In July 2017, then-White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters, “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.”
Indeed they did. And pro-Clinton Ukrainian-American lawyer and activist Alexandra Chalupa, a former DNC operative, led the charge.
Republican Sens. Charles Grassley (IA), Ron Johnson (WI) and Lindsey Graham (SC), the chairmen of the Senate Finance, Homeland Security and Judiciary Committees, respectively, announced on Friday they are seeking records from Chalupa and former diplomatic official Andrii Telizhenko and more importantly, all “transcribed staff-led interviews” between Ukrainian Embassy officials and the two. A joint statement from the Senators said that Chalupa and Telizhenko were “reportedly involved in an effort by Ukrainian embassy officials to undermine the Trump campaign in the 2016 election.”
Sen. Grassley first launched an inquiry in July 2017 via a letter written to then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein which can be viewed here. The senators stated the request is a continuation of this inquiry. Grassley wrote:
According to news reports, during the 2016 presidential election, “Ukrainian government officials tried to help Hillary Clinton and undermine Trump” and did so by “disseminat[ing] documents implicating a top Trump aide [Manafort] in corruption and suggested they were investigating the matter…” Ukrainian officials also reportedly “helped Clinton’s allies research damaging information on Trump and his advisers.” At the center of this plan was Alexandra Chalupa, described by reports as a Ukrainian-American operative “who was consulting for the Democratic National Committee” and reportedly met with Ukrainian officials during the presidential election for the express purpose of exposing alleged ties between then-candidate Donald Trump, Paul Manafort, and Russia. Politico also reported on a Financial Times story that quoted a Ukrainian legislator, Serhiy Leschenko, saying that Trump’s candidacy caused “Kiev’s wider political leadership to do something they would never have attempted before: intervene, however indirectly, in a U.S. election.”
According to an announcement of the request which appears on Sen. Grassley’s website:
The interview and records requests are a continuation of an inquiry that Grassley launched in 2017 following news reports that a Democratic National Committee consultant solicited derogatory information on the Trump campaign from Ukrainian embassy officials prior to the 2016 election According to those reports, elements of the Ukrainian government were actively working to undermine candidate Trump’s electoral prospects in favor of Hillary Clinton.
In addition to the production of relevant records, Johnson, Grassley and Graham are requesting staff-led transcribed interviews with then-DNC consultant Alexandra Chalupa, who reportedly solicited damaging information on Trump campaign associates and lobbied Congress to launch a congressional investigation months before the election. They are also seeking a similar interview with Andrii Telizhenko, a political officer within the Ukrainian embassy at the time. According to reports, Telizhenko was ordered to assist in an off-the-books investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia he said was being coordinated between Ukrainian officials and “the Hillary team.” That investigation included then-Trump campaign advisor Paul Manafort’s prior business dealings in the region. A CBS News analysis of the reported arrangement noted that “it’s deeply unusual for an American campaign to be working with foreign assets like this, regardless of whether it’s Ukraine or Russia.”
In January 2017, the left leaning website Politico published an article entitled “Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump backfire.” It was written by Kenneth Vogel (who now writes for the New York Times) and David Stern. It was a lengthy piece which detailed the efforts of Ukrainian officials to influence the 2016 election. And Chalupa was the star of the show. She hated Manafort for his role in the re-election of pro-Russian Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in 2010 and his subsequent work for the pro-Russian party in Ukraine.
According to Politico, Chalupa had worked as a consultant for the DNC and for Democratic politicians including several Clinton campaign officials. Between 2004 and 2016, she had earned $412,000 from the DNC, but left to focus on researching or rather “destroying” Manafort. Chalupa had “watched him since 2014.” The article also cites Chalupa’s numerous efforts to crush candidate Donald Trump.
In his book “Spygate,” investigator Dan Bongino wrote:
The moment Manafort joined the Trump team, Chalupa alerted the DNC of the “threat” of Russian influence. Chalupa’s sister, Andrea, spread the word on a Ukrainian television show calling Manafort’s hiring a “huge deal” and describing him as the “puppet master of some of the most vile dictators around the world.” His hiring, she said sent a “very, very, very, very, very serious warning bell going off.” This fear was rooted in the belief that Manafort was the mastermind behind Yanukovych’s corruption.
