Elephant In The Impeachment Hearing: Donald Trump Hands Russia Big Wins

Reply Fri 15 Nov, 2019 11:55 am
Elephant In The Impeachment Hearing:
Donald Trump Hands Russia Big Wins.

Rachel Maddow runs through a litany of foreign policy decisions by Donald Trump
that were of dubious value to American national interests
but from which Russia was a clear beneficiary.

Aired on 11/14/19.

Although the entire video is very important and very informative,
focus on watching the video starting at the 5:30 mark to the end of the video.

Real Music
Reply Fri 15 Nov, 2019 01:08 pm
Read: Marie Yovanovitch's testimony at today's impeachment hearings.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukrane Marie Yovanovitch is testifying to the House Intelligence Committee Friday.
Read Yovanovitch's prepared opening remarks below:

Published November 15, 2019

Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Nunes, and other Members of the Committee: Thank you for the opportunity to start with this statement, to reintroduce myself to the Committee and to highlight parts of my biography and experience. My Background I come before you as an American citizen, who has devoted the majority of my life, 33 years, to service to the country that all of us love. Like my colleagues, I entered the Foreign Service understanding that my job was to implement the foreign policy interests of this nation, as defined by the President and Congress, and to do so regardless of which person or party was in power. I had no agenda other than to pursue our stated foreign policy goals.

My service is an expression of gratitude for all that this country has given my family and me. My late parents did not have the good fortune to come of age in a free society. My father fled the Soviets before ultimately finding refuge in the United States. My mother’s family escaped the USSR after the Bolshevik revolution, and she grew up stateless in Nazi Germany, before eventually making her way to the United States. Their personal histories—my personal history—gave me both deep gratitude towards the United States and great empathy for others—like the Ukrainian people—who want to be free.

I joined the Foreign Service during the Reagan Administration and subsequently served three other Republican Presidents, as well as two Democratic Presidents. It was my great honor to be appointed to serve as an ambassador three times— twice by President George W. Bush and once by President Barack Obama.

There is a perception that diplomats lead a comfortable life throwing dinner parties in fancy homes. Let me tell you about some of my reality. It has not always been easy. I have moved 13 times and served in seven different countries, five of them hardship posts.

My first tour was Mogadishu, Somalia, an increasingly dangerous place, as that country’s civil war kept grinding on and the government was weakening. The military took over policing functions in a particularly brutal way and many basic services disappeared.

Several years later, after the Soviet Union collapsed, I helped open our Embassy in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. As we were establishing relations with a new country, our small Embassy was attacked by a gunman, who sprayed the Embassy building with gunfire.

I later served in Moscow. In 1993, during the attempted coup in Russia, I was caught in crossfire between presidential and parliamentary forces. It took us three tries—me without a helmet or body armor—to get into a vehicle to go to the Embassy. We went to the Embassy, because the Ambassador asked us to come. We went, because it was our duty.

My Service in Ukraine

From August 2016 until May 2019, I served as the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine. During my tenure in Ukraine, I went to the Front Line approximately ten times during a shooting war: to show the American flag, to hear what was going on (sometimes literally as we heard the impact of artillery), and to see how our assistance dollars were being put to use.

I worked to advance U.S. policy—fully embraced by Democrats and Republicans alike—to help Ukraine become a stable and independent democratic state, with a market economy integrated into Europe. A secure, democratic, and free Ukraine serves not just the Ukrainian people, but the American people as well. That’s why it was our policy to help the Ukrainians achieve their objectives—they matched our objectives.

The War Against Russia

The U.S. is the most powerful country in the history of the world, in large part because of our values. And our values have made possible the network of alliances and partnerships that buttresses our own strength. Ukraine, with an enormous landmass and a large population, has the potential to be a significant commercial and political partner for the U.S., as well as a force-multiplier on the security side.

We see the potential in Ukraine. Russia, by contrast, sees the risk. The history is not written yet, but Ukraine could move out of Russia’s orbit. And now Ukraine is a battleground for great power competition, with a hot war for the control of territory and a hybrid war to control Ukraine’s leadership. The U.S. has provided significant security assistance since the onset of the war against Russia in 2014. And as is well-known, the Trump administration strengthened our policy by approving the provision to Ukraine of anti-tank missiles known as Javelins.

Supporting Ukraine is the right thing to do. It is also the smart thing to do. If Russia prevails and Ukraine falls to Russian dominion, we can expect to see other attempts by Russia to expand its territory and influence.

The War Against Corruption

As critical as the war against Russia is, Ukraine’s struggling democracy has an equally important challenge: Battling the Soviet legacy of corruption, which has pervaded Ukraine’s government. Corruption makes Ukraine’s leaders ever vulnerable to Russia, and the Ukrainian people understand that. That’s why they launched the Revolution of Dignity in 2014 demanding to be a part of Europe, demanding the transformation of the system, demanding to live under the rule of law. Ukrainians wanted the law to apply equally to all persons, whether the individual in question is the president or any other citizen. It was a question of fairness, of dignity.

Here, again, there is a coincidence of interests. Corrupt leaders are inherently less trustworthy, while an honest and accountable Ukrainian leadership makes a U.S.-Ukrainian partnership more reliable and more valuable to the United States.

A level playing field in this strategically-located country bordering four NATO allies, creates an environment in which U.S. business can more easily trade, invest, and profit. Corruption is also a security issue, because corrupt officials are vulnerable to Moscow. In short, it is in America’s national security interest to help Ukraine transform into a country where the rule of law governs and corruption is held in check. It was— and remains—a top U.S. priority to help Ukraine fight corruption. Significant progress has been made since the 2014 Revolution of Dignity.

Unfortunately, as the past couple of months have underlined, not all Ukrainians embraced our anti-corruption work. Thus, perhaps, it was not surprising, that when our anti-corruption efforts got in the way of a desire for profit or power, Ukrainians who preferred to play by the old, corrupt rules sought to remove me. What continues to amaze me is that they found Americans willing to partner with them and, working together, they apparently succeeded in orchestrating the removal of a U.S. Ambassador.

How could our system fail like this? How is it that foreign corrupt interests could manipulate our government? Which country’s interests are served when the very corrupt behavior we have been criticizing is allowed to prevail? Such conduct undermines the U.S., exposes our friends, and widens the playing field for autocrats like President Putin. Our leadership depends on the power of our example and the consistency of our purpose. Both have now been opened to question.

Addressing Specific Concerns

With that background in mind, I would like briefly to address some of the factual issues I expect you may want to ask me about, starting with my timeline in Ukraine and the events about which I do and do not have first-hand knowledge.

Events Before and After I Served in Ukraine

I arrived in Ukraine on August 22, 2016 and left Ukraine permanently on May 20, 2019. There are a number of events you are investigating to which I cannot bring any first-hand knowledge. The events that pre-dated my Ukraine service include:

°the release of the so-called “Black Ledger” and Mr. Manafort’s subsequent resignation from President Trump’s campaign; and

°the departure from office of former Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin.

Several other events occurred after I returned from Ukraine. These include:

°President Trump’s July 25, 2019 call with President Zelenskiy;

°The discussions surrounding that phone call; and

°Any discussions surrounding the delay of security assistance to Ukraine in Summer 2019.

During my Tenure in Ukraine

As for events during my tenure in Ukraine:

°I want to reiterate first that the allegation that I disseminated a “Do Not Prosecute” list was a fabrication. Mr. Lutsenko, the former Ukrainian Prosecutor General who made that allegation, has acknowledged that the list never existed.

°I did not tell Mr. Lutsenko or other Ukrainian officials who they should or should not prosecute. Instead, I advocated the U.S. position that rule of law should prevail and Ukrainian law enforcement, prosecutors, and judges should stop wielding their power selectively, as a political weapon against their adversaries, and start dealing with all consistently and according to the law.

°Also untrue are unsourced allegations that I told unidentified Embassy employees or Ukrainian officials that President Trump’s orders should be ignored because “he was going to be impeached”—or for any other reason. I did not and would not say such a thing. Such statements would be inconsistent with my training as a Foreign Service Officer and my role as an Ambassador.

