This morning, award-winning investigative journalist John Solomon reported at The Hill what could be an explosive story about potential collusion between American Democrats and Ukrainian nationals, including interference with the 2016 election and the obstruction of criminal investigations.
Kostiantyn Kulyk, deputy head of the Prosecutor General’s International Legal Cooperation Department, told me he and other senior law enforcement officials tried unsuccessfully since last year to get visas from the U.S. embassy in Kiev to deliver their evidence to Washington.
“We were supposed to share this information during a working trip to the United States,” Kulyk told me in a wide-ranging interview. “However, the (U.S.) ambassador blocked us from obtaining a visa. She didn’t explicitly deny our visa, but also didn’t give it to us.”
One focus of Ukrainian investigators, Kulyk said, has been money spirited unlawfully out of Ukraine and moved to the United States by businessmen friendly to the prior, pro-Russia regime of Viktor Yanukovych.
Ukrainian businessmen “authorized payments for lobbying efforts directed at the U.S. government,” he told me. “In addition, these payments were made from funds that were acquired during the money-laundering operation. We have information that a U.S. company was involved in these payments.” That company is tied to one or more prominent Democrats, Ukrainian officials insist.
In another instance, he said, Ukrainian authorities gathered evidence that money paid to an American Democrat allegedly was hidden by Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) during the 2016 election under pressure from U.S. officials. “In the course of this investigation, we found that there was a situation during which influence was exerted on the NABU, so that the name of (the American) would not be mentioned,” he said.
While this sounds like a potentially explosive story, according to Solomon, “Ukraine is infamous for corruption and disinformation operations,” and so “allegations emanating from Kiev usually are taken with a grain a salt.” However, this story may be different, Solomon says, because the allegations shared with him “by more than a half-dozen senior Ukrainian officials are supported by evidence that emerged in recent U.S. court filings and intelligence reports.” Evidence includes sworn statements from two Ukranian officials “admitting that their agency tried to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election in favor of Hillary Clinton,” and contacts between “Democratic figures in Washington and Ukrainian officials that involved passing along dirt on Donald Trump.”
There’s also a Biden connection to this story. Solomon claims to have financial records that show “a Ukrainian natural gas company routed more than $3 million to American accounts tied to Hunter Biden, younger son of then-Vice President Joe Biden, who managed U.S.-Ukrainian relations for the Obama administration.” Hunter Biden served on the board of Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian natural gas company, and according to records obtained by Solomon for his report, then-Vice President Joe Biden “pressured Ukrainian officials in March 2016 to fire the prosecutor who oversaw an investigation of Burisma Holdings and who planned to interview Hunter Biden about the financial transfers.”
Perhaps the most interesting part of the story is that the Ukranian officials with the evidence are trying to get U.S. officials to look into this, but their requests are falling on deaf ears.
“It’s like no one at DOJ is listening. There is some compelling evidence that should at least be looked at, evaluated, but the door seems shut at both State and Justice,” said an American who has been contacted for help and briefed on the evidence.
State Department officials declined to address whether they denied or slow-walked visas for Ukrainian officials. “Visa records are confidential under U.S. law; therefore, we cannot discuss the details of individual visa cases,” a department spokesperson said.
Ukraine’s evidence, if true, would mark the first documented allegation of Democrats receiving assistance from a foreign power in their efforts to help Clinton win the 2016 election.
“It looks like there is some evidence emerging that there could have been a proxy war between Russia and Ukraine to secure their preferred American president during the 2016 race,” said a former top intelligence official who now advises the Trump administration on intelligence policy.
Politico reported back in 2017 on evidence of Ukraine government officials working to undermine Trump and boost Clinton. The evidence Solomon claims to have is more than the evidence alleged to prove that Trump colluded with Russia, and yet we had a 22-month-long special counsel investigation on the Russian collusion nonsense, not the Ukrainian/Democrat collusion. “The only question is why the U.S. government so far hasn’t taken interest — and whether Attorney General Barr will change that,” says Solomon.
Matt Margolis is the author of The Scandalous Presidency of Barack Obama and the bestselling The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. His new book, Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy, will be published in 2019. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis