposed scandal in Ukraine to “kill Biden” politically, and allow Trump “to disprove” Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. elections, and destroy the heart of the Democratic Party in the process.

Another curious detail points to the remarkable alignment between the Kremlin and the Trump administration. A week before Zelensky was sworn in as Ukraine’s president on May 20, Russian state TV hosts Skabeeva and Popov boldly asserted that no U.S. officials would be attending the inauguration, on direct orders from Trump. At the time, it appeared that the hosts were customarily lying, since the inauguration was in fact attended by a delegation from the U.S., including Secretary of Energy Rick Perry and Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker.

However, the whistleblower’s complaint, which states that Trump directly told Vice President Mike Pence not to attend the ceremony, raises the possibility that there was a morsel of truth in the assertions of Popov and Skabeeva. After the complaint came out, Popov demanded “apologies” for the assumption that the hosts had simply been making things up when they said that Trump personally ordered U.S. officials not to attend the inauguration. It is unclear why Russian state TV hosts may have been privy to that previously undisclosed information.
https://www.thedailybeast.com/russias-f ... ia=desktop



Liz Mair

New Trump ad hitting Biden appears to have disclaimer needed for TV. If I were any TV stations, I’d be VERY reluctant to run that ad. Standard for defamation of public officials is high and rightly so but this ad is plainly and deliberately inaccurate and walking a fine line.
https://twitter.com/LizMair/status/1178649339293552640
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Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
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Don’t forget that.
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Re: Republican Conspiracy Theory Biden-in-Ukraine

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Sep 30, 2019 11:17 am

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Cover Story
Barry Blitt’s “Whack Job”
By Françoise MoulySeptember 27, 2019

On Tuesday, Nancy Pelosi announced that the House of Representatives would be pursuing a formal impeachment inquiry against President Trump. The news came after a whistle-blower’s complaint, which was released to the public on Thursday and alleges that Trump—with the help of Rudy Giuliani—has been using “the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 election.” Barry Blitt, ever the first responder, takes on the drama in the cover for next week’s magazine. For more of The New Yorker’s coverage, read:

Susan B. Glasser on how Washington shifted in the course of forty-eight hours:

The most interesting moments to be in Washington are when the conventional wisdom is shifting and not everyone knows it yet, or when an old certainty has been shredded and nothing has emerged to replace it. As of Monday morning, the political world was pretty sure that Donald Trump would not be impeached by the Democratic House of Representatives, and that he would enter the 2020 campaign and race to win reëlection, before the economy betrayed him with a recession that forecasters increasingly see as inevitable. Instead, over a remarkable day and a half, a new reality emerged: Donald Trump appears to have got himself impeached. Trump now seems all but certain not only to face an impeachment investigation but an actual impeachment vote in the House. And, whenever it happens, and whatever the specifics of the indictment turn out to be, the impeachment vote will have been triggered by a new scandal very much of his own making.

David Rohde on the triumph of transparency:

The checks and balances . . . appear to be working. When threatened with impeachment by the House, the President released a summary of his call, as well as the full whistle-blower complaint. In the weeks ahead, transparency should be increased, not decreased. When grave abuses of power are alleged, more information should be made public, not kept secret. Citizens should read the call summary and the whistle-blower complaint themselves, and make their own judgments. This is not a deep state. This is American democracy.
https://www.newyorker.com/culture/cover ... 2019-10-07


“Do Us a Favor”: The Forty-eight Hours That Sealed Trump’s Impeachment

By Susan B. GlasserSeptember 25, 2019

As of Monday morning, the political world was pretty sure that President Trump would not be impeached by the House of Representatives; on Monday night, that conventional wisdom collapsed.Photograph by Chip Somodevilla / Getty

President Trump began Wednesday in a dark place. “There has been no President in the history of our Country who has been treated so badly as I have,” he lamented on Twitter, before 8 a.m. The night before, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her party had made a momentous political shift and launched a full-scale impeachment investigation of the President. The move was triggered by a new scandal, the details of which have emerged in recent days: Trump, having escaped impeachment over the Mueller investigation, turns out to have asked Ukraine’s new President to investigate the former Vice-President Joe Biden, at the same time that he was holding up more than three hundred million dollars in U.S. military aid to Ukraine. The disclosure had proved to be too much, even for the cautious Pelosi. Now Trump faces the very real possibility that he will become only the fourth President in U.S. history to confront a House majority ready to impeach him.

Trump, however, had one play left. On Wednesday morning, he released the full White House account of his July 25th phone call with the Ukrainian leader, Volodymyr Zelensky. Trump, his allies, and his advisers promised that it would be less than meets the eye. Releasing the call summary, they insisted, would undercut the impeachment inquiry into the Ukraine matter before it even started. On Fox, the reporter Ed Henry quoted a Trump source who warned Democrats: “There’s no ‘there’ there.” The new editor of the conservative Washington Free Beacon tweeted, “Told reliably by source who has seen a transcript of the call that it isn’t likely to live up to the high expectations many have.” Trump himself got into the pre-spin game. “Will the Democrats apologize after seeing what was said on the call with the Ukrainian President?” he tweeted at 9:17 a.m. Wednesday. “They should, a perfect call—got them by surprise!”

Then, at precisely 10 a.m., the White House released its version of the call, which was based on notes taken at the time. It did not say what President Trump and his advisers had suggested it would say. Not at all. Usually in American politics, the goal in the expectations game is to tamp them down; in this case, Trump had succeeded at the opposite, promoting the notion that his phone call with Zelensky would be proved innocuous, with nary a whiff of impropriety. Instead, the document released by his own staff added new information to the scandal, revealing that Trump had not only requested an investigation of Biden and his son Hunter but had specifically asked Zelensky to coöperate with his private lawyer, Rudolph Giuliani, and the Attorney General, William Barr, on it. The President’s language was hardly subtle. Trump mentioned the Attorney General four times. “The United States has been very good to Ukraine,” Trump said early in the call, before quickly adding, “I wouldn’t say that it’s reciprocal necessarily.” After Zelensky responded by requesting approval to buy more U.S. anti-tank Javelin missiles, to aid his fight against Russia, Trump replied by explaining the reciprocity he really wanted: investigations of the Bidens and also of Ukraine’s role in the 2016 U.S. elections.

How Trump Could Get Fired

Evan Osnos on what it would take to cut short Trump’s Presidency.
“I would like you to do us a favor though,” the President said, in a line that seems destined to land in the history books. “Whatever you can do,” Trump added later in the conversation, “it’s very important that you do it.” This was not the exculpatory moment that Trump had claimed it would be. Impeachment may have been an uncertain outcome before 10 a.m. on Wednesday. Afterward, it was a near-certainty.

The most interesting moments to be in Washington are when the conventional wisdom is shifting and not everyone knows it yet, or when an old certainty has been shredded and nothing has emerged to replace it. As of Monday morning, the political world was pretty sure that Donald Trump would not be impeached by the Democratic House of Representatives, and that he would enter the 2020 campaign and race to win reëlection, before the economy betrayed him with a recession that forecasters increasingly see as inevitable. Instead, over a remarkable day and a half, a new reality emerged: Donald Trump appears to have got himself impeached. Trump now seems all but certain not only to face an impeachment investigation but an actual impeachment vote in the House. And, whenever it happens, and whatever the specifics of the indictment turn out to be, the impeachment vote will have been triggered by a new scandal very much of his own making.

Nine o’clock on Monday night is more or less when the conventional wisdom collapsed. It was then that the Washington Post published a remarkable op-ed by seven key freshmen House Democrats from swing districts. They are known collectively on Capitol Hill as “majority makers” and “front-liners.” (In the case of the group’s five women, they have taken to calling themselves “the bad-ass caucus,” as CNN’s Dana Bash pointed out.) All seven served in national-security positions and previously had been reluctant to endorse impeachment proceedings. Now they had decided to hold hands and jump, together. “These allegations are a threat to all we have sworn to protect,” they wrote, calling Trump’s actions, if true, both illegal and grounds for impeachment. “This flagrant disregard for the law cannot stand,” they wrote. Soon after, one by one, more House Democrats who had previously refused to support impeachment came out in favor of it. By 11 p.m., even close allies of Pelosi, such as Representatives Rosa DeLauro and Debbie Dingell, had switched sides. It was a Washington stampede.

Of course, Monday night may not have been the actual moment when the politics changed. You could date it backward a few days, to the previous Tuesday, when Representative Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, announced that a whistle-blower inside the U.S. intelligence community, who had information about serious wrongdoing, had come forward but that his complaint was not being shared with Congress, despite a law requiring its disclosure. In the following days it emerged that the subject of the complaint was Trump himself and that it involved Ukraine. By the weekend, Trump acknowledged that he spoke directly with Zelensky about investigating Biden, and news organizations were reporting that the President had personally held up the more than three hundred million dollars in aid to Ukraine eight days before their call. By Sunday, Schiff was on television suggesting that Democrats might now be finally ready to “cross the Rubicon” of impeachment.

Schiff, a close Pelosi ally, was signalling the political shift to come. On Monday afternoon, Pelosi had quietly given permission to her troops to bolt on impeachment, including to the op-ed signatories, with whom she privately met (as one of them, Representative Elissa Slotkin, later confirmed publicly). Remarkably, Democrats appeared to be making the decision to move on impeachment not because they believed it would benefit the Party politically. By Monday, polls still showed that a majority of Americans were firmly against it. Slotkin, who was elected in 2016 in a traditionally Republican district in Michigan, risks losing her seat. She and other Democrats seem to be proceeding despite the politics, not because of them.


Why the whistle-blower complaint is the work of democracy, not the deep state.
By Tuesday morning, there was a new conventional wisdom settling in, but Trump, up at the United Nations, in New York, for the annual General Assembly, did not seem to have received the message. At fifteen after ten that morning, he delivered a combative address to the assembled “globalists” about the failures of their internationalism and the benefits of his own, Trump-style nationalism. At one point, he lectured them about “wise leaders” who put the interests of their nations first, proving if nothing else that Trump is immune to irony.

In Washington, more Democrats called for impeachment. At noon, Representative John Lewis, the civil-rights hero, came to the House floor. “I truly believe the time to begin impeachment proceedings against this President has come. To delay or to do otherwise would betray the foundation of our democracy,” he said. He and other close allies of Pelosi in the Congressional Black Caucus had for months deferred to her on impeachment. His words now showed where the Speaker intended to end the day.

At this point, the fight was not over whether Democrats would proceed but how they would do so. On Capitol Hill, those are the details that matter; process often dictates outcome, and no one was sure what exactly the process would be. Would this new inquiry cover the Mueller report, with its description of ten incidents of alleged obstruction of justice by the President? Or stick closely to the new Ukraine allegations? For months, there had been talk of creating a select committee to investigate Trump, with Schiff at its head. Advocates of the idea saw it as a way to reduce the cacophony and ineffectiveness of ongoing investigations by six different committees (and their attention-seeking chairmen), which had hampered House efforts. On Tuesday afternoon, an unusual alliance of Never Trump Republicans, such as Bill Kristol, and the influential freshman progressive leader Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez emerged to publicly fight the plan for a select committee, with Ocasio-Cortez warning that a new panel would lead to endless delay. “We don’t have the luxury of time w/another committee,” she tweeted. The House Judiciary Committee is already investigating, and “impeachment belongs there,” she added.

