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Clinton and Poroshenko; Christopher Wary
Washington

Ukrainian meddling in US election in the spotlight

It seems the only presidential candidate whose campaign was boosted directly by a former Communist country, was Hillary Clinton. "Ukrainian government officials tried to help Hillary Clinton and undermine Trump by publicly questioning his fitness for office," Politico reported.

Published: July 13, 2017, 9:15 am

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    “They also disseminated documents implicating a top Trump aide in corruption and suggested they were investigating the matter, only to back away after the election. And they helped Clinton’s allies research damaging information on Trump and his advisers,” a Politico investigation revealed.

    The Ukrainian meddling in the US election is not a media headline but their nefarious involvement had a direct impact on the race, helping to force the resignation of one of Trump’s top campaign managers.

    In turn the Ukranian meddling helped to advance the narrative that Trump’s campaign was somehow “connected” to Russia, Ukraine’s foe to the east. Politico’s investigation found evidence of Ukrainian government involvement in the US presidential race beyond diplomatic protocol which dictates that governments refrain from engaging in one another’s elections.

    Meanwhile “Russian meddling”, instead of Ukrainian meddling, has sparked outrage from the American public. But as the real story begins to filter through, president Poroshenko is scrambling to limit the damage. He has reportedly signed $50 000-a-month contract with a well-connected GOP-linked Washington lobbying firm “to strengthen US-Ukrainian relations”.

    “Things seem to be going from bad to worse for Ukraine,” said David A. Merkel, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council who helped oversee US relations with Russia and Ukraine at the State Department and National Security Council.

    Merkel, who has served as an election observer in Ukrainian presidential elections dating back to 1993, noted there’s some irony in Ukraine and Russia taking opposite sides in the 2016 presidential race. “It seems that a US election may have been seen as a surrogate battle by those in Kiev and Moscow,” Merkel observed.

    “Ukraine seriously complicated the work of Trump’s election campaign headquarters by planting information according to which Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign chairman, allegedly accepted money from Ukrainian oligarchs,” Maria Zakharova said at a news briefing, according to a transcript of her remarks posted on the Foreign Ministry’s website.

    Ukraine’s ambassador to the US, Valeriy Chaly even publically raged against Donald Trump during the 2016 elections. Ukrainian officials see Trump’s presidency as an existential threat to their country, made worse they admit, by their meddling, their openly antagonistic social media posts and the proof that the embassy meddled with Trump’s bid.

    “It’s really bad. The [Poroshenko] administration right now is trying to re-coordinate communications,” said one official, adding, “The Trump organisation doesn’t want to talk to our administration at all.”

    Worse still, the FBI Director nominee Christopher Wray said he would be “happy to dig into” the ties between the DNC and Ukraine if confirmed, The Washington Examiner reported yesterday.

    Wray signaled a willingness to investigate allegations that the DNC worked with the Ukrainian government to impede Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016, during his confirmation hearing on Wednesday.

    If President Trump’s nominee for FBI director is confirmed by the Senate, the Ukrainian government officials as Politico noted, who had “helped Clinton’s allies research damaging information on Trump and his advisers,” would face dire consequences.

    The Senate Judiciary Committee questioned Wray during the confirmation hearing on the matter. Wray, 50, a former Justice Department official who went into private law practice, has been tapped by Trump to replace James Comey, which was fired on May 9.

    The report cited “people with direct knowledge of the situation” claiming that a “Ukrainian-American operative who was consulting for the DNC met with top officials in the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington in an effort to expose ties between Trump, top campaign aide Paul Manafort and Russia.”

    Benjamin Wittes, editor of the respected Lawfare blog, suggested that the allegations were serious: “If everyone is running around with the assumption that it’s illegitimate to work with a foreign government in a campaign, then it’s perfectly fair to ask what was the relationship between the Clinton campaign and the Ukrainians,” Wittes said.

    “If you’re looking for an example of a campaign coordinating with a foreign country or a foreign source, look no further than the DNC, who actually coordinated opposition research with the Ukrainian Embassy,” White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on Monday.

    A Trump White House aide, Sebastian Gorka, told CNN on Tuesday that the DNC was “sending its people to the Ukrainian embassy to coordinate oppo attacks against our candidate. If you want to see collusion, it’s in the DNC,” Gorka said. “I mean it is up to their necks.”

    Other allegations regarding the DNC’s interactions with Ukraine also resurfaced this week, as more evidence points to a DNC inside job and not “Russian hacking” as the Democrats and some Republicans have tried to maintain.

    According to Disobedient Media, new meta-analysis has emerged from a document published today by an independent researcher known as The Forensicator, which suggests that files were likely initially downloaded by a person with physical access to a computer possibly connected to the internal network of the Democratic Part campaign. The individual most likely used a USB drive to copy the information.

    “The groundbreaking new analysis irrevocably destroys the Russian hacking narrative, and calls the actions of Crowdstrike and the DNC into question,” the report stated. Analysis indicates the data was almost certainly not accessed initially by a remote hacker, much less one in Russia.

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