Ukrainian embassy confirms DNC operative solicited dirt on Trump to build collusion narrative, report says

The Ukrainian Embassy in Washington is confirming political meddling in the 2016 U.S. election, but it wasn’t by Republicans.

A Democratic National Committee insider allegedly tried to get the help of Moscow’s neighbor in digging up dirt on  Donald Trump’s campaign chairman, going as far as soliciting the help of the country’s president, according to a report in The Hill by John Solomon.

(Photo by Brendan SMIALOWSKI / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Ukraine’s embassy in Washington revealed that DNC contractor Alexandra Chalupa tried to help Hillary Clinton’s campaign by searching for compromising information about Paul Manafort and his dealings in the country, asking the Ukrainian government for help.

Attempts were also made by Chalupa to enlist the help of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on a U.S. visit during the 2016 campaign, in the hopes of getting him to comment on Manafort’s Russian ties, written answers to questions directed to Ambassador Valeriy Chaly’s office revealed.

Chaly noted that the embassy found the request inappropriate and refused to help Chalupa, who was considered a Ukrainian-American activist as they were unaware of any ties to the DNC.

“The Embassy got to know Ms. Chalupa because of her engagement with Ukrainian and other diasporas in Washington D.C., and not in her DNC capacity. We’ve learned about her DNC involvement later,” Chaly said in a statement. “We were surprised to see Alexandra’s interest in Mr. Paul Manafort’s case. It was her own cause. The Embassy representatives unambiguously refused to get involved in any way, as we were convinced that this is a strictly U.S. domestic matter.

“All ideas floated by Alexandra were related to approaching a Member of Congress with a purpose to initiate hearings on Paul Manafort or letting an investigative journalist ask President Poroshenko a question about Mr. Manafort during his public talk in Washington, D.C.,” the ambassador said. Manafort resigned as Trump’s campaign chairman in 2016 amid the efforts, eventually facing criminal prosecution on fraud and conspiracy charges.

In the op-ed for The Hill, Solomon noted that Chalupa was reached by phone last week but “said she was too busy to talk. She did not respond to email and phone messages seeking subsequent comment.”

Solomon’s piece detailed the involvement of parliamentarian Serhiy Leshchenko and of Nellie Ohr, wife of senior U.S. Justice Department official Bruce Ohr, who worked for the Clinton-hired research firm Fusion GPS. She is now the subject of a criminal referral sent to the Justice Department on Wednesday.

Solomon also noted how the Obama White House invited Ukrainian law enforcement officials for a meeting in January 2016, sparking solicitations for help in investigating Manafort, and ultimately having Ukrainians leak documents in May 2016.

“No documents related to Trump campaign or any individuals involved in the campaign have been passed to Ms. Chalupa or the DNC neither from the Embassy nor via the Embassy. No documents exchange was even discussed,” Chaly said in his statement.

Solomon pointed out that the DNC paid Chalupa’s firm, Chalupa & Associates, $71,918 during the 2016 election cycle, according to FEC records.

According to Solomon in The Hill report:

But Andrii Telizhenko, a former political officer who worked under Chaly from December 2015 through June 2016, told me he was instructed by the ambassador and his top deputy to meet with Chalupa in March 2016 and to gather whatever dirt Ukraine had in its government files about Trump and Manafort.

Telizhenko said that, when he was told by the embassy to arrange the meeting, both Chaly and the ambassador’s top deputy identified Chalupa “as someone working for the DNC and trying to get Clinton elected.”

After the meeting, Telizhenko said he became concerned about the legality of using his country’s assets to help an American political party win an U.S. election. But he proceeded with his assignment.

 

“She said the DNC wanted to collect evidence that Trump, his organization and Manafort were Russian assets, working to hurt the U.S. and working with Putin against the U.S. interests. She indicated if we could find the evidence they would introduce it in Congress in September and try to build a case that Trump should be removed from the ballot, from the election,” he said.

Telizhenko reportedly turned over any intelligence he collected directly to Chaly, telling the ambassador that “what we were doing was illegal, that it was unethical doing this as diplomats.”

“Though Chaly and Telizhenko disagree on what Ukraine did after it got Chalupa’s request, they confirm that a paid contractor of the DNC solicited their government’s help to find dirt on Trump that could sway the 2016 election,” Solomon concluded.

“For a Democratic Party that spent more than two years building the now-disproven theory that Trump colluded with Russia to hijack the 2016 election, the tale of the Ukrainian embassy in Washington feels just like a speeding political boomerang,” he added.

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Frieda Powers

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