By midafternoon on Tuesday, everyone—Trump and also his Democratic critics—understood that this was an inflection point. At 2:12 p.m., while still at the U.N., Trump announced, via tweet, the Wednesday release of the “complete, fully declassified and unredacted transcript” of his call with Zelensky. At 2:29 p.m. came a rejoinder from Schiff, who said that the House Intelligence panel hoped to have the whistle-blower testify “as soon as this week.” And then aides to Pelosi confirmed to reporters that she would move ahead with a formal impeachment inquiry. At four o’clock, House Democrats met in caucus to hear Pelosi explain the path forward. At 4:30 p.m., the Senate acted, too, taking the unusually bipartisan step of voting unanimously to require the intelligence community to turn over the whistle-blower’s complaint. In the closed-door House-caucus meeting, meanwhile, some Democratic members appeared to feed direct, verbatim quotes to congressional reporters, who soon disclosed that Pelosi would not go for the select-committee option but would leave jurisdiction over impeachment to the House Judiciary Committee, with other panels charged with sending Judiciary their findings. “Here we are,” Pelosi reportedly said. “A moment of truth.”

At 5 p.m., Pelosi walked out to the Speaker’s Balcony and informed the press and public of what they already knew: impeachment was official, though she gave almost no other details. “The President must be held accountable,” she said. “No one is above the law.” The President, meanwhile, had a different approach to a day whose developments portended troubled times ahead for an already troubled democracy. At the U.N., Trump abruptly ordered his motorcade back to Trump Tower for some executive TV time. Trump’s response to the Speaker came soon afterward, in a quick blast of tweets attacking what he called the “breaking news Witch Hunt garbage” once again overshadowing everything else in his Presidency. “presidential harassment!” he lamented. And, also, “Can you believe this?”

The significance, and political risk, for congressional Democrats is real. In March of this year, Pelosi was pushed on the subject of impeachment shortly before the Mueller report was submitted to the Attorney General. “Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country. And he’s just not worth it,” Pelosi said.

The Nancy Pelosi of March did not find her criteria met in September. There was no bipartisan consensus about Trump’s latest outrage, no matter how compelling or overwhelming it seemed. Pelosi’s caucus stampeded this week, and she chose to join them. As Wednesday began, Trump suggested that she and her fellow-Democrats had made a terrible mistake, and would soon be forced to regret it when he released the summary of the call. Could he disprove the allegation, or at least hold the line? Would he instill enough doubt about what had happened to cause Democrats to question their embrace of impeachment, or at least to keep Republicans in line behind him?

Within less than an hour of the White House’s release on Wednesday morning, the answers to those questions were clear. Democrats were full steam ahead, and more united than they had been the day before. “Far worse than I imagined,” Representative Brendan Boyle said. “Smoking gun,” Senator Elizabeth Warren tweeted. Schiff said that it showed Trump to be a mobster. Journalists called it damning, revelatory, and an embarrassment. “In normal times,” Noah Shachtman, the editor of the Daily Beast, tweeted, “a kill shot for a Presidency.” By late Wednesday afternoon, NBC reported that its impeachment tally among representatives had grown, from only around a hundred supporters last week to two hundred and seventeen. By Wednesday evening, the count had grown by one more, to two hundred and eighteen: a majority of the House.

Republicans were slower to react. Mitt Romney, just about the only Senate Republican who is still sometimes publicly critical of Trump, told reporters that the account of Trump’s call was “extremely troubling.” But Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican who called Trump a “kook” in 2016 and is now one of his most prominent public supporters, said Democrats would be “insane” to proceed with impeachment on the basis of the call. Graham, who was one of the impeachment managers in the Republican-led impeachment of Bill Clinton, added that Democrats had “lost their minds when it comes to [the] President.” Other Republican senators were not so voluble in Trump’s support, but, like Graham, they appeared to be sticking with him. “I’ve looked at the transcript,” Senator Joni Ernst, of Iowa, said. “I don’t see anything there.”

The duelling realities seemed to reflect the new political normal in Washington, where the conventional wisdom around impeachment has now been upended but the extraordinary partisan divide remains as wide as ever. The Clinton impeachment fight gave us a President’s memorable hairsplitting over what the meaning of “is” is. The Trump impeachment fight is already giving us its own disputes over the very nature of language and power, intent and action. With Trump, impeachment will end up being about more fundamental questions of executive authority in a democracy: Was there a quid pro quo or not in the call? What is extortion? Abuse of power?

We can now look forward to endless, circular, partisan, and highly unsatisfying debates on those questions, in the coming weeks and months. There will be much more shouting. There will be more facts to emerge, subsidiary plotlines to follow, spinoff scandals, new characters. The whistle-blower’s complaint has already made its way to Capitol Hill, where leaders and members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees have been reading it—and giving all the signs that it contains alarming new revelations. Democratic Representative Eric Swalwell said it was a “five-alarm concern for me.” Even a Republican senator, Ben Sasse, of Nebraska, suggested that the information contained in the complaint was significant and “very troubling.” Clearly, there will be more revelations, and soon. But we have already learned a lot this week. This is the forty-eight hours that finally answered one of the enduring mysteries of the Trump Presidency: yes, we can now say, a Democratic House of Representatives will move forward with impeaching this most unusual of Presidents. We don’t know who it will benefit politically, or where the investigation will end up. We don’t know which scandals will make the final cut in the articles of impeachment and which will be left out. But it is happening. The next season of the Trump show has begun.
https://www.newyorker.com/news/letter-f ... mpeachment


The Whistle-Blower Complaint Is Democracy at Work, Not the Deep State

David Rohde
Since the day he took office, Donald Trump has blamed a “deep state” for trying to undermine his Presidency. This morning, the American people have an opportunity to judge the so-called deep state themselves. A meticulous nine-page whistle-blower complaint was released this morning by the House Intelligence Committee. In the document, an unnamed U.S. intelligence official describes an apparent effort by President Trump to use the powers of his office to pressure Ukraine to launch a criminal inquiry into a political rival, Joe Biden. Furthermore, the whistle-blower alleges that White House officials then covered up the President’s actions. The White House and the Department of Justice then delayed Congress from seeing the whistle-blower complaint. In all, the actions taken by the President, White House officials, and the Justice Department surrounding the complaint threaten the checks and balances between the President and Congress, which define and protect American democracy.

We have now seen the White House summary of the call between Trump and the Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, in which Trump pressures Zelensky to launch an investigation of Biden and his son. The whistle-blower accurately described the summary, based on conversations with several White House officials. The whistle-blower wrote, “The White House officials who told me this information were deeply disturbed by what had transpired in the phone call.”

Normally, the call memorandum would have been shared with Cabinet members. Instead, according to the complaint, it was transferred into a separate system that is normally reserved for documents involving sensitive national-security information, where far fewer officials would see it. The whistle-blower describes these acts as evidence that White House officials understood the “gravity” of what had occurred on the call.

Watch: Joseph Maguire testifies on Trump, the Ukraine call, and the whistle-blower.

In other ways, the system worked. As the whistle-blower was supposed to do under the law, he or she filed the complaint directly to the inspector general of the Intelligence Community. After Watergate, Congress created the inspector general offices as independent watchdogs that did not report to the President; they reported to Congress and promised to protect whistle-blowers from retaliation. The offices were established to allow government employees to report abuse, corruption, and waste across the executive branch, from low-level employees to the President.

The Intelligence Community’s inspector general deemed the whistle-blower’s complaint “credible and urgent” and, again following the law, forwarded it to the director of National Intelligence, Joseph Maguire. The system worked again. Maguire, a former Navy SEAL, agreed with the inspector general that the complaint was credible. He demurred on the issue of urgency.

When Maguire took the next step in the process, he was blocked by the White House and the Justice Department. Maguire, concerned that the material fell under executive privilege, had requested approval from the White House and the Justice Department to forward the complaint to the Senate and House Intelligence Committees. In the second deeply disturbing part of the process, Justice Department lawyers overseen by Attorney General William Barr deemed that the complaint should not be turned over to Congress. One of the many reforms enacted after Watergate was that the Attorney General, as much as possible, should act in an apolitical manner and interpret the law in a neutral fashion. During the Nixon Administration, Attorney General John Mitchell had improperly targeted leading politicians who were seen by the White House as critics of the President, as well as Vietnam War protesters. Since then, Republican and Democratic administrations alike have generally agreed that it is vital for the American public to feel that the Justice Department administers the law equally and equitably.

In an interview on Thursday morning, Angus King, an independent from Maine and a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, questioned the Justice Department’s legal interpretation. King said that under the whistle-blower law the document should have been forwarded to Congress. “They misapplied the statute,” King told me. “That’s a disingenuous verging on dishonest reading of the statute.”

Earlier this week, the President dismissed the whistle-blower as a “political hack” and questioned whether the person was “on our country’s side.” When, on Thursday morning, Maguire testified before the House Intelligence Committee, Republicans downplayed or dismissed the seriousness of the complaint. If this scandal follows the pattern of past ones, President Trump and his allies will likely declare the whistle-blower and the inspector general members of the deep state. In the hours and days ahead, the two intelligence officials will likely be accused of mounting a coup to force Trump from office.

In his testimony, Maguire praised the whistle-blower. “As public servants, we have a solemn duty to report waste and abuse,” he said. So far, the whistle-blower and the inspector general appear to be committed public servants. Both learned of potential abuse and reported it. Both appear to have followed the law. The whistle-blower system worked.

The checks and balances also appear to be working. When threatened with impeachment by the House, the President released a summary of his call, as well as the full whistle-blower complaint. In the weeks ahead, transparency should be increased, not decreased. When grave abuses of power are alleged, information should be made public, not kept secret. Citizens should read the call summary and the whistle-blower complaint themselves, and make their own judgments. This is not a deep state. This is American democracy.
https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-co ... deep-state
Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
But instead, they want mass death.
Don’t forget that.
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Re: Republican Conspiracy Theory Biden-in-Ukraine

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Sep 30, 2019 6:41 pm


Richard Engel


A former Ukrainian lawmaker deeply familiar with the Giuliani dirt-digging campaign told me Trump's phone call to the Ukrainian president asking for an investigation into the Bidens, while withholding vital military aid, was "pressure," "blackmail," and "quid pro quo."
Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
But instead, they want mass death.
Don’t forget that.
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Re: Republican Conspiracy Theory Biden-in-Ukraine

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Sep 30, 2019 7:39 pm

The facts behind Trump’s bogus accusations about Biden and Ukraine
Trump claims Biden threatened Ukraine to aid his son’s business interests. The facts suggest otherwise.
By Sean Collins Sep 23, 2019, 6:00pm EDT

Hunter and Joe Biden at an award ceremony in 2016. Teresa Kroeger/Getty Images/World Food Program USA
A whistleblower complaint has led to concerns President Donald Trump attempted to coerce Ukrainian leaders to investigate a potential political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden. That complaint has grown into a scandal: At its heart is a question of whether Trump used the power of his office to attempt to influence a foreign country to meddle in the 2020 election.

But while the president has admitted to discussing Biden with Ukraine, he insists — despite no apparent evidence to support this — that there is another, more important scandal to focus on: the former vice president used his office to help the business interests of his son, Hunter Biden.

The gist of Trump’s theory: Biden played a role in the removal of Ukraine’s top prosecutor in 2016; Trump, repeating a conspiracy theory popularized by his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, maintains the former vice president did so to protect his son. Biden and the Ukrainian prosecutor, Trump claims, is the “real story” — not a whistleblower’s complaint that Trump improperly used his influence over foreign policy to damage a political rival.

