Tuesday, October 08, 2019

The Murphy Intervention: Who Corrupted Ukraine?

The story was titled Murphy ‘Country should be scared’ of Republican partisanship over Ukraine.” The story was an accurate review of U. S. Senator Chris Murphy’s appearance on Meet the Press early in October.

Murphy was meeting the press to “push back” at “Republican critics of the impending House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump’s phone call with the president of Ukraine.” Murphy admonished, “This entire country should be scared that at a moment when we need patriots, what we are getting is blind partisan loyalty.”

The interviewer, a cringingly sympathetic Chuck Todd, did not remind Murphy in his interview that, during a trip to Ukraine with Republican U.S.  Senator Ron Johnson, Murphy also had intervened in an on again off again Ukrainian investigation of the country’s natural gas producer, Burisma and, inescapably, Democrat candidate for president  Joe Biden’s roll in firing a prosecutor whose investigation of Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, had been dormant two years before Hunter was hired by Burisma at $50,000 per month, largely for being the Vice President’s son. In a later interview with Murphy's companion in Ukraine, GOP Senator Ron Johnson, Todd got some well deserved push-back.

According to an piece in The Hill written by John Solomon that names names and pointedly does not rely on anonymous sources or "whistle blower" complaints, Let's get real: Democrats were first to enlist Ukraine in US elections,” the presumed corruption of Ukraine by Trump has an extensive  pre-history. It always takes two to corrupt, and the first corrupter out of the gate, Solomon reminds us, was the Obama administration.

“As early as January 2016,” Solomon writes, “the Obama White House unexpectedly invited Ukraine’s top prosecutors to Washington to discuss fighting corruption in the country.” The meeting, passed off as a training exercise, was in fact “a pretext for the Obama administration to pressure Ukraine’s prosecutors to drop an investigation into the Burisma Holdings gas company that employed Hunter Biden and to look for new evidence in a then-dormant criminal case against eventual Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, a GOP lobbyist.”

Solomon quotes “Andrii Telizhenko, the former political officer in the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington who organized and attended the meetings” to this effect: “U.S. officials ‘kept talking about how important it was that all of our anti-corruption efforts be united.’” And Ukraine’s chief anti-corruption prosecutor Nazar Kholodnytsky told Solomon that “soon after he returned from the Washington meeting, he saw evidence in Ukraine of political meddling in the U.S. election. That's when two top Ukrainian officials released secret evidence to the American media, smearing Manafort,” the Connecticut native dismissed from the Trump presidential campaign. “A Ukrainian court,” Solomon tells us “concluded last December that the release of the evidence amounted to an unlawful intervention in the U.S. election by Kiev’s government, although that ruling has since been overturned on a technicality.”

In March 2016, “a contractor for the Democratic National Committee (DNC) pressed his embassy to try to find any Russian dirt on Trump and Manafort that might reside in Ukraine’s intelligence files,” then Ukrainian ambassador to the United States Valeriy Chaly confided to Solomon. “The DNC contractor also asked Chaly's team to try to persuade Ukraine’s president at the time, pro-Russian Petro Poroshenko, to make a statement disparaging Manafort when the Ukrainian leader visited the United States during the 2016 election. Chaly said his embassy rebuffed both requests because it recognized they were improper efforts to get a foreign government to try to influence the election against Trump and for Hillary Clinton.”

Murphy was performing a useful partisan service when, during a recent visit with Ukraine’s new and as yet uncorrupted President Volodymyr Zelensky, Connecticut’s Junior Senator “made clear — by his own account — that Ukraine currently enjoyed bipartisan support for its U.S. aid but that could be jeopardized if the new president acquiesced to requests by President Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani to investigate past corruption allegations involving Americans, including former Vice President Joe Biden’s family (links original).”

At present, there are only two kinds of interventionists in Ukraine: a party of maximum disclosure, and a party of highly edited minimum disclosure. One group, led by Connecticut U.S. Attorney John Durham, wants to peel back the “Russian collusion” onion and make public what this columnist elsewhere has called the “prequel to the Mueller investigation” which, after two long years of blaring anti-Trump headlines, found there was no provable collusion between Trump and President of Russia Vladimir Putin. The Durham investigatory effort embraces much more than the Biden intervention in Ukraine. The second group wants to smother the Durham investigation by over-layering it with news of a secret impeachment investigation designed to create a plausible narrative -- salacious parts of which will be leaked to favored left of center news outlets --  that would overshadow any richly researched detailed findings of the Durham report. 

And Ukraine – always in danger of Putin predations -- is simply the canary in this political explosive mine shaft.

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