Politico’s flip-flop on Ukraine political assistance

Politico is so anxious to destroy President Donald Trump’s presidency that it has contradicted itself. On October 18, 2019, Politico’s Quint Forgey wrote:

In a whirlwind 40-minute news conference, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said the U.S. aid [to Ukraine] was withheld at least in part because of a request to have Ukraine investigate unfounded allegations that foreign countries assisted Democrats in the 2016 election.

Therefore, Politico now labels the “allegations that foreign countries assisted Democrats in the 2016 election” as “unfounded.” However, on January 11, 2017, Politico published an article by Kenneth P. Vogel and David Stern which stated:

Ukrainian government officials tried to help Hillary Clinton and undermine Trump by publicly questioning his fitness for office. They also disseminated documents implicating a top Trump aide in corruption and suggested they were investigating the matter, only to back away after the election. And they helped Clinton’s allies research damaging information on Trump and his advisers, a Politico investigation found.

A Ukrainian-American operative who was consulting for the Democratic National Committee met with top officials in the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington in an effort to expose ties between Trump, top campaign aide Paul Manafort and Russia, according to people with direct knowledge of the situation.

The Ukrainian efforts had an impact in the race, helping to force Manafort’s resignation and advancing the narrative that Trump’s campaign was deeply connected to Ukraine’s foe to the east, Russia. But they were far less concerted or centrally directed than Russia’s alleged hacking and dissemination of Democratic emails.

Politico needs to tell us which of its stories is false and which is true. If I had to guess, I would say that the earlier article is true because it contains plausible details and is consistent with this report by John Solomon of The Hill who wrote an article on May 16, 2019 stating:

A Ukrainian court last December ruled that [Ukrainian parliament member Serhiy] Leshchenko and the head of the country’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) — an investigative agency modeled on America’s FBI — both illegally meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential election by leaking financial documents that smeared then-Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort.

The documents, known as “the black ledger,” identified payments Manafort secretly received from a Russian-backed political party in Ukraine years earlier and led to Manafort’s abrupt resignation from the Trump campaign. He eventually pleaded guilty to lobbying and tax violations and is in prison.

The court ruling against Leshchenko was an extraordinary admission of foreign government influence on America’s last presidential election. But it wasn’t Leshchenko’s only intrusion into American politics, apparently.

Sworn testimony released a few weeks ago by Congress revealed Leshchenko also was “a source” of Russian dirt on Trump that was fed to Hillary Clinton’s opposition research firm, Fusion GPS, the firm that created the so-called Steele dossier that led to a two-year Russia probe that recently cleared Donald Trump of colluding with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Politico’s editors and its reporter Quint Forgey have some explaining to do.

Date of Poltico article by Vogel corrected.

Allan J. Favish is an attorney in Los Angeles.  His website is allanfavish.com.  James Fernald and Mr. Favish have co-authored a book about what might happen if the government ran Disneyland, entitled "Fireworks! If the Government Ran the Fairest Kingdom of Them All (A Very Unauthorized Fantasy).

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