The evidence suggests Biden actually may have placed his son in legal danger by advocating for the prosecutor’s removal because he was widely accused of stymying anti-corruption efforts in Ukraine — replacing him could have led to further investigations into a company Hunter Biden had ties to.

Trump evidently sees the conspiracy theory as a way to turn the whistleblower’s complaint into electoral gain — perhaps in hopes of saddling the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination with a Benghazi-like scandal that just won’t go away. He has repeatedly misrepresented facts, characterizing the prosecutor who was removed as “tough,” and saying he wants to stop “people like Vice President Biden and his son creating to the corruption already in the Ukraine.”

Meanwhile, Trump is facing increasing scrutiny from national media, and Democrats say his actions are grounds for impeachment.

Hunter Biden joined the board of a Ukrainian company while it was under investigation
The facts of this story begin in April 2014, when Hunter Biden joined the board of a Ukrainian natural gas company named Burisma Holdings, shortly after his business partner in an investment and consulting firm, Devon Archer, came aboard. Although Biden had no apparent expertise in the field, he had helped Burisma previously as a consultant with expertise in dealing with multinational regulations, and he was employed at a law firm retained by Burisma’s owner, former Ukrainian government official Mykola Zlochevsky.


When Biden joined Burisma’s board, both the company and Zlochevsky were already the subject of intense controversy. Zlochevsky had served as a top official for Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, who was forced out of office in early 2014, in part due to concerns over rampant corruption. Zlochevsky was accused of corruption as well, including for steering large government contracts to companies he owned.

One party investigating these allegations was the United Kingdom, because Zlochevsky had $23 million in a British bank account that UK officials believed has been laundered. Britain’s Serious Fraud Office froze that account, and shortly after Yanukovych left office in February 2014, sent a request to Ukrainian officials for documents it believed would help in prove its case. Following this request, the new Ukrainian government began its own investigation into Zlochevsky, looking into whether he embezzled public money.

In the midst of these troubles, Hunter Biden accepted a Burisma board seat, and was paid for his trouble, sometimes as much as $50,000 per month. It is unclear what he did for the company. Burisma said at the time that Biden — a lawyer — would be “in charge of” a legal unit. Biden told the New York Times in May 2019 that this was incorrect: “At no time was I in charge of the company’s legal affairs.”

Though none of this looks great for the Bidens, it is, unfortunately, routine business in Washington to hire the family members of powerful officials in hopes of gaining influence over public policy. For example, President Jimmy Carter’s brother, Billy; President George W. Bush’s brother, Neil; and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s brothers, Tony and Hugh Rodham were all involved in business interests that once drew concern.

Meanwhile, the UK and Ukraine continued to investigate Zlochevsky and other Yanukovych officials, often with the support of the US. But eventually, British investigators began to grow frustrated with what they characterized as a lack of cooperation from their Ukrainian counterparts, saying needed documents weren’t being provided.

The US became increasingly involved in the issue, and by December 2014, had sent a letter warning the new government would be forced to face unpleasant consequences if it didn’t do more to aid the UK. That threat went unheeded, and by 2015, British officials were forced to release the frozen funds, which Zlochevsky immediately moved to Cyprus, according to Bloomberg.

Joe Biden played a role in pushing out Ukraine’s prosecutor general
The part of the story that involves Joe Biden directly centers on the ouster of Ukraine’s prosecutor general, Viktor Shokin.

In February 2015, Shokin became Ukraine’s prosecutor general, and promised critics of his country’s anti-corruption efforts at home, in the US, and at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that a clean-up was on the way. And he claimed Burisma was in his sights.

But Shokin’s deputy, Vitaly Kasko, told Bloomberg that the promise was empty rhetoric. According to Kasko, their office did nothing to pursue its investigation into Zlochevsky throughout 2015, and the office was ineffective at reining in corruption generally, leading him to resign in frustration.

Shokin has disputed Kasko’s narrative, but the manner in which he was running his office also concerned the US ambassador to Ukraine, who said publicly in September 2015 that the office was “subverting” the UK’s investigation.

Concern at the embassy mounted, and by 2016, officials there began suggesting the Obama administration push for the prosecutor general’s ouster. In particular, the embassy suggested that $1 billion in loan guarantees the country hoped to receive from the US in order to stay solvent should be tied to a tougher anti-corruption strategy that involved removing officials seen as blocking progress, namely Shokin.


It wasn’t just the US that wanted Shokin gone, either — many other Western European officials, including the IMF’s then-managing director Christine Lagarde, also insisted Ukraine was doing far too little about corruption.

So in March 2016, Biden says he told the Ukrainian government that their loan guarantees would be cut off unless they removed Shokin. He told the story at a session at the Council on Foreign Relations in 2018.

“I said, ‘You’re not getting the billion.’ I’m going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours,” Biden told his audience. “I looked at them and said: ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money.’”

The former vice president said after the threat, “Well, son of a bitch, he got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time.”

But though Biden may have taken credit for it, this was hardly his unique idea. “Everyone in the Western community wanted Shokin sacked,” Anders Aslund, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, told the Wall Street Journal. “The whole G-7, the IMF, the EBRD, everybody was united that Shokin must go, and the spokesman for this was Joe Biden.”

The people of Ukraine wanted Shokin gone as well, and demonstrated for his removal around the time of Biden’s threat. Shortly after that demonstration, Shokin was dismissed.

Trump hopes to distract from the whistleblower by pushing a conspiracy theory
Trump and his allies have asserted — without any evidence — that Biden’s ouster of Shokin was itself corrupt, and specifically that it was aimed at protecting Hunter and Burisma from a corruption investigation led by Shokin.

Trump has tweeted the Bidens are “stone cold Crooked.” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has called concerns over the whistleblower’s complaint as a Democratic scheme fool the public into ignoring “what Biden was doing.” And Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has said he wants the Justice Department to “look at the Biden-Ukraine connection, like we looked at the Trump-Russia connection.”

Biden spokesperson Kate Bedingfield said all this is nonsense, and that Biden pushed to oust Shokin “without any regard for how it would or would not impact any business interests of his son, a private citizen.”

Biden himself blasted Trump’s efforts to discredit him at the Iowa Democrats’ Steak Fry over the weekend, calling the president’s actions on the phone call “an overwhelming abuse of power.”

“Trump’s doing this because he knows I’ll beat him like a drum,” Biden said. “And he’s using the abuse of power and every element of the presidency to try to do something to smear me.”

And despite his boast last year, Biden seem to have played a very minor role in Shokin’s firing. With the Obama administration, the idea to remove him came from the US’s embassy in Ukraine, and the sentiment the prosecutor was hindering anti-corruption efforts was shared by the US’s partners and Ukrainian citizens. Too, removing Shokin has the potential to hurt Hunter Biden given the US had him replaced in order to ensure someone more fully committed to pursuing an anti-corruption agenda — including an investigation into the former Ukraine official Mykola Zlochevsky — was installed.

Rudy Giuliani has long claimed that these points aside, Biden did indeed do something wrong. Giuliani told the New Yorker that he has talked with Shokin, and that Shokin insists he was seriously investigating Burisma before he was fired. Shokin made the same claim to Ukrainian news agency Strana shortly after his firing.

The question of whether Shokin’s investigation against Burisma was in fact a serious one is disputed, however. His deputy has said it was not, as have US officials based in Ukraine; and according the New York Times, some US and Ukrainian officials believe the former prosecutor was pantomiming an investigation in effort to solicit a bribe from Zlochevsky.

In any case, Ukraine has a new president now: Volodymyr Zelensky, who has also promised to stamp out corruption. And it was in a call with him that Trump reportedly urged him to investigate Joe Biden and Burisma, which he calls the “real story.”

Trump has now taken that call public, and some Republican allies now hope to launch a domestic investigation. In doing so, he has created a counternarrative to combat questions of whether he committed an impeachment offense in his call with Zelensky, albeit one whose effectiveness — particularly given the facts of Biden’s limited interaction with Ukraine — remains to be seen.
https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics ... -complaint
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Re: Republican Conspiracy Theory Biden-in-Ukraine

Postby seemslikeadream » Tue Oct 01, 2019 9:58 am

since there is an ongoing effort by trump/ghoolinia to make Biden the story instead of trump being a lawless president I feel the need to repeat ......trump, Giuliani the Only Dopes Who Believe “Completely Debunked” Biden Conspiracy

Rudy Giuliani, Joe diGenova Rage at Fox News Bombshell on Ukraine-Biden Plan

Five things to know as Ukraine fallout widens for Trump
https://thehill.com/homenews/administra ... raine-call


Joe and Hunter Biden's Ukraine dealings didn't warrant investigation, ex-law enforcement official says
Frank Miles By Frank Miles | Fox News

Fox News: Giuliani didn’t work alone in Biden-Ukraine probe
Questions continue to mount on Rudy Giuliani’s role in the Biden-Ukraine probe. Fox News’ Kevin Corke reports from Capitol Hill.

Ukraine’s former top law enforcement official told the Los Angeles Times he saw no reason to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden or his son Hunter, in a story published Sunday.

Yuri Lutsenko, the Ukraine ex-prosecutor general, said he told President Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani they had not broken any Ukrainian laws to his knowledge. He said he would start a probe only after U.S. officials launched an investigation.

“I said, ‘Let’s put this through prosecutors, not through presidents,’” Lutsenko told The Times. “I told him I could not start an investigation just for the interests of an American official.”
https://www.foxnews.com/politics/ukrain ... t-official


Trump, Giuliani the Only Dopes Who Believe “Completely Debunked” Biden Conspiracy
By Eric LutzSeptember 30, 2019
Donald Trump’s July 25 phone call with Volodymyr Zelensky showcased the president’s obvious corruption, underscoring the lengths to which he’ll go to maintain power—in this case, by pressuring Ukraine to dig up dirt on a political rival. But the shady conversation also served as a reminder of something else: That the president’s bottomless appetite for conspiracies informs, and exacerbates, his worst tendencies.

In his call with the Ukranian president, Trump pressed not only for a probe into Biden and his son, Hunter, but also into CrowdStrike, an American cybersecurity firm that helped the Democratic National Committee investigate its 2016 email hack. Trump appeared to believe that the DNC server might be hidden somewhere in the country. “The server, they say Ukraine has it,” Trump told Zelensky, according to a rough readout of the call. But former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Bossert refuted the conspiracy theory on Sunday, telling George Stephanopoulos that the crackpot narrative embraced by Trump and Rudy Giuliani doesn’t have a shred of merit. “It’s not only a conspiracy theory,” Bossert said. “It is completely debunked.”

The theory on the right is that Ukraine is responsible for the DNC hack, and that Kiev subsequently framed Russia for the whole ordeal, perhaps with the help of Democrats themselves. As the New York Times reported Sunday, Bossert and other United States officials repeatedly told Trump that there was nothing to it, including in conversations just before his inauguration and shortly thereafter. Still, it was reportedly a “constant struggle” to convince Trump that Ukraine wasn’t responsible, a former senior administration official told the Times. Just when it seemed like the truth might sink in, the president would talk to friends like Giuliani and reverse course. “At this point, I am deeply frustrated with what [Giuliani] and the legal team is doing and repeating that debunked theory to the president,” Bossert said Sunday. “It sticks in [Trump’s] mind when he hears it over and over again.”

One former aide blamed Giuliani’s firm belief in the theory for the mess in which Trump now finds himself. The lawyer, the aide told the Times, would “feed Trump all kinds of garbage” that created “a real problem for all of us.” In an interview on Sunday, former Ukranian head prosecutor Yuri Lutsenko said he saw no evidence of wrongdoing in Hunter Biden’s case. “I told him I could not start an investigation just for the interests of an American official,” Lutsenko said of his dealings with Giuliani.