Chalupa was a woman on a mission. She had devoted herself full-time to the business of destroying Manafort and Trump. Determined to broadcast her message to the world, she began by enlisting the help of journalists. Yahoo News’ Michael Isikoff came on board and began writing a series of articles which portrayed both Manafort and the Trump campaign in a rather nefarious light. Her strategy was quite effective.
This article continues to be cited by many in the conservative media (myself included) as evidence that a group of Ukrainians conspired to help Hillary Clinton win the race. It is a long slog, but it will give you a good understanding of what went on in 2016. It can be read here.
Nellie Ohr, who worked as a contractor for Fusion GPS in 2016 digging up dirt on Trump, his family and associates, testified before Congress in October 2018. She told lawmakers that one of her sources had been Serhiy Leshchenko, then the acting Ukrainian Prosecutor General. Leshchenko had famously held a press conference in Kiev in August 2016 where he revealed the “black ledger file.” Leshchenko told reporters that “the information was obtained by an anonymous source in the burned-out ruins of the headquarters of Yanukoych’s party.” (Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s government was overthrown during the Ukrainian Revolution and he fled the country in February 2014.) The ledger listed approximately $12 million of payments allegedly made to Paul Manafort by the Ukrainian Party of Regions several years earlier. Manafort had previously worked as a political adviser for the pro-Putin Yanukovych. Although the ledger’s authenticity had not been determined, Manafort was forced to resign from Trump’s campaign and shortly afterward, his legal woes began. Additionally, it gave credence to the Democrats’ new narrative that the Trump campaign was colluding with the Russians to win the election.
In October, Glenn Beck released an audiotape of the former Director of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU), Artem Sytnyk, admitting he “helped” Hillary during the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Sytnyk was convicted for election interference in December 2018 in Kiev. The court ruled that the publication of the “black ledger” documents “led to interference in the electoral processes of the United States in 2016 and harmed the interests of Ukraine as a state.”
On the tape, he tells his friends, “Kolya” and “Ivan,” that “I was in charge of the investigation of their “black accounting” records. We made the [sic] Manafort’s data available to general public.” I have added a transcript of the tape at the bottom of the page.
Although Democrats have tried to debunk Republicans’ claims that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election, there seems to be an increasing amount of evidence that says otherwise. And Alexandra Chalupa is right there in the middle of it.
Here is a transcript of the tape. Scroll down for the audiotape (Sytnyk’s conversation begins at 4:00).
Kolya: Did they, those Russians, help Trump? Your people?
Sytnyk: I think they did. Yeah. I helped him, too. Not him, but Hillary. I helped her.
Kolya: Yeah. Right. Then her position tottered, right?
Sytnyk: Well, this is how they write about it, right.
Ivan: Hillary’s humanitarian aid … [indiscernible.]
Kolya: Well, I’m about … the commentaries. At the time, we were not [indiscernible.]
Sytnyk: Trump … his purely inner problem … issue … they dominate over the external matters. While Hillary, she is — how shall I put it? She belongs to the cohort of politicians who comprise the hegemony in the US. Both in the US and the entire world, right? For us, it’s … sort of … better. For Americans … what Trump is doing is better for them.
Kolya: Well, we have lots of those American experts here now … [indiscernible.]
Sytnyk: Well, there, you see why Hillary lost the elections? I was in charge of the investigation of their “black accounting” records. We made the Manafort’s data available to general public.
Kolya: So what?
Sytnyk: He was imprisoned. Manafort then was the head of the Supreme Headquarter of Trump, right? Then he was dismissed, too, including due to the “black accounting.” After that, he was sentenced to 80 years of imprisonment term. How about Trump? Did he not give a s***. They have their system working there and it works smoothly.
Kolya: Everybody worked smoothly there.
Sytnyk: And when they carried out the elections, a week before the elections, the FBI reopened the investigation in respect of Hillary. So her rating dropped for 7 percent and that’s why Trump managed to win the elections at a pinch.
I’m still unable to understand why he’s fighting with the FBI. They try to catch him on the hand. If it were not the FBI, he would not have won the elections. They torpedoed Hillary’s ratings for 7 percent.