September 28, 2019


How a Shadow Foreign Policy in Ukraine Prompted Impeachment Inquiry (Kenneth P. Vogel, Andrew E. Kramer and David E. Sanger, Sept. 28, 2019, NY Times)

In the months before the steps taken in March on the politically explosive investigations sought by Mr. Trump, Mr. Giuliani had met at least twice with the man who would become a central figure in his efforts and a target of criticism in both countries: Mr. Lutsenko, 54, Ukraine's top prosecutor.

First at a meeting in New York and later in Warsaw, Mr. Giuliani pushed Mr. Lutsenko for information about -- and investigations into -- a pair of cases of keen interest to his client.

They included the Bidens' activities in Ukraine and the release during the 2016 campaign of incriminating records about Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump's campaign chairman. Mr. Giuliani said early this year he had become increasingly convinced that the Manafort records were doctored and disseminated by critics of Mr. Trump to sabotage his campaign, and later used to spur the special counsel's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

No evidence supports this idea and Mr. Manafort's own retroactive filings under the Foreign Agent Registration Act corroborated the Ukrainian documents, which also matched financial records in the United States.

Still, it was not long before Mr. Trump, sensitive to any questions about the legitimacy of his 2016 victory, began echoing Mr. Giuliani's language about what they viewed as the Ukrainian origins of the Russia investigation.

But Mr. Trump and Mr. Giuliani had also taken a growing interest in the role played by Mr. Biden, as vice president, in the dismissal of a previous Ukrainian prosecutor who had oversight of investigations into an oligarch who had served in a previous Ukrainian government and whose company had employed Hunter Biden. No evidence has surfaced that the former vice president intentionally tried to help his son by pressing for the dismissal of that prosecutor, whose ouster was being sought by other Western governments and institutions concerned about corruption in the Ukrainian government.

In their first meeting, in January, Mr. Lutsenko later told people, Mr. Giuliani called Mr. Trump and excitedly briefed him on the discussions. And once Mr. Lutsenko's office took procedural steps to advance investigations involving the Manafort records and the oligarch linked to Hunter Biden, Mr. Giuliani, Mr. Trump and their allies aggressively promoted stories about the developments to conservative journalists at home, further turning a foreign government's action to the president's advantage.

"As Russia Collusion fades, Ukrainian plot to help Clinton emerges," Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter in March, echoing the headline of one of the first such pieces by a Trump-friendly journalist.

The symbiotic relationship between Donald and the bubble is a wonder to behold. 

Posted by at September 28, 2019 5:40 PM