US Treasury Sanctions Ukrainian MP Who Spread Biden Disinfo Over Electoral Interference

Ukrainian MP Andriy Derkach (right) meets with Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani in Kyiv, Ukraine in December 2019. The intelligence community accused Derkach on Friday of being a vehicle for Russian government efforts to... Ukrainian MP Andriy Derkach (right) meets with Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani in Kyiv, Ukraine in December 2019. The intelligence community accused Derkach on Friday of being a vehicle for Russian government efforts to damage Biden. MORE LESS
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September 10, 2020 12:08 p.m.

The Treasury Department sanctioned a Ukrainian parliamentarian who met with Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani in Kyiv last year, accusing the MP of trying to interfere in the 2020 Presidential elections.

The Thursday order accused Andrii Derkach of being an “active Russian agent for over a decade, maintaining close connections with the Russian Intelligence Services.”

Derkach began to release in May audio recordings that he claimed captured Vice President Joe Biden holding calls with heads of state in 2016, particularly with the then-President of Ukraine. The tapes were heavily edited, but came as part of a years-long campaign that Derkach had waged in which he accused Biden and the Democrats of “international corruption.”

Before that, in December, Derkach met in Kyiv with Giuliani, handing the former NYC mayor reams of documents as Giuliani attempted to dig up dirt that would prove long-debunked conspiracy theories around Biden’s handling of U.S. foreign policy toward Ukraine.

Those conspiracy theories were at the center of President Trump’s impeachment last year, in which the President withheld military aid from Ukraine in order to pressure Kyiv into manufacturing dirt on Biden.

Derkach’s tapes — which lack anything remotely incriminating — appeared to serve as part of that exchange from the Ukrainian side.

The Treasury said that Derkach was waging “a covert influence campaign” targeted at spreading disinformation about U.S. officials from late 2019 to mid-2020 — a time period that seems to include Giuliani’s December 2019 meeting with Derkach.

The statement also refers to the allegations that Derkach was spreading — the same allegations that President Trump pushed Kyiv to investigate last year —- as “unsubstantiated” and released “with the intent to discredit U.S. officials.”

Republican lawmakers continue to push forward with investigations that home in on the same allegations. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) has said that a report on the matter could be released next week.

Johnson has taken information from another Ukrainian: Andrii Telizhenko, a former staffer at the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington who has separately alleged without proof that Kyiv conspired to hurt Trump in 2016.

After being sent a copy of the Treasury announcement and asked about his relationship with Derkach, given that both Telizhenko and the alleged Russian spy have pushed similar allegations, Telzhenko sent TPM multiple Facebook messages denying any link.

“I was telling what I personally witnessed from my work at the Ukrainian Embassy and Blue Star he was doing something else,” Telizhenko told TPM.

“From my view having him there was not a positive thing,” Telizhenko added. “I am regular former Ukrainian Gov official and consultant who witnessed different things which were bad for Ukraine.”

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) would not respond to questions from fellow lawmakers on the House Intelligence Committee in July regarding whether he had taken information from Derkach, after a postal receipt addressed to Nunes from Derkach was accidentally delivered to House Democratic offices.

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