The Ukrainian Embassy confirmed recently that a Democratic National Committee contractor had asked for dirt on former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort during the election in order to help Hillary Clinton, according to a recent bombshell report from The Hill.
Ukrainian Ambassador Valeriy Chaly’s office told The Hill that DNC contractor Alexandra Chalupa sought information from Ukraine on Paul Manafort’s dealings inside the country in hopes of forcing the issue before Congress. She also tried to have then-Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko comment on Manafort during a visit there in 2016.
Chaly said the embassy knew Chalupa in her role as a Ukrainian-American activist, learned only later of her ties to the DNC, and rejected her requests because he thought it was not appropriate to interfere in the U.S. election.
“The Embassy got to know Ms. Chalupa because of her engagement with Ukrainian and other diasporas in Washington D.C., and not in her DNC capacity. We’ve learned about her DNC involvement later,” Chaly said in a statement.
“We were surprised to see Alexandra’s interest in Mr. Paul Manafort’s case. It was her own cause. The Embassy representatives unambiguously refused to get involved in any way, as we were convinced that this is a strictly U.S. domestic matter,” he added.
“All ideas floated by Alexandra were related to approaching a Member of Congress with a purpose to initiate hearings on Paul Manafort or letting an investigative journalist ask President Poroshenko a question about Mr. Manafort during his public talk in Washington, D.C.,” he said.
The ambassador’s statement comes several months after a Ukrainian court ruled that an anti-corruption body closely aligned with the U.S. Embassy in Kiev and a parliamentarian named Serhiy Leshchenko wrongly interfered in the U.S. election by releasing documents about Manafort, according to The Hill.
Leshchenko provided the dirt to Fusion GPS, according to Nellie Ohr, the wife of senior Justice Department official Bruce Ohr. She told Congress in a closed hearing that while she was working for Fusion GPS, she learned that Leshchenko was providing dirt to the research firm.
Fusion GPS was paid by the Clinton campaign and the DNC to do opposition research on then-candidate Donald Trump.
The Hill has also previously reported that the Obama White House invited Ukrainian law enforcement officials to a meeting in January 2016, in addition to Chalupa’s efforts.
“The meeting led to U.S. requests to the Ukrainians to help investigate Manafort, setting in motion a series of events that led to the Ukrainians leaking the documents about Manafort in May 2016,” The Hill reported.
FEC records reportedly show that Chalupa’s firm, Chalupa & Associates, was paid $71,918 by the DNC during the 2016 election cycle.
Chaly denies that they provided Chalupa any information. “No documents related to Trump campaign or any individuals involved in the campaign have been passed to Ms. Chalupa or the DNC neither from the Embassy nor via the Embassy. No documents exchange was even discussed,” he said in his statement.
A former subordinate of Chaly’s, Andrii Telizhenko, during that time told The Hill that he was instructed by the ambassador to meet with Chalupa in March 2016 to gather dirt about Trump and Manafort.
He also said that the ambassador referred to Chalupa as “someone working for the DNC and trying to get Clinton elected.” Telizhenko also met with Chalupa over lunch.
“She said the DNC wanted to collect evidence that Trump, his organization and Manafort were Russian assets, working to hurt the U.S. and working with Putin against the U.S. interests. She indicated if we could find the evidence they would introduce it in Congress in September and try to build a case that Trump should be removed from the ballot, from the election,” he said.
Telizhenko said he was concerned about the legality of fulfilling the request but did so anyway. He said during his research, he learned that Fusion GPS was seeking similar information and that he believed they were working for the Democrats.
According to The Hill:
As a former aide inside the general prosecutor’s office in Kiev, Telizhenko used contacts with intelligence, police and prosecutors across the country to secure information connecting Russian figures to assistance on some of the Trump organization’s real estate deals overseas, including a tower in Toronto.
Telizhenko said he did not want to provide the intelligence he collected directly to Chalupa, and instead handed the materials to Chaly: ‘I told him what we were doing was illegal, that it was unethical doing this as diplomats.’ He said the ambassador told him he would handle the matter and had opened a second channel back in Ukraine to continue finding dirt on Trump.
Telizhenko said he also was instructed by his bosses to meet with an American journalist researching Manafort’s ties to Ukraine.
Telizhenko said his relationship with the ambassador soured and by June 2016, he was sent back to Ukraine. He said he reported his concerns about the embassy’s contact with the Democrats to the former prosecutor general’s office and officials in the Poroshenko administration.
“Everybody already knew what was going on and told me it had been approved at the highest levels,” he said. He said he never was able to confirm whether the information he collected for Chalupa was delivered to her, the DNC or the Clinton campaign.
Meanwhile, Chalupa reportedly began a campaign tying Manafort and Trump to Russia.
She allegedly attended an international symposium in April 2016 where she met with 68 Ukrainian investigative journalists to talk about Manafort, and she nvited Yahoo News reporter Michael Isikoff to attend. He would later write stories tying Manafort to Ukraine and Trump to Russia and wrote a book that advanced the Russian collusion narrative.
Chalupa reported her meeting with the Ukrainian journalists back to a top DNC official on May 3, 2016, according to The Hill.
“A lot more coming down the pipe,” she wrote. “More offline tomorrow since there is a big Trump component you and Lauren need to be aware of that will hit in next few weeks and something I’m working on you should be aware of.”
Weeks later, a “black ledger” identifying payments to Manafort was announced in Ukraine, forcing Manafort to resign as Trump’s campaign chairman.
Chaly over the years has tried to portray his role as Ukraine’s ambassador in Washington as one of neutrality during the 2016 election. But in August 2016,he raised eyebrows in some diplomatic circles when he wrote an op-ed in The Hill skewering Trump for some of his comments on Russia. “Trump’s comments send wrong message to world,” Chaly’s article blared in the headline.
Chaly also wrote an op-ed for The Hill in August 2016 criticizing Trump, but he said it was because its op-ed team solicited his opinion. The office also said Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko met with then-candidate Clinton in September 2016.
The reported accounts would confirm that Chalupa, a paid DNC contractor, solicited Ukraine’s help to find dirt on Trump — ironically what Democrats have accused the Trump campaign of doing.
On Friday, Chalupa called for the president to be impeached:
— Alexandra Chalupa (@AlexandraChalup) May 4, 2019