The abuse of presidential power apparent in the rough transcript of Trump’s Zelensky call and the whistleblower complaint declassified last week have sparked increasing support for his impeachment. According to a new CBS News poll, more than half of Americans now back the inquiry Nancy Pelosi officially launched last week. Still, despite concern from some Republicans about the phone call and the president’s unbalanced behavior, most in the GOP have either stayed on the sidelines or gone to absurd lengths to defend him. “Why would we move forward with impeachment?” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said in an embarrassingly ineffectual attempt to dismiss allegations of Trump’s wrongdoing on 60 Minutes Sunday. “There’s not something that you have to defend here.”
https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2019/09 ... conspiracy


PLAYING GAMES
Rudy Giuliani, Joe diGenova Rage at Fox News Bombshell on Ukraine-Biden Plan
The Trump-boosting lawyers didn’t deny they were involved in a controversial, aborted Ukraine trip. They are, however, denying that Trump knew anything about it in advance.
Justin Baragona
Asawin Suebsaeng
White House Reporter
Updated 09.30.19 1:50PM ET / Published 09.30.19 11:59AM ET

ANGELA WEISS
Appearing Monday morning on WBAL radio, Trump loyalist Joe diGenova admitted that he and his wife and fellow attorney Victoria Toensing were in contact with Rudy Giuliani on matters regarding Ukraine and Joe Biden—but he claimed that the president had no involvement or knowledge.

DiGenova also insisted that he and his wife were merely asked by Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s personal attorney and confidant, to represent “Ukraine whistleblowers” and that their trip to Ukraine was “canceled.”

At the top of his broadcast on Sunday morning, Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace dropped a bombshell when he reported that the husband-wife team—who are frequent guests of Fox News opinion shows—had been working clandestinely with Giuliani to get Ukrainian-based oppo research on Trump’s potential 2020 Democratic rival.

Wallace also reported that besides working apart from the administration on this, the only other person in government who knew about the trio’s operation was the president.

Asked about Wallace’s Sunday morning blockbuster that the husband-wife team was “working off the books” to dig up Ukrainian dirt on the Bidens, and that only the president was aware of the activities, diGenova called Wallace’s report “absolutely false.”

“By the way, he also said that only the president—quoting an anonymous U.S. official, anonymous official—that only the president knew what we were doing,” he exclaimed. “First of all, that’s totally false. The president was not involved with any of this.”

Claiming that Giuliani had originally gotten a tip from a “former federal investigator” that people in Ukraine tried to frame Trump on Russia collusion—likely referencing the Democratic National Committee server/Ukraine conspiracy theory—diGenova went on to say this is how Giuliani came across supposedly incriminating information on Hunter and Joe Biden.

“He asked us—[Rudy] asked us to represent any of the Ukrainian whistleblowers who wanted to provide information to U.S. law enforcement about what they had heard and learned,” he stated.

“They were fearful to come to U.S. law enforcement because the United States ambassador in the Ukraine at that time had threatened these individuals not to give information because, as she, the ambassador, put it, Trump was going to be impeached and Biden was going to be president.”

The Trump-supporting lawyer then claimed the “trip to Ukraine was canceled,” adding that nobody from his firm ever went there or represented any so-called whistleblowers. He also noted that “any conversations we may have had with anybody prior to that time obviously are privileged.”

“We were never representing the president of the United States,” he insisted. “Mr. Giuliani was. So, that’s the story.”

When further pressed by host Bryan Nehman on Fox’s reporting, diGenova reiterated that he never traveled to Ukraine or spoke to any Ukrainian “whistleblowers,” claiming the network had been told that. He concluded by saying Trump has never paid him or his law firm and that the only conversations he’s had with Giuliani were over potentially representing whistleblowers.

On Monday morning, Giuliani told The Daily Beast that “Joe is absolutely right,” and that President Trump “didn’t know about this at this point. I don’t think I’d even briefed him yet [on this specific matter]… They weren’t working on the investigation with me. I did the investigation with my people. This was not a matter that was brought to the president” while the trip was being planned.

Giuliani said that he had planned to bring “Vicki” Toensing with him on the aborted Ukraine trip earlier this year, to offer her services to Ukrainian individuals as independent counsel. When asked if he had told the president about any of this after the trip fell apart, Trump’s personal attorney said “I’m not going to tell you what I told the president” and cited privilege.

Giuliani also mentioned that after the Fox News Sunday story aired, he sent Wallace “a long text” informing the host how “disappointed” he was by him “buying the Biden” line.

Wallace, through a Fox News spokesperson, confirmed to The Daily Beast that "we stand by our story."

The diGenova-Toensing wrinkle in this latest scandal—a mess that stemmed from a whistleblower complaint and has since ballooned into the biggest impeachment push of this presidency—is yet another example of influential and well-known figures in Trumpworld and the administration getting sucked into the fray.

Late last week, days before the Fox News Sunday host broke the news, The Daily Beast had called diGenova, simply to ask him—still an informal legal adviser to Trump and one of the president’s most reliable cable-news defenders—for his general thoughts on the latest Trump-Ukraine-Giuliani-Biden news.

As soon as The Daily Beast said the word “Ukraine,” the often media-friendly, pro-Trump attorney quickly said, “l am not commenting on anything” related to the Ukraine matter. When asked why, he repeated the same sentence before hanging up. (The Daily Beast later learned that news outlets had at that time already started looking into the diGenova-Toensing lead and asking around about it.)
https://www.thedailybeast.com/rudy-giul ... raine-ties
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Re: Republican Conspiracy Theory Biden-in-Ukraine

Postby seemslikeadream » Tue Oct 01, 2019 2:21 pm



Trump's own staff repeatedly warned him that his theory about Democrats and Ukraine had been debunked
Tom PorterSep 30, 2019, 6:48 AM
Former Trump administration officials said they repeatedly warned the president that claims that Ukraine was responsible for hacking the 2016 US election were groundless, The New York Times reported on Sunday.
The report backs up an interview with President Donald Trump's former homeland security adviser Tom Bossert, who told ABC that Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani and others persisted with the theory even after White House officials debunked it.
Democrats last week launched an impeachment inquiry after a whistleblower detailed concerns that Trump had sought to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political rival Joe Biden.
Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Several former White House officials said they told President Donald Trump that a conspiracy theory that Ukraine was secretly responsible for hacking the 2016 US presidential election was false, The New York Times reported on Sunday.

According to the paper, their warnings had little effect on the president, who pursued the theory anyway.

The report backs up a claim by the former homeland security adviser Tom Bossert, who earlier Sunday attacked Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani for keeping the flawed theory alive and said he'd warned Trump that it was groundless.

"It's not only a conspiracy theory, it is completely debunked," Bossert told ABC'S George Stephanopoulos on "This Week."

The elaborate conspiracy theory, long circulated in right-wing media, alleges that it was really Ukraine that was behind interference in the 2016 election and that it attempted to pin the blame on Russia as part of a secret plot to help Democrats.

Other former presidential aides told The Times that they had struggled to convince Trump that Russia, not Ukraine, was behind the election interference.

The outlet said Trump "was more willing to listen to outside advisers" like Giuliani "than his own national security team."

One former aide told the publication that Giuliani would "feed Trump all kinds of garbage" that created "a real problem for all of us."

A former senior official told The Times that Bossert repeatedly told Trump that his pet theory — that a Democratic National Committee computer server was stashed in Ukraine to conceal evidence of its involvement in election hacking — was groundless.

In his ABC interview, Bossert blamed Giuliani for pushing the theory with the president.

"At this point, I am deeply frustrated with what he and the legal team is doing in repeating that debunked theory to the president," he said. "It sticks in his mind when he hears it over and over again. And for clarity here, George, let me just, again, repeat that it has no validity."

Trump is facing one of the gravest crises of his presidency after a whistleblower's complaint that the president attempted to pressure Ukraine to investigate his Democratic rival Joe Biden led House Democrats to launch an impeachment inquiry.

The whistleblower's complaint said Trump also requested help from his Ukrainian counterpart, President Volodymyr Zelensky, in investigating the conspiracy theory tying Ukraine to the election interference.

It also said Giuliani's associates met with Ukrainian officials about the conspiracy theory, claiming to be working to supply evidence for a Justice Department inquiry into the origins of the FBI's Russia investigation.

Giuliani appeared on ABC after Bossert and pushed back on the former official's claims, denying that he ever promoted the conspiracy theory.

"With all due respect to Tom Bossert, he doesn't know what he's talking about," Giuliani said.

The former New York mayor told Politico last week that he was tipped off by a private investigator late last year about Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election, leading him on a mission to investigate the claim.
https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-s ... red-2019-9


Maggie Haberman

JON SALE, longtime friend of Giuliani, confirms he’s representing the president’s lawyer in the congressional inquiries.

SALE was an assistant special Watergate prosecutor and a law school classmate of Giuliani.

Leonard Banco

Replying to @maggieNYT
Who will represent Jon Sale?
https://twitter.com/maggieNYT/status/11 ... 6169677826
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Re: Republican Conspiracy Theory Biden-in-Ukraine

Postby stillrobertpaulsen » Wed Oct 02, 2019 3:56 pm

The media made a giant mistake and almost missed Trump’s biggest scandal yet

Written by Cody Fenwick September 30, 2019

With a damning record of his extortionate call with the Ukrainian president public for all to see, President Donald Trump is facing the strongest political headwinds he has seen and staring down the barrel of a daunting and potent impeachment inquiry.

But for all the furor surrounding the Ukraine scandal now, much of the media almost missed the story entirely or gave it inadequate weight and botched framing in light of what it deserved.


To understand the Ukraine story, we must go back all the way back to March 2018, when, according to Lawfare’s timeline of events, conservative author Peter Schweizer published a book lobbing accusations of corruption at Vice President Joe Biden based on his son Hunter Biden’s work for the Ukraine oil company Burisma. That’s when the story entered the conservative media bloodstream, eventually making its way to the heart of the right-wing universe inside the Oval Office. It’s important realize, though, that before this story became twisted by conservative media, Biden’s role as vice president advocating for reform in Ukraine drew little to no criticism at the time it happened from Republicans, who had no limit on their desire to sling mud at the Obama administration.

The new attack on Biden, driven by his perceived strengths as a 2020 competitor to Trump, was that he corruptly ousted a Ukrainian prosecutor who was targeting his son’s employer in 2016 by threatening to withhold aid. And when the mainstream media picked up on the story on May 1, 2019, in the form of a New York Times article, it was framed to take this allegation seriously.

“Biden Faces Conflict of Interest Questions That Are Being Promoted by Trump and Allies,” read the Times’ headline on a story written by Ken Vogel and Iuliia Mendel (who would curiously soon become the new Ukrainian president’s press secretary).

But this article actually broke the central story of the impeachment inquiry that now threatens to bring down Trump himself, not Biden. This fact, though, was easy to miss at the time.
In the typical style of supposedly neutral journalism, the report broadly referred to “questions” about Biden’s supposed corruption or the “issue” being “in the spotlight” while dancing around what the questions were, what the specific issue was, and whether the allegations had any merit. Vogel and Mendel wrote:

The broad outlines of how the Bidens’ roles intersected in Ukraine have been known for some time. The former vice president’s campaign said that he had always acted to carry out United States policy without regard to any activities of his son, that he had never discussed the matter with Hunter Biden and that he learned of his son’s role with the Ukrainian energy company from news reports.

But new details about Hunter Biden’s involvement, and a decision this year by the current Ukrainian prosecutor general to reverse himself and reopen an investigation into Burisma, have pushed the issue back into the spotlight just as the senior Mr. Biden is beginning his 2020 presidential campaign.

Only after casting suspicious light on Biden did the story move on to what would prove to be the real bombshell:

But the renewed scrutiny of Hunter Biden’s experience in Ukraine has also been fanned by allies of Mr. Trump. They have been eager to publicize and even encourage the investigation, as well as other Ukrainian inquiries that serve Mr. Trump’s political ends, underscoring the Trump campaign’s concern about the electoral threat from the former vice president’s presidential campaign.
The Trump team’s efforts to draw attention to the Bidens’ work in Ukraine, which is already yielding coverage in conservative media, has been led partly by Rudolph W. Giuliani, who served as a lawyer for Mr. Trump in the investigation by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III. Mr. Giuliani’s involvement raises questions about whether Mr. Trump is endorsing an effort to push a foreign government to proceed with a case that could hurt a political opponent at home.
Mr. Giuliani has discussed the Burisma investigation, and its intersection with the Bidens, with the ousted Ukrainian prosecutor general and the current prosecutor. He met with the current prosecutor multiple times in New York this year. The current prosecutor general later told associates that, during one of the meetings, Mr. Giuliani called Mr. Trump excitedly to brief him on his findings, according to people familiar with the conversations.

In the above passage, we get the broad outlines of the story that finally pushed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, along with a majority of the House lawmakers, to vocally support an impeachment inquiry. Outside of normal channels, Giuliani — on Trump’s behalf and with his consent — was pressuring foreign officials to investigate the president’s potential 2020 opponent with the weight of the U.S. government behind him. The delayed military aid as likely extortion wasn’t in the picture yet, but that doesn’t change the fundamental matter when the president is pressuring a foreign ally to investigate an opponent, because an implicit threat is always there. Mirroring their “neutral journalism” framing of the Biden corruption allegations, Vogel and Mendel wrote that Giuliani’s “action raises questions about whether Mr. Trump is endorsing an effort to push a foreign government to proceed with a case that could hurt a political opponent at home.” But the reporting doesn’t raise that question, it answers it: Giuliani was “excitedly” briefing Trump — his client — on his efforts. Trump was already attempting to solicit foreign influence in the 2020 election; had such contacts been reported about a Trump employee with Russia in 2016, the president would already have been toast.

At the same time, the story contains pretty much all the information that is needed to exonerate Biden. Yuriy Lutsenko, the prosecutor who replaced the one Biden and Obama forced out, “initially took a hard line against Burisma.” Biden’s efforts to oust Viktor Shokin, the former prosecutor, were the aim of the Obama administration (and many European countries, as well), not Biden’s personally. There were indeed concerns among Obama people that the role of Biden’s son could “complicate” his diplomacy. But since Biden’s diplomacy helped achieve the removal of Shokin — which was, again, Obama’s goal — it actually turned out that the vice president was able to act neutrally, even if the concerns about the conflict of interest were legitimate before the events unfolded.

So the Times had enough information to conclude that Trump was trying to collude with a foreign government to win re-election and that the accusations against Biden were largely specious. For whatever reason, it decided to frame the story around “questions” about Biden’s conflict of interest.

On Twitter at the time, Vogel was even more egregious, promoting the story in a series of tweets claiming, “The BIDENS are entangled in a Ukrainian corruption scandal” — a series that never once mentioned Giuliani’s efforts to influence Ukrainian policy:


Kenneth P. Vogel

@kenvogel
· May 1, 2019

NEW: The BIDENS are entangled in a Ukrainian corruption scandal:@JoeBiden pushed Ukraine to fire a prosecutor seen as corrupt.
BUT the prosecutor had opened a case into a company that was paying HUNTER BIDEN.
The Bidens say they never discussed it.
https://www.
nytimes.com/2019/05/01/us/
politics/biden-son-ukraine.html


Biden Faces Conflict of Interest Questions That Are Being Promoted by Trump and Allies
As vice president, Joe Biden played a key role in the dismissal of a Ukrainian prosecutor who had opened an investigation of a company employing Mr. Biden’s son.
nytimes.com

Kenneth P. Vogel

@kenvogel

HUNTER BIDEN's partners recruited firms to diffuse Ukrainian investigations into an oligarch whose company was paying Hunter Biden $50k/month.
The cases were closed in 2017, but now they've been reopened.@JoeBiden's campaign says it's a political attack.
https://www.
nytimes.com/2019/05/01/us/
politics/biden-son-ukraine.html


Biden Faces Conflict of Interest Questions That Are Being Promoted by Trump and Allies
As vice president, Joe Biden played a key role in the dismissal of a Ukrainian prosecutor who had opened an investigation of a company employing Mr. Biden’s son.
nytimes.com

To defend the reporting, Vogel claimed the Times had been “investigating the intersection of @JoeBiden & HUNTER BIDEN in Ukraine well before @RudyGiuliani seized on it.” He cited a report from 2015 in the Times by James Risen, who did indeed cover the story. But in a new piece for The Intercept, Risen said the right wing’s use of his reporting “turned the story upside down.” He explained:

Hunter Biden was the family millstone around Joe Biden’s neck, the kind of chronic problem relative that plagues many political families. George H.W. Bush had his son Neil; Jimmy Carter had his brother Billy.
Still, when Joe Biden went to Ukraine, he was not trying to protect his son — quite the reverse.
The then-vice president issued his demands for greater anti-corruption measures by the Ukrainian government despite the possibility that those demands would actually increase – not lessen — the chances that Hunter Biden and Burisma would face legal trouble in Ukraine.

Vogel and Mandel’s story was not nearly as clear.

Vogel followed up the May 1 article with another, better piece on Giuliani on May 9. That piece focused on Giuliani’s open admission that he was going to Ukraine to influence policy on as Trump’s personal lawyer. Again, that article, even more drastically, raised the central issues in the story now driving Trump toward impeachment. It didn’t include sufficient context for the Biden allegations, again giving Trump and Giuliani too much credence by saying they “called attention to the scrutiny of Mr. Biden’s son Hunter Biden, and to questions about the former vice president’s involvement in the removal of a Ukrainian prosecutor.” But it also openly drew the connection between the Russia collusion investigation and the new Ukrainian collusion. That piece sparked enough backlash that Giuliani canceled his upcoming trip to Ukraine.

Still, though, the issue didn’t take fire as much as it should have, given the explosivity of the known facts. Giuliani was even explicit that his efforts in Ukraine were mainly in Trump’s personal interest, rather than the national interest, saying: “I’m going to give them reasons why they shouldn’t stop [the investigation] because that information will be very, very helpful to my client, and may turn out to be helpful to my government.”

In part, the lack of a bigger reaction rests on a number of factors. First, the Mueller report had only recently come out, and media outlets were still trying to make sense of it and its implications. Second, the story was complicated, especially given the Times’ confused and inadequate framing. Third, Giuliani was admitting it all out in the open — and the media has a bias against assuming that people will admit to damning information in public.
That’s why what it really took for the story to take off was the whistleblower complaint. It unfolded exactly as you would write it if you were outlining a mystery novel. On Sept. 13, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-NY) subpoenaed the director of national intelligence for an unspecified whistleblower complaint that has been blocked, despite legal requirements — intriguing, but not damning. But then more information started to trickele out a little bit at a time — it may involve the president, then it definitely involved the president, then it involved a conversation with a world leader, supposedly a “promise” was in question — then, finally, we learned it was about Ukraine, and the picture became clearer. We learned there was a hidden transcript and a detailed complaint filed away, and then those documents were uncovered in dramatic fashion. The narrative was compelling, and the information was damning, and it brought us to the most forceful drive for impeachment yet.

The signs that this was a monumental story had been building. On July 22, BuzzFeed published a detailed investigative article examining Giulani’s backchannel to Ukraine. On September 5, the Washington Post editorial board published an opinion piece that, oddly broke significant news: the board has been “reliably” told that Trump’s delay of aid to Ukraine was intended to force the country to investigate Biden.
But even at the point the Times published its first piece on the matter, most of the story was clear — but nearly an entire summer had passed by without much focus on it. Trump was, via an intermediary, admittedly pressuring Ukraine to investigate Biden. It was outrageous, but it was largely ignored. Congress and the media should deeply reflect on why it took them so long to react to corruption happening in plain sight.
"Huey Long once said, “Fascism will come to America in the name of anti-fascism.” I'm afraid, based on my own experience, that fascism will come to America in the name of national security."
-Jim Garrison 1967
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Re: Republican Conspiracy Theory Biden-in-Ukraine

Postby seemslikeadream » Wed Oct 02, 2019 4:35 pm

so good to read you :hug1: :lovehearts:

fun times did you see the Pompeo gang in Italy? Is this redux Niger Forgeries? :)

I never thought anyone around here would fall for Mr. 9/11 Ghooliani con job......the trump M.O. get 'em talking about something else it's Clinton Cash 2.0...SwiftBoats ahoy!!!

It's WORKING!!!

if Rudy is involved in something you know it's a crime spree :D

the urgent meeting was about packets of disinformation by Rudy about Biden and State Dept. officials that wouldn't play ball with trump

Watching the President of Finland begging to be rescued from this insanity was a sight to behold.
Image


Josh Rogin


Giuliani consulted on Ukraine with imprisoned Paul Manafort via a lawyer https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/giuliani-consulted-on-ukraine-with-imprisoned-paul-manafort-via-a-lawyer/2019/10/02/7a6dc542-e486-11e9-b7da-053c79b03db8_story.html … Makes sense @washingtonpost
https://twitter.com/joshrogin/status/11 ... 4435845120



Image
Image

Giuliani consulted on Ukraine with imprisoned Paul Manafort via a lawyer
Paul Sonne

Paul Manafort arrives in court on June 27 in New York, where he pleaded not guilty to mortgage fraud charges. He is serving a 7½ -year term in a federal prison in Pennsylvania for federal bank and tax fraud convictions. (Seth Wenig/AP)
In his quest to rewrite the history of the 2016 election, President Trump’s personal attorney has turned to an unusual source of information: Trump’s imprisoned former campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

Rudolph W. Giuliani in recent months has consulted several times with Manafort through the federal prisoner’s lawyer in pursuit of information about a disputed ledger that would bolster his theory that the real story of 2016 is not Russian interference to elect Trump, but Ukrainian efforts to support Hillary Clinton.

The alliance, which Giuliani acknowledged in an interview this week with The Washington Post, stems from a shared interest in a narrative that undermines the rationale for the special counsel investigation. That inquiry led to Manafort’s imprisonment on tax and financial fraud allegations related to his work in Kiev for the political party of former president Viktor Yanukovych.

Giuliani’s effort is gaining traction on Capitol Hill. Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, have announced their renewal of an inquiry into any coordination between Ukraine and Democratic Party officials.

Manafort, who is serving a 7½ -year term in a federal prison in Pennsylvania, has continued to express support for Trump, and Trump has never ruled out giving him a pardon.

Trump’s push on a July 25 call to get Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate the matter, and also probe former vice president Joe Biden, triggered an impeachment inquiry in the House. Many of the accusations Giuliani has been making about Ukraine recycle those that Manafort’s team first promulgated.

Giuliani joined Trump’s legal team in April 2018 to help defend the president against special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s probe, and the former mayor said he launched his own investigation into Ukraine late last year, which led him to consult with Manafort. He said he has not spoken directly to Manafort in two years.

“It was that I believed there was a lot of evidence that the [Democratic National Committee] and the Clinton campaign had a close connection to Ukrainian officials,” Giuliani said, noting that he was never advocating for a pardon of Manafort. “It was all about Trump. I don’t think I could exonerate Manafort.”

Manafort’s lawyer, Kevin Downing, did not respond to a request for comment.

[Impeachment inquiry puts new focus on Giuliani’s work for prominent figures in Ukraine]

Giuliani said his consultation with Manafort centered on trying to ascertain the veracity of a secret black ledger obtained by Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau, which the New York Times revealed in an August 2016 story. The Times said the ledger recorded $12.7 million in cash payments from Yanukovych’s political party to Manafort. The revelation led Manafort to resign from the campaign.

Giuliani’s narrative recasts Ukrainian accusations in 2016 against Manafort and efforts by Democratic operatives to gather research on Manafort after he took a leading role in Trump’s campaign as a conspiracy involving both Ukrainian and American officials to swing the election for Clinton.

As part of that, Giuliani has focused on a theory that Manafort’s team was promoting as early as 2017: that the Ukrainian government separately interfered in the 2016 campaign on behalf of Clinton through the activities of a Ukrainian American contract worker for the DNC, Alexandra Chalupa.

Chalupa confirmed she worked part-time as an outreach worker for the DNC to Ukrainian Americans and others, and met with Ukrainian officials from the embassy in Washington during that time. She said she “sounded the alarm” on Manafort outside her duties for the DNC, and sought to circulate that information, because she said she was concerned about Manafort’s ties to Yanukovych, who was backed by Russian President Vladi­mir Putin. She said the Ukrainian Embassy stayed clear of U.S. election matters, even with regard to Manafort.

“The White House has been pushing this narrative to distract from Donald Trump’s gross abuse of power in pressuring a foreign country to interfere in our elections,” DNC press secretary Adrienne Watson said in a statement.

There were Ukrainian Americans and people in the Ukrainian anti-corruption movement who were motivated to “shine a light” on Manafort’s activities in Ukraine during 2016, and some Ukrainian Americans were active on behalf of Clinton, said Jeffrey Mankoff, deputy director of the Russia and Eurasia program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, but he said those activities aren’t equivalent to Russia’s state-sponsored intervention, which included the release of stolen emails and an extensive online disinformation campaign.

“One theory has been documented with extensive detail in the Mueller Report,” Mankoff said. “The other is something that Rudy Giuliani and people in his orbit have conjured up as a way to cast aspersions and confuse the story.”

Giuliani said he needed to consult with Manafort through the latter’s lawyer this spring to ask whether a black ledger ever existed.

“I said, ‘Was there really a black book? If there wasn’t, I really need to know. Please tell him I’ve got to know,’” Giuliani recalled asking Manafort’s lawyer. “He came back and said there wasn’t a black book.”

Giuliani said he was interested in the matter to prove his theory that the ledger’s release, which he has claimed was done in conjunction with U.S. officials, was part of a falsified pretext for U.S. authorities to reopen a case against Manafort.

The FBI, however, already had a case open against Manafort before the 2016 campaign, having interviewed him twice about his work in Ukraine in 2013 and 2014.

The special counsel’s office did not introduce the “black ledger” at Manafort’s trial in Virginia in August 2018, nor did Manafort's defense team mention the document during his trial on tax and financial fraud charges, or try to show that it had been forged.

After a jury convicted Manafort of eight felonies, the former Trump campaign chairman pleaded guilty in Washington to avoid a second trial. As part of his plea, Manafort acknowledged that he made more than $60 million in Ukraine, laundering more than $30 million of it through foreign companies and bank accounts to hide it from the IRS and cheating the government out of $15 million in taxes. He also agreed that he had lobbied in the United States on behalf of Ukrainian officials without registering and that he conspired to tamper with witnesses in his case.

Serhiy Leshchenko, a Ukrainian journalist, anti-corruption campaigner and former member of parliament, said the ledger “was obtained by an anonymous source in the burned-out ruins of the headquarters of Yanukovych’s party.” His involvement in the release of part of its contents at a news conference, he said, was motivated by a desire that Manafort be brought to justice for his activities in Ukraine.

“Giuliani’s entire approach is built on disinformation and the manipulation of facts,” Leshchenko said in an op-ed in The Post. “Giuliani has developed a conspiracy theory in which he depicts my revelations about Manafort as an intervention in the 2016 U.S. election in favor of the Democratic Party.”

In a text conversation with Manafort from August 2017 released by prosecutors, Fox News host Sean Hannity mentions “Ukraine interference” as one of the issues he was highlighting to attack Mueller. On his show that year, Hannity repeatedly claimed Ukraine had intervened in the 2016 election by sharing information on Manafort with a DNC contractor. Manafort did not respond directly to those claims but frequently encouraged and praised Hannity throughout the summer.

The White House also promoted the allegation.

“If you’re looking for an example of a campaign coordinating with a foreign country or a foreign source, look no further than the DNC, who actually coordinated opposition research with the Ukrainian Embassy,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in July 2017.

Grassley and Johnson, writing this week in a letter to Attorney General William P. Barr, again mentioned the allegations as a matter they intend to investigate.

“Ukrainian efforts, abetted by a U.S. political party, to interfere in the 2016 election should not be ignored,” the senators wrote. “Such allegations of corruption deserve due scrutiny, and the American people have a right to know when foreign forces attempt to undermine our democratic processes,” the senators wrote in the letter.

Rachel Weiner contributed to this report.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/na ... story.html



PRESS PLAY

Biden Dirt File Has Private Email Between John Solomon and Rudy Allies

The email was then included in part of a misinformation dossier that the State Department Inspector General delivered to Congress.
Erin Banco
National Security Reporter
Maxwell Tani
Media Reporter
Updated 10.02.19 10:07PM ET / Published 10.02.19 9:03PM ET

Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty
A controversial right-leaning reporter at the center of the Trump-Ukraine scandal emailed a copy of one of his stories—before it was published—to a top ally of Rudy Giuliani, as well as two pro-Trump investigators attempting to dig up negative information on the Biden family.

In March, The Hill's investigative reporter John Solomon published a story claiming that the U.S. government had pressured Ukrainian prosecutors to drop a probe of a group funded by the Obama administration and liberal billionaire George Soros. The story was published at 6 p.m., according to a timestamp on the paper’s website. Solomon himself didn’t share it on his Twitter account until 6:56 p.m. that night. The earliest cache of the story in the Internet Archive is from 7:42 pm. Eastern time.

But hours before that, at 12:52 p.m. Eastern time, Solomon appears to have sent a version of the article to Ukrainian-American businessman Lev Parnas and the Trumpworld lawyers Joe diGenova and Victoria Toensing. The email was titled “Outline of Soros reporting, including embedded documents” and included the headline and the text of his piece.

Two congressional sources confirmed to The Daily Beast that Solomon’s email was part of a roughly 50-page package of material that was turned over to lawmakers on Wednesday by the State Department’s Inspector General’s office. Reuters was the first to report the email’s inclusion in the packet.

That material, according to congressional sources, appeared to be a “misinformation” effort meant to smear the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine and the Bidens. CNN reported on Wednesday that Giuliani had conceded that the information in the package originated, at least in part, with him.

“They told me they were going to investigate it,” Giuliani said to CNN, referring to a call he got from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Neither Solomon nor The Hill responded to request for comment from The Daily Beast. But in a series of tweets Wednesday night, Solomon said he sent the email “as a reporter fact-checking my work”—although the email contained the text of a fully drafted story, not isolated items that needed vetting.

“The email released to the public appears to omit the opening line of my originally sent email,” Solomon claimed in the tweets. “Here is the passage that preceded the summary of my reporting. ‘Appreciate eyeballing for accuracy. Want to be fair and accurate.’ That’s not scandalous. It’s good journalism.”


John Solomon
@jsolomonReports
Today I understand the State Department IG released a private email I sent as a reporter fact-checking my work before I published a story back in March. I typically spend a long period of time before any column or news story fact-checking information with numerous people.

8,592
7:07 PM - Oct 2, 2019
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3,440 people are talking about this

Emails sent to the addresses Solomon used for Parnas, diGenova and Toensing did not bounce back but were not returned.

Solomon’s email to Parnas, diGenova, and Toensing suggests even stronger ties between the Hill columnist and the Trump team tasked with digging up dirt on Biden abroad. And it raises questions about the degree to which pro-Trump figures were working directly with sympathetic journalists to try and dig up and spread dirt on Biden and like-minded Democrats.

Solomon’s March 29 story about the U.S. embassy in Ukraine makes no direct mention of Parnas, diGenova, or Toensing—instead, the piece cites a letter about the probe from U.S. embassy official George Kent, and claims by former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko that the U.S. pressured him to halt an investigation into the Soros and U.S.-backed group. But the three individuals have emerged as key players in the leadup to Trump’s request for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to work with Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, to investigate the Bidens.

Parnas, a Giuliani friend and golf buddy, was a key player in connecting the former New York City mayor to former Ukrainian prosecutor general Viktor Shokin, who Biden and other top western government entities and officials had hoped to push out because of his perceived inaction tackling corruption.

"Rudy Giuliani, Former Mayor of New York City speaks to the Organization of Iranian American Communities during their march to urge \"recognition of the Iranian people's right for regime change,\" outside the United Nations Headquarters in New York on September 24, 2019. - They urged recognition of the Iranian people's right for regime change and declared their support for the leader of democratic opposition, Maryam Rajavi. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP) (Photo credit should read ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images)"
Giuliani, diGenova Rage at Fox Bombshell on Ukraine Plan
DiGenova and Toensing have been some of the president’s most trusted outside allies for years. During Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation last year, the duo was briefly mentioned as possibilities to join the president’s legal defense team. On Sunday, Fox News reported that diGenova and Toensing had been working alongside Giuliani to dig up dirt on Biden—a revelation that the New York Times had noted months prior.

‘I AM DISTURBED’
Leaked Memo: Colleagues Unload on Journo Behind Ukraine Mess


Solomon’s work has come under intense scrutiny following the revelation that a series of his stories about Ukraine may have helped spark events leading to Trump’s request that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky team up with Giuliani to investigate the Bidens.

On March 20, Solomon published an interview with former Lutsenko in which the ex-prosecutor accused the former vice president of pressuring the then-Ukrainian president in 2016 to fire Lutsenko’s predecessor Shokin. The insinuation, according to Lutsenko, was Biden hoped to quash an investigation into a Ukrainian gas company connected to his son Hunter Biden. Despite Lutsenko’s retraction of some of the claims, and conclusion that Hunter Biden “did not violate any Ukrainian laws,” the incident was cited in a U.S. government whistleblower’s complaint as one of the circumstances that eventually led to Trump’s call with Zelensky.