°The Obama administration did not ask me to help the Clinton campaign or harm the Trump campaign, nor would I have taken any such steps if they had. Partisanship of this type is not compatible with the role of a career Foreign Service Officer.

°I have never met Hunter Biden, nor have I had any direct or indirect conversations with him. And although I have met former Vice President Biden several times over the course of our many years in government, neither he nor the previous Administration ever raised the issue of either Burisma or Hunter Biden with me.

°With respect to Mayor Giuliani, I have had only minimal contacts with him—a total of three. None related to the events at issue. I do not understand Mr. Giuliani’s motives for attacking me, nor can I offer an opinion on whether he believed the allegations he spread about me. Clearly, no one at the State Department did. What I can say is that Mr. Giuliani should have known those claims were suspect, coming as they reportedly did from individuals with questionable motives and with reason to believe that their political and financial ambitions would be stymied by our anti-corruption policy in Ukraine.

My Departure from Ukraine

After being asked by the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs in early March 2019 to extend my tour until 2020, the smear campaign against me entered a new public phase in the United States. In the wake of the negative press, State Department officials suggested an earlier departure, and we agreed upon July 2019. I was then abruptly told just weeks later, in late April, to come back to Washington from Ukraine “on the next plane.” At the time I departed, Ukraine had just concluded game-changing presidential elections. It was a sensitive period with much at stake for the U.S. and called for all the experience and expertise we could muster.

When I returned to the United States, Deputy Secretary of State Sullivan told me there had been a concerted campaign against me, that the President no longer wished me to serve as Ambassador to Ukraine, and that in fact, the President had been pushing for my removal since the prior summer. As Mr. Sullivan recently recounted during his Senate confirmation hearing, neither he nor anyone else ever explained or sought to justify the President’s concerns about me, nor did anyone in the Department justify my early departure by suggesting I had done something wrong. I appreciate that Mr. Sullivan publicly affirmed at his hearing that I had served “capably and admirably.”

Although, then and now, I have always understood that I served at the pleasure of the President, I still find it difficult to comprehend that foreign and private interests were able to undermine U.S. interests in this way. Individuals, who apparently felt stymied by our efforts to promote stated U.S. policy against corruption—that is, to do the mission—were able to successfully conduct a campaign of disinformation against a sitting Ambassador, using unofficial back channels. As various witnesses have recounted, they shared baseless allegations with the President and convinced him to remove his Ambassador, despite the fact that the State Department fully understood that the allegations were false and the sources highly suspect.

These events should concern everyone in this room. Ambassadors are the symbol of the United States abroad, the personal representatives of the President. They should always act and speak with full authority to advocate for U.S. policies. If our chief representative is kneecapped, it limits our effectiveness to safeguard the vital national security interests of the United States. This is especially important now, when the international landscape is more complicated and more competitive than it has been since the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Our Ukraine policy has been thrown into disarray, and shady interests the world over have learned how little it takes to remove an American Ambassador who does not give them what they want. After these events, what foreign official, corrupt or not, could be blamed for wondering whether the Ambassador represents the President’s views? And what U.S. Ambassador could be blamed for harboring the fear that they cannot count on our government to support them as they implement stated U.S. policy and defend U.S. interests?


I would like to comment on one other matter before taking your questions. At the closed deposition, I expressed grave concerns about the degradation of the Foreign Service over the past few years and the failure of State Department leadership to push back as foreign and corrupt interests apparently hijacked our Ukraine policy. I remain disappointed that the Department’s leadership and others have declined to acknowledge that the attacks against me and others are dangerously wrong.

This is about far more than me or a couple of individuals. As Foreign Service professionals are being denigrated and undermined, the institution is also being degraded. This will soon cause real harm, if it hasn’t already. The State Department as a tool of foreign policy often doesn’t get the same attention and respect as the military might of the Pentagon does, but we are— as they say—“the pointy end of the spear.” If we lose our edge, the U.S. will inevitably have to use other tools, even more often than it does today. And those other tools are blunter, more expensive, and not universally effective.

