Persistence is paying off for investigative reporters like John Solomon and watchdog groups like Judicial Watch. Events are unfolding across the ocean that shed light on the REAL “foreign election interference.” FOIA lawsuits filed months and even years ago that might have seemed futile now yield treasure troves of documents. It’s easy to become frustrated with the waiting, hoping the full story will emerge soon and justice will be done, but remember how long Tom Fitton has been waiting for some of his efforts to bear fruit. Much of the fruit is suddenly ripe for the picking and is starting to fall from the tree. Harvest time is here.
We’ve just seen the story, courtesy of Judicial Watch, of how Andrew Weissmann, of all people, personally assembled the special counsel team looking into Trump and Russia. That sure explained a lot. Judicial Watch also obtained documentation from December of 2012 that the White House was tracking a FOIA lawsuit that had to do with Hillary’s personal server. Sure makes you wonder what ELSE concerning Hillary (not to mention Trump) the Obama White House might have monitored.
There’s more from Judicial Watch today, but first, let’s look at the latest from John Solomon at THE HILL, who also has a new revelation almost daily. In a piece from Thursday, he gives us yet more evidence that Hillary’s campaign was –- not surprisingly –- doing the very thing that Trump was wrongly accused of doing; in this case, using damaging material from foreign sources to try to smear her opponent.
I’ll briefly catch you up, as what we have is a new development in an earlier story of Solomon’s that dealt with the prosecution of Paul Manafort. Recall that Ukrainian member of parliament Serhiy Leshchenko, together with the head of Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU), were found guilty in December of having wrongly interfered in the U.S. presidential election of 2016 by leaking information about then-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. That was the infamous “black ledger” showing Manafort had secretly been paid years before by a Russian-backed political party in Ukraine, at a time when he wasn’t registered as a foreign agent as required by the FARA law.
(Editorial aside: I know this is a serious story, but you’ve gotta admit, the idea that the head of the "National Anti-Corruption Bureau" is implicated in this scheme is kinda funny. On the other hand, this bureau is described as “an investigative agency modeled on America’s FBI,” so maybe their hanky-panky shouldn’t surprise anyone.)
We haven’t heard much from American journalists about the conviction of Leshchenko and his NABU friend last December for interfering in our election, have we? That would get in the way of the media’s chosen narrative that foreign interference was to help Trump win, not to hurt his campaign and thereby help Hillary.
Anyway, the next part of the story was revealed a few weeks ago, when Congress released some sworn testimony by Nellie Ohr revealing that Leshchenko was also “a source” for Russian dirt that was given to Fusion GPS, the firm providing oppo research (including the Steele dossier) for Hillary’s campaign and the DNC (same thing). I have to wonder if Leshchenko was paid (it seems likely) by Fusion GPS, which in turn was paid by Perkins Coie, which in turn was paid by Hillary and the DNC. In other words, whose campaign ACTUALLY WAS paying Russian meddlers? Hint: not Trump’s.
Now, here’s the new part: Thursday, Ukraine’s chief corruption officer opened an investigation into “suspicions” that Leshchenko (himself a former investigative reporter and crusader against corruption) accepted bribes from a Russian source that enabled him to buy a tremendously expensive luxury condo that would normally have been way above his means. The purchase was looked into once before and no charges were filed, but now that there’s an element of bribery alleged, Leshchenko will be investigated further.
And now, here’s the second, really big new part: Also on Thursday, Solomon interviewed the Ukrainian official who opened the new corruption case, whose name (you will not be tested) is Nazar Kholodnytskyy, and NK told him that the alleged bribes paid to Leshchenko and the purchase of the obscenely expensive condo coincided with the time that Manafort resigned under pressure based on Leshchenko’s leak of the “black ledger.”
Solomon asked NK if any of the Russian money paid to Leshchenko might have been given to him as either an inducement or a reward for interfering in our election. “Absolutely that is one of the things they are going to be investigating,” he told Solomon. He said they have “credible” information gleaned from news reports as well as classified material that suggests Leshchenko was receiving money from a Russian oligarch (translation: rich guy) and was trying to buy the condo in August and September of 2016.
Keep in mind, if this is more than an amazing coincidence, it's a 180-degree flip on the media narrative that Russian money was used to help TRUMP. Just the opposite: this was something that really messed with his campaign, very close to the election. Put another way, it helped HILLARY.
Solomon reminds us that any news coming out of Ukraine “must be taken with a grain of salt, given Ukraine’s history of corruption and of weaponizing law enforcement against political rivals.” (Gosh, from this description, it sounds as though their so-called anti-corruption bureau might have been modeled even more closely on our FBI than they knew!) Even so, it looks as though Leshchenko’s alleged Russian bribes need to be investigated here in America as well. I wonder why Robert Mueller, charged with looking into Russian interference, somehow failed to get around to that.
Then there’s the latest from Judicial Watch, which finally spawned from a FOIA lawsuit filed in March 2018 after the Justice Department failed to respond to a request made in December 2017. The emails are still heavily redacted, but Judicial Watch was able to glean some information from them, notably that Nellie Ohr appears to have tried to cover her tracks on a discussion with husband Bruce Ohr (on his DOJ account) and his assistant at DOJ about some “Russian analysts.” She emailed her husband, “I’m deleting these emails now.” (It appears she slipped up by forgetting to deleting that one, too! I digress.)
Nellie Ohr testified before Congress that she had no knowledge of what was going on at DOJ during the Russia investigation. North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows recently wrote up a criminal referral concerning that testimony.