Meanwhile, The Washington Post reported new details Wednesday night about Giuliani’s dirt-digging on another front: He’s been meeting with Trump's imprisoned former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort to inquire about the so-called black ledger that reportedly revealed a Ukrainian political party had funneled millions to Manafort. Giuliani believes the ledger was part of a conspiracy by Ukrainians to interfere in the 2016 election on behalf of Hillary Clinton.
https://www.thedailybeast.com/biden-ukr ... udy-allies
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Don’t forget that.
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Re: Republican Conspiracy Theory Biden-in-Ukraine

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu Oct 03, 2019 7:07 am

Reminder: Today, members of the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, and Oversight committees will depose former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker. Volker will be the first person deposed in the House’s impeachment inquiry.


southpaw


Australia’s Ambassador to the US, the honorable and amazingly-aptly-named Joe Hockey, responds to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC):

“In your letter you made mention of the role of an Australian diplomat. We reject your characterization of his role.” https://twitter.com/joehockey/status/11 ... 79969?s=21

Image

Sen. Graham had written to Australia yesterday outlining the conspiracy theory the Trump admin has been pursuing, including that the Australian diplomat “was... directed” (Sen. Graham doesn’t say by whom) to contact George Papadopoulos and pass his info to the US’s FBI.


Image

Dear Lindsey

Give it a rest.

Regards
Australia

https://twitter.com/nycsouthpaw/status/ ... 1487510528
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Re: Republican Conspiracy Theory Biden-in-Ukraine

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu Oct 03, 2019 9:05 am

Déjà vu

Mike Pence insists he didn't know Flynn was under investigation for Turkey lobbying
Maureen Groppe, USA TODAY Published 1:08 p.m. ET May 18, 2017 | Updated 2:37 p.m. ET May 18, 2017
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/pol ... 101831354/


An important note for media covering Ukraine and Biden. They are not unproven charges. They are false charges. There is a big difference.

The Rudy Dossier

Warsaw, Poland, 13/02/2019 - A press briefing held prior to the rally of the Iranian community in Europe on the prospects for establishing a sustainable and lasting peace in the Middle East and the Iranian regime's d... MORE
By Josh Marshall

October 2, 2019 9:15 pm

Good TPM Readers, I was in the midst of writing out a post explaining how there was a lot of circumstantial evidence that that packet of pro-Trump conspiracy theories the State Department Inspector General brought up to the Hill was actually Rudy Giuliani’s work product: the packet of information he’d assembled in his trips abroad. Rudy likely piped it into the State Department. It got circulated through the Department by State appointees (this part we know). The IG had had it since May. But when he heard the events of the last week, especially Pompeo going on the warpath, the IG decided he wanted to get it out of his hands and into the hands of Congress as soon as possible.

Well, I’m robbed of my genius reconstruction of the evidence! Because now Rudy has admitted that, yeah, it’s his stuff.

Here’s the key passage from a late report from CNN …

Giuliani told CNN on Wednesday evening that some of the documents provided to Congress by the State Department’s inspector general had originated with him.

Giuliani said that in late March, he had “routed” what he called an “outline” of allegations against Biden, as well as Yovanovitch, to the office of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. He said he also had sent details of his interviews from earlier in the year with the incumbent and former top prosecutors in Ukraine, who helped provide him with the information in his outline.

Giuliani said he received a phone call shortly thereafter from Pompeo, who told Giuliani he would be referring the documents for investigation.

“They told me they were going to investigate it,” Giuliani told CNN.

So it’s a mix of memos, planted newspaper articles and summaries of the interviews Giuliani conducted in Ukraine. Helpfully (to Congress) Giuliani says Pompeo was receptive to the documents and said he’d make sure they were investigated. The key point here is that the documents not only push the anti-Biden conspiracy theories. They also include attacks on the then-US Ambassador to Ukraine, as well as claims of a Mueller conspiracy against Trump, framing of the Russia, etc. etc. So they apparently got Pompeo to turn against the US Ambassador to Ukraine, who was subsequently dismissed.

Where specifically did the packet come from?

According to a statement released this evening from Chairs Engel, Schiff and Cummings, the State Department IG interviewed Pompeo’s Counselor Thomas Ulrich Brechbuhl.

Here’s the key passage …

“The Inspector General stated that his office interviewed Secretary Pompeo’s Counselor, Thomas Ulrich Brechbuhl, who informed the Inspector General that Secretary Pompeo told him the packet ‘came over,’ and that Brechbuhl presumed it was from the White House.

“Earlier this week, Pompeo attempted to block Brechbuhl, Ambassador Yovanovitch, and other State Department employees from testifying before Congress.

Needless to say, it’s quite clear that Pompeo is deeply implicated in these abuses of power. Meanwhile Rudy Giuliani is happy to provide more evidence of Pompeo’s involvement. Once Pompeo received them, they were circulated within the State Department. It doesn’t say specifically that Pompeo circulated them. But that seems consistent with all the other information we’ve learned.

It seems pretty clear why Inspector General Linick thought this was an urgent matter.
https://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/the-rudy-dossier



COMMAND + C
Book Alleging Biden Corruption in Ukraine Lifted Passages From Wikipedia

Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast
In more than a dozen instances, Peter Schweizer’s book “Secret Empires” appears to have copied complete sentences or large parts of them from other sources.
Lachlan Markay
Reporter
Published 10.03.19 5:35AM ET
A book that has fueled corruption allegations at the center of an unfolding impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump appears to have lifted portions of text from news articles and Wikipedia pages without proper citation or attribution.

The Daily Beast found more than a dozen instances in which Secret Empires, the bestselling book by investigative journalist Peter Schweizer, copied complete sentences or sizable portions of them verbatim or near-verbatim from other sources. In a number of instances, those sources were uncited Wikipedia pages created before the book’s publication in early 2018.

Many of the passages included citations of the works from which language was drawn, but did not put that language in quotation marks. In one case, Schweizer’s book used language nearly identical to a post on a website of a prominent progressive think tank, but cited not that think tank, but a news article based on the same data.

The Daily Beast presented Schweizer’s spokesperson and his publisher, HarperCollins, with a detailed spreadsheet comparing the book’s text with that of the sources from which he appeared to have lifted language. That spokesperson, Sandy Schulz, denied that the examples constituted any sort of journalistic or academic misconduct.

“This is not plagiarism,” she said in an emailed statement. “Secret Empires was run through Grammarly’s plagiarism checker years ago. The examples you cite are trivial snatches of words occurring in a straightforward recitation of publicly available facts... If the analysis you apply to these selected passages were to become the standard, research-driven journalism, including yours, would become near-impossible.”

Schweizer’s book unearthed extensive details of allegedly corrupt schemes involving, among others, Hunter Biden, the youngest son of Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden. The most explosive allegations stemming from Schweizer’s reporting, chiefly that the elder Biden helped unseat a Ukrainian prosecutor to protect a company whose board included Biden’s son from investigation, have been largely debunked. But the allegations are nevertheless central to a rapidly escalating scandal that threatens to envelop the Trump administration.

None of the passages examined by The Daily Beast came from the section of the book that deals with the Bidens. The most problematic portion of Secret Empires appears to be a chapter focused on former Chicago mayor Richard Daley. That chapter contains four passages that are largely copied from the Wikipedia page for Daley’s son Patrick. The book’s footnotes cite news stories that are cited in the same Wikipedia page, but the language appears to be lifted from the latter.

https://img.thedailybeast.com/image/upl ... der_hl8sjw
Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast
Three other passages in the book also appear to draw on Wikipedia pages, though with smaller sections of the sentences at issue, and in less specific language.


Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast
Other sections of the book more directly cite the sources from which language appears to have been lifted. But those sections nonetheless copy large portions of text from those sources and do not place quotation marks around them.


A section on the family of Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, for instance, draws from and cites a Chicago Tribune article about a federal clean energy grant to a Chicago-based company with ties to the Pritzker clan. But significant portions of the passage mirror, word-for-word, language in the Tribune piece, and do not appear in quotation marks.


Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast
The Daily Beast found five other instances in which Schweizer uses similar or identical language to sources that are cited in the text, but without denoting any direct quotation.


Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast
In one instance, Schweizer appears to have lifted language from a piece on the website of the Center for American Progress, a prominent progressive think tank, regarding Trump’s business activities abroad. The book cites not that piece but a Washington Post story on the underlying data. But Schweizer’s language mirrors not the Post’s, but CAP’s, down to the names of the same four countries, out of 18, in which Trump did business and the order in which they’re mentioned.


Columbia University defines “intentional” plagiarism to include a “direct copy [and] paste” of source text or a “small modification by word switch.” Its definition of “unintentional” plagiarism includes a “failure to ‘quote’ or block quote author's exact words, even if documented” and a “failure to put a paraphrase in your own words, even if documented.”

Hard-and-fast definitions of plagiarism are nonetheless disputed, especially in the digital age. “Both journalism and plagiarism have fallen into a murky new reality in which there’s no clear consensus about the old rules. Even the authorities who make the rules disagree over basic definitions,” wrote Washington Post senior editor Marc Fischer in a 2015 column in the Columbia Journalism Review. “The same technology that has softened the definition of plagiarism has also made it radically easier to plagiarize, intentionally or not.”

According to the acknowledgements in Secret Empires, Schweizer, who leads the nonprofit Government Accountability Institute, received assistance for the book from eight researchers and two interns.

It’s not his first work to upend American politics heading into a presidential election. His previous book, the bestseller Clinton Cash, detailed extensive conflict-of-interest allegations against then-Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Scrutiny of her family’s charitable foundation dogged Clinton’s candidacy until her eventual defeat.

The investigative work in Secret Empires is sure to have a similar effect if Biden wins the Democratic nomination and challenges Trump next year. But already it’s fueling a national scandal that has congressional Democrats eyeing impeachment proceedings against the president.

The book’s allegations against the Bidens were front and center in Trump’s mind during a now-infamous July phone call with the new president of Ukraine, whom Trump asked to rekindle an official investigation into the elder Biden’s efforts to get the former prosecutor in Kiev fired.


RELATED IN POLITICS

Rudy and Bannon Try a Whole New Way to Slime Biden

Trump’s Response to Whistleblower: Deflect and Distract
"Corey Lewandowski, U.S. President Donald Trump's former campaign manager and close confidant, checks a copy of the Mueller report as he testifies before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee's first hearing of their impeachment investigation on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 17, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts - RC1A11392CA0"
Lewandowski’s House Testimony Devolves Into Total Mess
Trump has also credited Schweizer’s work publicly, quoting and name-checking him in a recent tweet going after Biden.

All the attention has made Schweizer’s book a bestseller once again, as noted by Breitbart News, where he serves as a senior contributor. “Schweizer’s ‘Secret Empires’ Rockets to #17 on Amazon 1.5 Years After Release,” declared a headline on Sunday.
https://www.thedailybeast.com/peter-sch ... a?ref=home




Kurt Volker — the former U.S. envoy to Ukraine — has arrived for his deposition as part of the House impeachment inquiry.
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Re: Republican Conspiracy Theory Biden-in-Ukraine

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu Oct 03, 2019 4:07 pm

Giuliani was warned that Ukrainian claims of Bidens’ misconduct were not credible, Trump’s ex-envoy tells lawmakers
Karoun Demirjian

Former U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker arrives to be deposed behind closed doors in the House of Representatives' impeachment inquiry into President Trump, Oct. 3, 2019. (Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

The former U.S. special envoy for Ukraine told House investigators on Thursday that he warned President Trump’s personal attorney, Rudolph W. Giuliani, that Giuliani was receiving untrustworthy information from Ukrainian political figures about former vice president Joe Biden and his son, according to two people familiar with his testimony.

Kurt Volker, who resigned last week after being named in a whistleblower complaint that sparked the House impeachment inquiry of Trump, said he tried to caution Guiliani that his sources, including Ukraine’s former top prosecutor, were unreliable and that he should be careful about putting faith in the prosecutor’s stories, said the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the closed door meeting.

Live updates: Trump calls for China to investigate Bidens; former Ukraine envoy testifies on Capitol Hill

Volker’s testimony offers the first inside account of the Trump administration’s efforts to press for a Ukrainian investigation into Trump’s political rival.

At the heart of this effort is Giuliani’s contention that, as vice president, Biden pushed for the firing of Ukraine’s former prosector general, Viktor Shokin, as part of a corrupt plot to halt investigations into a Ukrainian natural gas company that employed Biden’s son Hunter.

Joe Biden has denied the accusation, and foreign policy experts have pointed out that Biden’s push to remove Shokin was part of a broader international effort that included the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, where leaders viewed Shokin as an inept.

Volker also said that he and other State Department officials cautioned the Ukrainians to steer clear of U.S. politics. Getting involved, he said he told them, would open the nation up to allegations that they were interfering in an election and could be detrimental to Ukraine long-term, according to these two individuals

Volker faced hours of questioning Thursday from members of the House committees leading an impeachment inquiry into Trump, the first of five former and current State Department officials to testify as part of the probe.

Rep. Michael R. Turner (R-Ohio) released a statement just before noon saying that, after attending the interview for an hour, he felt confident Volker’s testimony would not advance House Democrats’ “impeachment agenda.”

Volker was named in the whistleblower complaint as the diplomat who set up a meeting between Giuliani and a top adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky amid Trump’s effort to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens. The State Department says Volker arranged the meeting between Giuliani Andriy Yermak, but at Yermak’s request.

As Giuliani faced a storm of accusations last week that he was conducting rogue U.S. foreign policy in his capacity as Trump’s personal lawyer, the former New York mayor countered that he acted at the request of the State Department and posted a private text message from Volker in which the envoy offered to set up the meeting with the Ukrainians. Shortly afterward, Volker resigned and agreed to sit for an interview that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tried to block.

Turner’s statement indicated that the questioning of Volker was being led by staff for Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), who as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee is steering the Democrats’ investigation alongside the heads of the Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees. Turner derided the process, calling Volker’s interview a “show trial.”

One of the president’s closest allies in Congress, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), emerged from the hearing room and declared, “Nothing he has said supports the narrative you’ve been hearing from Mr. Schiff and the Democrats. Nothing.”

He characterized Volker as an impressive, knowledgeable witness but declined to detail any specifics about what has been discussed thus far.

Neither Pompeo nor the State Department has offered an explanation for Volker’s resignation. Lawmakers want answers about that and several other issues, including whether about $400 million in aid to Ukraine was withheld to pressure Kiev into investigating the Bidens.

In advance of his appearance Thursday, Volker had turned over a number of documents to congressional staffers including a chain of text messages with Giuliani, said a person familiar with the matter who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment publicly. Volker has also turned over physical documents, white papers and correspondence with other officials, the person said.

Kurt Volker, Trump’s special envoy to Ukraine, resigns

Volker started his job at the State Department in 2017 in an unusual part-time arrangement that allowed him to continue consulting at BGR, a powerful lobbying firm that represents Ukraine and Raytheon. During his tenure, Volker advocated for the U.S. to send Ukraine Raytheon-manufactured antitank Javelin missiles — a decision that made the missile firm millions of dollars. BGR has said Volker recused himself from all Ukraine-related matters in response to criticisms about conflicts of interest.

Volker also kept his job as executive director of the McCain Institute, an affiliation that may explain why Volker never penetrated Trump’s inner circle, given the president’s open disdain for the late Sen. John McCain.

Previously, he served as the U.S. ambassador to NATO during the George W. Bush administration.

The whistleblower complaint that led to Volker’s resignation alleged that Trump abused his office to pressure a foreign country to damage a political opponent in the 2020 election. Among other things, it cited a July 25 phone call between Trump and Zelensky in which Trump asks if Zelensky could get in touch with Giuliani.

A day after the call, the whistleblower says Volker and the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, held a meeting with Zelensky and gave him advice about how to “navigate” Trump’s request.

The White House denies the charge of a “quid pro quo” with Ukraine and says that Trump withheld aid to Ukraine out of frustration over Europe’s lack of support for Ukraine and continued problems related to corruption in the country.

When asked whether he thought anything was improper on the phone call, Pompeo said Wednesday that everything the Trump administration has done related to Ukraine has been “remarkably consistent” and focused on confronting the “threat that Russia poses” and rooting out “corruption” in Ukraine.

Mike DeBonis contributed to this report.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/na ... story.html



In May, Ukrainian oligarch said Giuliani was orchestrating a ‘clear conspiracy against Biden’
Josh Rogin
Rudolph W. Giuliani, President Trump's personal attorney wipes his forehead as he listens to Trump speak in the Rose Garden of the White House on July 29, 2019. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press)
Months before an intelligence community whistleblower accused President Trump’s lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani of digging for dirt on former vice president Joe Biden in Ukraine, many in that country knew what he was up to and some were talking about it publicly.

One Ukrainian oligarch in particular, a figure close to President Volodymyr Zelensky, claims to have first-hand knowledge of Giuliani’s activities because, he says, Giuliani’s business associates tried to rope him into the scheme. When this Ukrainian business tycoon, Ihor Kolomoisky, rejected Giuliani’s request for help, Giuliani attacked him on Twitter and called for him to be investigated. Kolomoisky then gave an on-the-record interview on Ukrainian television in which he predicted that Giuliani was soon going to be the center of a “big scandal” in the United States.

In May, Kolomoisky told Ukrainian media, in an interview barely noticed in Washington, that two of Giuliani’s business associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, came to visit him in Israel in April to “demand” he set up a meeting between Giuliani and Zelensky. This was months before Ambassador Kurt Volker eventually did set up a meeting between Giuliani and Zelensky’s adviser Andriy Yermak.

“They wanted to have a meeting with Zelensky and show Giuliani that they had organized everything,” Kolomoisky said. “A big scandal may break out, and not only in Ukraine, but in the United States. That is, it may turn out to be a clear conspiracy against Biden.”

Kolomoisky owned the television station that distributed the comedy show in which Zelensky played the role of the president of Ukraine. He was living in Israel after the government in Kiev nationalized his bank amid accusations he embezzled billions of dollars. His relationship with Zelensky is long and complicated. But he said he rejected the “demand” from Parnas and Fruman that he connect Giuliani with Zelensky, who was then the incoming new president.

“Look, there is Giuliani, and there [are] two clowns, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who were milking the bull here. They are Giuliani’s clients,” Kolomoisky told the Ukrainska Pravda website. “They came here and told us that they would organize a meeting with Zelensky. They allegedly struck a deal with [Prosecutor-general Yuriy] Lutsenko about the fate of this criminal case – Burisma, [former vice president] Biden, meddling in the U.S. election and so on.”

Kolomoisky is no innocent. In addition to being accused of extensive financial crimes, the Ukrainian-Jewish billionaire also stands accused of using quasi-military forces on behalf of his PrivatBank to corruptly take over other companies. The government forcibly nationalized PrivatBank in 2016. The Ukrainian official who made that decision was recently run over by a car and endured an arson attack on her home – with Kolomoisky the prime suspect.

But what’s important is not whether Kolomoisky is trustworthy – it’s that Giuliani’s attempts to get to Zelensky began well before Volker or the whistleblower got involved. And his efforts were not only well known, but public. In July, BuzzFeed published an extensive investigative report on what Giuliani, Parnas and Fruman were up to.

Giuliani told my Post colleagues this week that he has not done paid consulting work in Ukraine since 2017. He would not say if he is currently being paid by Parnas and Fruman, who were pursuing a natural gas export venture involving Ukraine at the same time.

Three congressional committees are demanding documents related to hundreds of thousands of dollars Parnas and Fruman donated to a pro-Trump Super PAC. Parnas told the Post he got involved in politics because he was a huge Trump supporter; Fruman declined to comment.

Kolomoisky, in his May interview, claimed to have lots of evidence about Giuliani’s efforts with Parnas and Fruman to dig up dirt on Biden and get various Ukrainian officials to help. He claims to have text messages from Parnas and Fruman detailing Giuliani’s motives and receipts of money they were paid.

“If we put aside conspiracy theories and some comedy staff, the situation was about their willingness to make both Lutsenko and Zelensky interested in continuing the investigation (into Biden),” he said. “There is so much interesting information that everyone will be interested [to know it]. I believe both U.S. and our law enforcers. And they will be very interested . . . .”

Lutsenko has recently said he found no evidence the Bidens committed any wrongdoing. Giuliani turned on Lutsenko this week, after working with him for months to push the Biden narrative.

Kolomoisky went public with his accusations about Giuliani, Parnas and Fruman after Giuliani tweeted on May 18 that Kolomoisky was under investigation by the FBI and had “threatened two American citizens,” Parnas and Fruman. Giuliani said Kolomoisky was an enemy of Trump and suggested Zelensky should arrest him.

Giuliani cancelled his own trip to Kiev in May after facing public criticism but told the New York Times on May 9 his trip was to advance his “meddling in an investigation.” I reported in May Giuliani was involved in a smear campaign against U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, who was recalled early. On Wednesday, Giuliani admitted pushing a package of research that included allegations against Yovanovitch to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for him to “investigate.”

Congress likely will want to follow up and see if Kolomoisky has real evidence that confirms what Giuliani, Parnas and Fruman were doing. But regardless of whether you believe this Ukrainian oligarch, Giuliani’s meddling in Ukrainian politics and interference in U.S. foreign policy to advance the Biden accusations was extensive, public and predated the involvement of the State Department, Volker or the whistleblower.

Kolomoisky got at least one thing exactly right: Giuliani’s scheme would soon result in a “big scandal.”
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions ... nst-biden/
Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
But instead, they want mass death.
Don’t forget that.
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Re: Republican Conspiracy Theory Biden-in-Ukraine

Postby Belligerent Savant » Thu Oct 03, 2019 5:06 pm

.
seemslikeadream » Thu Oct 03, 2019 8:05 am wrote:
An important note for media covering Ukraine and Biden. They are not unproven charges. They are false charges. There is a big difference.



What information is available to back this up [that the charges are "false"]?
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Re: Republican Conspiracy Theory Biden-in-Ukraine

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu Oct 03, 2019 5:09 pm

well lets start with the fact that Rudy made it all up.....didn't you read about the Rudy Dossier?

Have you read this thread? Or Mr. 9/11 Rudy Giuliani thread?
viewtopic.php?f=8&t=41841

I mean it is all there in previous posts

I am at a loss as to why you would believe anything Rudy says

maybe you could show me some proof that the charges are true because I have not read any, that is kinda how it works
Last edited by seemslikeadream on Thu Oct 03, 2019 5:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
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Re: Republican Conspiracy Theory Biden-in-Ukraine

Postby Belligerent Savant » Thu Oct 03, 2019 5:19 pm

.

I haven't read or heard a single thing Rudy has said. The closest I come to material that may have emanated from Rudy is what you post HERE in this forum, but I scroll past most of your content, so am spared. I ignore much of the nonsense that passes for 'news' on most major media outlets, as should be clear by now. I have, however, come across information from other sources that strongly suggest that Biden's activities, and that of his son, are minimally worthy of investigation.

You claimed the charges are "False", so I'll repeat and expand: what charges are you referring to, and how did you come to the conclusion that said charges are "false"?

Note: I never indicated there is "proof" Biden is guilty of the charges leveled against him.




[Edit to fix typos]
Last edited by Belligerent Savant on Thu Oct 03, 2019 5:41 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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