Moreover, the attacks are leading to a crisis in the State Department as the policy process is visibly unravelling, leadership vacancies go unfilled, and senior and midlevel officers ponder an uncertain future and head for the doors. The crisis has moved from the impact on individuals to an impact on the institution. The State Department is being hollowed out from within at a competitive and complex time on the world stage. This is not a time to undercut our diplomats.

It is the responsibility of the Department’s leaders to stand up for the institution and the individuals who make that institution the most effective diplomatic force in the world. And Congress has a responsibility to reinvest in our diplomacy. That’s an investment in our national security, an investment in our future.

As I close, let me be clear on who we are and how we serve this country. We are professionals, public servants who by vocation and training pursue the policies of the President, regardless of who holds that office or what party they affiliate with. We handle American Citizen Services, facilitate trade and commerce, work security issues, represent the U.S., and report to and advise Washington, to mention just a few of our functions.

And we make a difference every day.

We are people who repeatedly uproot our lives, who risk— and sometimes give—our lives for this country.

We are the fifty-two Americans who forty years ago this month began 444 days of deprivation, torture and captivity in Teheran.

We are the dozens of Americans stationed at our embassy in Cuba and consulates in China, who mysteriously and dangerously—and in some cases perhaps permanently—were injured in attacks from unknown sources several years ago.

And we are Ambassador Chris Stevens, Sean Patrick Smith, Ty Woods, and Glen Doherty—people rightly called heroes for their ultimate sacrifice to this nation’s foreign policy interests in Libya, eight years ago.

We honor these individuals. They represent each one of you here—and every American. These courageous individuals were attacked because they symbolized America.

What you need to know, what the American people need to know, is that while, thankfully, most of us answer the call to duty in less dramatic ways, every Foreign Service Officer runs these same risks. And, very often, so do our families. They serve too. As individuals, as a community, we answer the call to duty to advance and protect the interests of the United States.

We take our oath of office seriously, the same oath that each one of you take, “to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic” and to “bear true faith and allegiance to the same.”

I count myself lucky to be a Foreign Service Officer, fortunate to serve with the best America has to offer, blessed to serve the American people for the last 33 years.

Thank you for your attention. I welcome your questions.

0 Replies
Real Music
Reply Fri 15 Nov, 2019 01:30 pm
New Facts On Russia Influence On GOP Platform.

Rachel Maddow looks at new information on ties between the Trump campaign and Russia
and its influence on the Republican Party platform regarding Ukraine at the national convention,
adding credibility to another piece of the unverified Trump dossier.

Published March 8, 2017

0 Replies
Reply Sat 16 Nov, 2019 10:32 pm
This lady was gone from the Ukraine when the phone call happened. The president makes foreign policy. The State Dept. carries THAT policy out, not theirs.

A huge nothing.
0 Replies
Real Music
Reply Sun 17 Nov, 2019 09:26 am
Published November 15, 2019

A State Department official told House impeachment investigators on Friday that he overheard Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, telling President Donald Trump that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky would do “anything you ask him to” — including publicly announcing an investigation targeting Trump’s political rivals.

“[Sondland] went on to state that President Zelensky ‘loves your ass,’” David Holmes told investigators, according to two sources familiar with his opening statement.

Holmes, the political counselor at the U.S. embassy in Kyiv, said he then heard Trump ask, “So, he’s gonna do the investigation?” Sondland then replied: “He’s gonna do it.”

Holmes’ account corroborates testimony this week by William Taylor, the top American diplomat in the eastern European country, who relayed details of the July 26 episode to lawmakers during the first public impeachment hearing on Wednesday.

Holmes’ account also represents another data point connecting Trump directly to what Democrats have argued is a scheme to withhold critical Ukrainian military aid and refuse a White House meeting between the two presidents until Ukraine committed to the investigations Trump was seeking — namely, one targeting former Vice President Joe Biden.

Sondland was at a restaurant in the Ukrainian capital when he placed the call to Trump, sitting at an outdoor table with Holmes, another embassy official, and an aide to Sondland. Holmes told investigators that he could clearly hear what Trump and Sondland were saying, and has a “clear recollection” of it despite not having taken notes.

