Impeachment Be Damned: In Ukraine And US, The Hunt For Dirt Continues

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 12: Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani speaks to reporters at Trump Tower, January 12, 2017 in New York City. President-elect Trump continues to hold meetings Trump Tower. (Photo by Drew ... NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 12: Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani speaks to reporters at Trump Tower, January 12, 2017 in New York City. President-elect Trump continues to hold meetings Trump Tower. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images) MORE LESS

Even as the impeachment inquiry gains momentum, Ukrainians who stand to benefit from probes into discredited allegations about the Bidens and the 2016 election have not stopped pushing for investigations.

Andrii Telizhenko, a former Ukrainian diplomat who has peddled allegations of Ukrainian interference in the 2016 elections to help the Democrats, met with Rudy Giuliani in New York City — last week.

Telizhenko told TPM Thursday that he had decided to “pay [his] respects to the former mayor of New York City Rudy Giuliani” while in the big apple.

He told TPM that the two discussed the world series, as well as U.S.-Ukraine relations.

When asked whether that encompassed strategy surrounding the impeachment inquiry, Telizhenko reiterated that the focus of their discussion was “politics.”

Telizhenko, who served at Ukraine’s embassy in Washington for six months at the age of 26, has claimed he was personally deputized by Ukraine’s then-ambassador to support efforts to help the Clinton campaign.

Though it’s unclear from Telizhenko’s comments whether Giuliani pressed him for information about allegations of supposed collusion between the DNC and the government in Kyiv — allegations the President has seized on — Telizhenko himself has continued to push the accusations and to demand inquiries.

At the center of the unsupported theory put forth by Telizhenko, in which Ukraine’s embassy in Washington coordinated with the DNC to smear Manafort, is Valeriy Chaly, Ukraine’s former ambassador to the United States who served from 2015 until September 2019. Telizhenko has repeatedly said, without evidence, that he worked for Chaly and Chaly asked him to help the DNC in the 2016 election.

Chaly, for his part, recently said that people had tried to remove him from his post “three times” because of his opposition to backchannel efforts to conduct diplomacy between the Trump administration and the Ukrainian government.

“If someone wants to intentionally get involved in U.S. internal politics, into the fight between the Democrats and the Republicans, I would really advise them not to do that,” Chaly said. “And to those who wanted to do that earlier, and to those who now are pushing Ukraine’s leadership to take such a step, that would be a huge mistake.”

NBC reported on Monday that a group of parliamentarians in Ukraine are reviewing the possibility of creating an investigative commission to examine allegations, such as those peddled by Telizhenko, of Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election.

One Ukrainian MP who is pushing for the commission’s creation is Oleg Voloshyn, a former foreign ministry official who worked with Paul Manafort while he was a political consultant in the fledgling Eastern European nation.

Describing it as “a work in progress” to TPM, Voloshyn said that the commission would examine “first and foremost certain actions of Ukrainian government in the context of 2016 elections.”

Allegations of Ukrainian government involvement in the 2016 elections in part focus on Manafort’s August 2016 resignation as chairman of the Trump campaign, sparked by the release of a so-called “black ledger” in Kyiv that showed Manafort’s name next to $12.7 million in bribes. Giuliani and others have pressed the Ukrainian government to investigate whether the leak was orchestrated to hurt the Trump campaign, and to see if the underlying documents were fabricated.

Voloshyn denied an element of a report by NBC Monday that suggested that the commission would probe the Bidens.

“We mean to investigate Ukrainian officials only,” he said. “We can’t investigate Biden.”

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