Found: Ukrainian link to Fusion GPS and the Russia dossier

A May 2016 memo obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation shows a Ukrainian link to Fusion GPS, which was paid by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary Clinton’s campaign to commission the dossier which instigated the Trump-Russia hoax.

The memo provided to Fusion GPS “could help settle an enduring mystery about how a Ukrainian lawmaker served as a source for the opposition research firm, which investigated Donald Trump and his campaign” on behalf of the DNC and Clinton campaign, the Daily Caller noted in a Nov. 19 report.

Serhiy Leshchenko

The memo cited information from multiple Ukrainian sources regarding one-time Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort.

One of the sources named in the document obtained by the Daily Caller is Serhiy Leshchenko, a former Ukrainian journalist who served in 2016 as a member of the Rada, Ukraine’s parliament.

Throughout the Democrats’ push to impeach Trump, Republicans have questioned whether Leshchenko and others in the Ukrainian government meddled in the 2016 U.S. election.

On Aug. 28, 2016, the Financial Times characterized Leshchenko and other Ukrainian government officials as being motivated to “intervene” in the U.S. election in order to prevent Trump’s election.

“The prospect of Trump, who has praised Ukraine’s arch-enemy Vladimir Putin, becoming leader of the country’s biggest ally has spurred not just Leshchenko but Kiev’s wider political leadership to do something they would never have attempted before: intervene, however indirectly, in a U.S. election,” the article stated.

Leshchenko was quoted as saying of Trump: “For me, it was important to show not only the corruption aspect, but that he is [a] pro-Russian candidate who can break the geopolitical balance in the world.”

Leshchenko also said a majority of Ukrainian lawmakers were “on Hillary Clinton’s side.”

The Daily Caller News Foundation reported that it obtained the memo “from a source who has conducted research for Fusion GPS and said the document was provided to the firm. Metadata for the memo shows that it was drafted May 12, 2016.”

The memo’s author, the report said, described meeting with Leshchenko, and suggested the Ukrainian could be used as a potential conduit to publicize information about Manafort.

“It should be noted that Leshchenko regularly advocates on anti-corruption matters and cooperates with various [non-governmental organizations] to that end, so he could potentially be a good conduit for publicizing information,” reads the memo.

The author also suggested the “potential dissemination of information to or through Leshchenko.”

Republican lawmakers have raised questions about Leshchenko’s possible links to Fusion GPS, citing October 2018 congressional testimony by former Fusion contractor Nellie Ohr.

“They were giving me some information that had originated with [Leshchenko] in some way,” testified Ohr, who was a researcher for Fusion GPS from October 2015 through September 2016.

Leshchenko denied he wittingly provided information to Fusion GPS.

The memo “could explain the gap between Ohr’s testimony and Leshchenko’s insistence that he was not a Fusion GPS source,” the Daily Caller said.

“Maybe (or maybe not) people from Fusion GPS represented themselves differently, as political consultants or smth [sic] like that,” Leshchenko told the DCNF in an October email.

The Daily Caller noted that, on May 31, 2016, weeks after the memo was drafted, Leshchenko first revealed the so-called “black ledger” financial documents that purported to show off-the-books cash payments made by the Party of Regions, the party that supported former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych. Manafort was a consultant for Yanukovych from 2004 through 2014, when the notoriously corrupt politician was deposed from office.

Manafort was linked to the black ledger months later. On Aug. 15, 2016, The New York Times broke the story that the documents showed 22 payments totaling $12.7 million to Manafort between 2007 and 2012.

Leshchenko held another press conference to publicize the revelation.

“I believe and understand the basis of these payments are totally against the law — we have the proof from these books,” he said at a press conference in Kiev on Aug. 19, 2016. “If Mr. Manafort denies any allegations, I think he has to be interrogated into this case and prove his position that he was not involved in any misconduct on the territory of Ukraine.”

Manafort denied receiving the off-the-books payments, but was nonetheless fired from the Trump campaign. He was convicted in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation on money laundering and tax charges related to income from his Ukraine work, though the black ledger was not introduced as evidence at his trial.

Whether Leshchenko was ever used as a “conduit” as the memo author suggested is also unclear, the Daily Caller noted.

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