“While Ambassador Sondland's phone was not on speakerphone, I could hear the president’s voice through the earpiece of the phone,” Holmes said in his opening statement. “The president’s voice was very loud and recognizable, and Ambassador Sondland held the phone away from his ear for a period of time, presumably because of the loud volume.”

Holmes’ testimony also backs up Taylor’s testimony about Trump’s personal views on Ukraine. Holmes said he asked Sondland “if it was true that the president did not ‘give a ****’ about Ukraine.” According to Holmes, Sondland agreed, and said Trump only cares about “‘big stuff’ that benefits the president, like the ‘Biden investigation’ that [Rudy] Giuliani was pushing.”

Trump on Wednesday denied that the call with Sondland occurred, saying he knows “nothing about that.”

The Intelligence Committee issued a subpoena to Holmes on Friday, according to an official working on the impeachment inquiry. The official said the State Department sought to block him from appearing for his scheduled deposition.

CNN first reported on Holmes’ opening statement. The phone call in question occurred just a day after Trump spoke by phone with Zelensky, on July 25. That conversation is central to the impeachment inquiry because, according to a record released by the White House, Trump appeared to ask Zelensky to investigate Biden and his son, Hunter, who sat on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company.

Sondland is slated to testify in public before the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday as part of House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry into the president. His lawyer previously told POLITICO that Sondland planned to address the phone call — which was first revealed by Taylor — when he appears for testimony next week.

Taylor told investigators that Holmes relayed to him the details of the conversation between Trump and Sondland. He said Trump asked Sondland about “the investigations,” and Sondland replied that the Ukrainians were ready to move forward. According to Taylor, Holmes asked Sondland what the president thinks of Ukraine, to which Sondland “responded that President Trump cares more about the investigations of Biden.”

Holmes also told investigators that he was present for a video conference on July 18 during which an official from the Office of Management and Budget announced that acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney had placed a hold on critical military assistance to Ukraine at the president’s direction. His account confirms that of several other witnesses who have testified — including officials from the State Department, Pentagon and National Security Council.

Holmes said he and his colleagues at the embassy tried to figure out why the hold had been placed, but to no avail. He added that NSC officials “could not determine the cause of the hold or how to lift it.”

0 Replies
Reply Sun 17 Nov, 2019 12:25 pm
Interesting how Biden gets a pass through all of this. What he did is obvious and very provable. When will Biden answer for his corruption? Should he be prosecuted after the election? He needs to face justice also, right?
Reply Sun 17 Nov, 2019 02:47 pm
That the question I asked has not been answered. Why? Do you believe Biden is above the law? All this rule of law talk coming from the Left and Democrats is ludicrous and hypocritical without a doubt.
Reply Sun 17 Nov, 2019 03:13 pm
Let me help you out here Mr.Joint. This thread matter is directly related to President Trump's actions and the actions and behaviors of those he holds near and dear (unless of course they say or do anything he doesn't like). The current hearings are about Donald Trump and his associates.

Now, at a later time the stage may be set for a trial of your honey-bun Joe Biden. For now, we are focused elsewhere. Feel free to write an opening post about Mr.Biden in a new thread.
Reply Sun 17 Nov, 2019 03:15 pm
This thread matter is directly related to President Trump's actions

Biden did what you are accusing Trump of. They could not be more related. Next.
0 Replies
Real Music
Reply Sun 17 Nov, 2019 05:25 pm
Trump, Biden and Ukraine: Sorting Out the Accusations.

Published Sept. 22, 2019
Updated Nov. 7, 2019

WASHINGTON — President Trump is trying to deflect attention from a firestorm of controversy around revelations that he pressed Ukraine’s leader to investigate a domestic political rival, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

Mr. Trump is doing so by saying the real issue is possible corrupt activity involving Ukraine by Mr. Biden, one of the leading Democratic challengers in the 2020 presidential race, and Mr. Biden’s son.

Here is what we know and do not know about the involvement of the former vice president and his son, Hunter Biden, in Ukraine.

Did Joe Biden do anything wrong?

The issue here is whether Mr. Biden used his position as vice president to help a Ukrainian energy company that was paying Hunter Biden by pushing for the ouster of a Ukrainian prosecutor. The prosecutor’s office had oversight of investigations into the oligarch who owned the company.

As The New York Times reported this spring, no evidence has surfaced that the former vice president intentionally tried to help his son by pressing for the prosecutor’s dismissal.

In fact, some of the vice president’s former associates said he never did anything to deter other efforts to go after the oligarch, Mykola Zlochevsky. Those efforts included a push by Obama administration officials for the United States to support criminal investigations by Ukrainian and British authorities, and possibly for the United States to start its own investigation, into the energy company, Burisma Holdings, and its owner, Mr. Zlochevsky, for possible money laundering and abuse of office.

What evidence is Mr. Trump citing?

The president has often been vague about the specifics of his allegations, but one detail that he and his allies have repeatedly cited is the former vice president’s threatening to withhold $1 billion in United States loan guarantees if Ukraine’s leaders did not dismiss the prosecutor. Mr. Trump’s campaign on Saturday publicized footage of Mr. Biden recounting the threat.

“I said: ‘We’re leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor’s not fired, you’re not getting the money,’” Mr. Biden recounted at a 2018 event sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations. “Well, son of a bitch, he got fired,” Mr. Biden continued, in footage that was not included in the Trump campaign video.

The prosecutor general, Viktor Shokin, was soon voted out by the Ukrainian Parliament.

His dismissal had been sought not just by Mr. Biden, but also by others in the Obama administration, as well other Western governments and international lenders. Mr. Shokin had been repeatedly accused of turning a blind eye to corruption in his office and among the Ukrainian political elite, and criticized for failing to bring corruption cases.

Did Hunter Biden do anything wrong?

Hunter Biden has not been accused of legal wrongdoing related to his work for Burisma, which paid him as much as $50,000 per month in some months for his service on the board of the directors. He said in a statement this year that he never discussed Burisma with his father.

But he has been criticized by government watchdog groups in the United States and Ukraine for what they characterize as the perception of a conflict of interest, and trading on his family name by allowing it to be used to burnish the reputations of Burisma and Mr. Zlochevsky.

Starting in 2012, Mr. Zlochevsky has faced a long series of accusations of money laundering and tax evasion, as well as overseeing the awarding of lucrative gas licenses to his companies while he was the head of the Ukrainian Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources under the Russia-aligned government of the former president Viktor F. Yanukovych.

When Hunter Biden joined the board of Burisma, he had no experience in Ukraine. He has a professional history including a number of roles that intersected with his father’s political career. When his father represented Delaware in the Senate, Hunter Biden worked with a credit card issuer in the state. He also worked at the Commerce Department under President Bill Clinton and as a lobbyist on behalf of various universities, associations and companies.

Did Joe Biden’s push to remove the prosecutor help Hunter Biden’s employer?

Mr. Zlochevsky’s allies were relieved by the dismissal of Mr. Shokin, the prosecutor whose ouster Mr. Biden had sought, according to people familiar with the situation.

Mr. Shokin was not aggressively pursuing investigations into Mr. Zlochevsky or Burisma. But the oligarch’s allies say Mr. Shokin was using the threat of prosecution to try to solicit bribes from Mr. Zlochevsky and his team, and that left the oligarch’s team leery of dealing with the prosecutor.

Mr. Shokin was replaced by a prosecutor named Yuriy Lutsenko, whom former Vice President Biden later called “someone who was solid at the time.” Mr. Zlochevsky’s representatives were pleased by the choice, concluding they could work with Mr. Lutsenko to resolve the oligarch’s legal issues, according to the people familiar with the situation.

While Mr. Lutsenko initially took a hard line against Burisma, within 10 months after he took office, Burisma announced that Mr. Lutsenko and the courts had “fully closed” all “legal proceedings and pending criminal allegations” against Mr. Zlochevsky and his companies.

The oligarch, who had fled the country amid investigations by previous prosecutors, was removed by a Ukrainian court from “the wanted list,” and returned to the country.

This year, though, Mr. Lutsenko’s office moved to restart scrutiny of Mr. Zlochevsky.

The Times reported that Mr. Lutsenko had been communicating with Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, who has become a leading voice in accusing the Bidens of corruption. And allies of Mr. Biden and Mr. Zlochevsky accuse both Mr. Lutsenko and Mr. Giuliani of injecting politics into the equation.

Ukraine’s new government replaced Mr. Lutsenko last month.

0 Replies
Real Music
Reply Sun 17 Nov, 2019 05:36 pm

Former Ukraine prosecutor says Hunter Biden ‘did not violate anything’

Published September 26, 2019

KIEV, Ukraine — A former top Ukrainian prosecutor, whose allegations were at the heart of the dirt-digging effort by Rudolph W. Giuliani, said Thursday he believed that Hunter Biden did not run afoul of any laws in Ukraine.

“From the perspective of Ukrainian legislation, he did not violate anything,” former Ukrainian prosecutor general Yuri Lutsenko told The Washington Post in his first interview since the disclosure of a whistleblower complaint alleging pressure by President Trump on Ukraine’s president, Volodymr Zelensky.

Lutsenko’s comments about Hunter Biden — which echo what he told Bloomberg News in May — were significant, because Trump and his personal attorney Giuliani have sought to stir up suspicions about both Hunter and former vice president Joe Biden’s conduct in Ukraine in recent weeks. Joe Biden is leading Trump in many opinion polls ahead of the 2020 election.

Hunter Biden has denied any wrongdoing, and there is no evidence he was involved in any lawbreaking in his work in Ukraine with the country’s largest private gas company.

Lutsenko has been an elusive figure in recent weeks since stepping down from office in late August, but his conversations with Giuliani figure highly in both Giuliani’s own allegations about corruption in Ukraine and in the whistleblower complaint that was declassified Thursday.

“There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son,” Trump told Zelensky in a July 25 phone call, a rough transcript of which was released Wednesday.

According to the complaint, Trump in the call “praised Ukraine’s Prosecutor General, Mr. Yuriy Lutsenko, and suggested that Mr. Zelenskyy might want to keep him in his position.”

The rough transcript of the call released Wednesday by the White House did not mention a prosecutor general by name, and it was unclear from the transcript which official Trump was referring to.

Trump went on to tell Zelensky to be in touch with Giuliani and Attorney General William P. Barr and suggested that U.S. investigators could assist the Ukrainians to look into any wrongdoing.

But Lutsenko said he was not aware of any U.S. law enforcement officials coming to Ukraine to assist in any such probes while he was in office.

“No American groups came to Ukraine for an investigation” during Lutsenko’s tenure from May 2016 until late August.

Giuliani has alleged that Hunter Biden was involved in corruption during his nearly five years on the board of Burisma, the Ukrainian gas company.

Giuliani has not offered any evidence. Burisma’s owner came under scrutiny by Lutsenko’s predecessors for possible abuse of power and unlawful enrichment, but Hunter Biden was never accused of any wrongdoing in the investigation.

As vice president, Joe Biden pressured Ukraine to fire Lutsenko’s predecessor, Viktor Shokin, who Biden and other Western officials said was not sufficiently pursuing corruption cases. At the time, the investigation into Burisma was dormant, according to former Ukrainian and U.S. officials.

“Hunter Biden cannot be responsible for violations of the management of Burisma that took place two years before his arrival,” Lutsenko said.

Lutsenko had earlier cast doubt on Hunter Biden’s actions in Ukraine, an effort that drew Giuliani’s notice last year. Lutsenko said that Giuliani tried to arrange a meeting with him two times before they finally managed to connect on the third try in January,

“I took a vacation. I took my youngest son, I showed him New York and I met with Mr. Giuliani,” Lutsenko said. “I had a long conversation with him. But this was only in the forum of exchanging information.”

Lutsenko met with Giuliani again in Warsaw in mid-February, then for a third and final time “in Europe,” he said, refusing to be more specific.

Lutsenko did not fully explain the change of heart in May when he gave an interview to Bloomberg in which he said he believed Hunter Biden had not broken any Ukrainian laws.

But Lutsenko said that if U.S. authorities were separately interested in Hunter Biden’s financial arrangements in Ukraine, Ukrainian law enforcement officials would be happy to comply.

Trump and Giuliani have also alleged that Ukrainian officials intervened in the 2016 election to favor Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. Their complaints were fueled in part by Lutsenko’s own publicly alleged concerns, which he said he passed along in person to Giuliani over the course of three meetings.

“If we talk about Ukrainian collusion, I think that there were signs of this type of interference,” Lutsenko said, pointing to the appearance in August 2016 of a mysterious black ledger that appeared to detail secret Ukrainian government payments to Paul Manafort for his work as a consultant to former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych. The release of the ledger that month quickly forced Manafort to step down as Trump’s campaign chairman.

Ukrainian officials have denied any effort to help Clinton in the 2016 election.

Lutsenko had declined repeated requests for an interview in recent days. But on Thursday, a Kiev-based reporter saw Lutsenko in the lobby of a popular hotel in central Kiev. He entered the Premier Cigar Lounge of the hotel and had lunch. After he finished eating, reporters approached him, and although he said he had no time to talk, he kept answering questions for more than half an hour.

Lutsenko said that he planned to leave later Thursday for Britain, where he was going to spend a month studying English.

Reply Sun 17 Nov, 2019 05:41 pm
@Real Music,
Ukrainians say Trump is innocent too. Does that count too?
Real Music
Reply Sun 17 Nov, 2019 06:12 pm
Ukrainians say Trump is innocent too. Does that count too?

1. Are you referring to Trump pressuring, extorting, and bribing Ukraine to make up false accusations about Clinton and Biden?

2. Are you referring to Trump pressuring, extorting, and bribing Ukraine to go on television and falsely make claims of opening investigations into Biden and Clinton?

3. Are you referring to Trump pressuring, extorting, and bribing Ukraine to falsely assert that Ukraine was responsible for interfering in America's election and not Russia?
Finn dAbuzz
Reply Mon 18 Nov, 2019 03:01 pm
@Real Music,

The Left in America (including you) are displaying a mixture of ignorance and cynical distraction with all this nonsense about RUSSIA.

Where were you, Maddow and every other "liberal" when Obama and Clinton hit the laughable "Reset" button with RUSSIA? Where were you all when Obama, in response to RUSSIA invading Crimea sent Ukraine blankets and TV dinners? Where were you when Obama told Medvedev "Tell Vlad I will have more flexibility after the election?"

Meanwhile, China, not pissant Russia presents a real threat.

You hate Trump. Fine. I don't get it, but hey, hate whomever you want, but please stop this RUSSIA RUSSIA RUSSIA ****...espectially because your side has a terrible history of being useful idiots and traitors.
Reply Fri 29 Nov, 2019 09:14 am
@Real Music,
Not a single one which has any evidence. 900 lies about russia collusion, Benghazi, your Dr., white mexican Zimmerman, Russia hacking electrical grid, hands up don't shoot, ignoring real stories and facts when it comes to gun control (Like Mexico, El Salvador, Chicago all have the most restrictive gun control laws in the world and are the most dangerous, lies about emails (I HAVE DEALT WIT GOVERNMENT EMAIL SYSTEM FOR 30 YEARS AND HITLERY COMMITTED 110 FELONIES) and you still listen to the same lying liars. epitome of stupid liberal with TDS
Reply Fri 29 Nov, 2019 01:57 pm
I feel a lot of love in your post. Pinky will want to have sex with you
Reply Fri 29 Nov, 2019 01:59 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
I think you also dismissed trump and thought him a clown before the election. I men, you were right, but unfortunately old orange head is the guy in the white house.
0 Replies
Reply Fri 29 Nov, 2019 01:59 pm
I feel a lot of love in your post. Pinky will want to have sex with you

The lack of morals on the Left is only confirmed when a supposedly intelligent man says crap like that. It is predictable and petty.
Reply Fri 29 Nov, 2019 02:08 pm
Im just talking like our presient, why do you find it acceptable from him bit not from a Democrat??
Cause yer pissy whipped by Orange Face.
Reply Fri 29 Nov, 2019 02:16 pm
Im just talking like our presient,

That is an excuse? I do not care what he says I care about what he does. And if you wish to talk like a child I guess it is your business.
0 Replies

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