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Ukraine Collusion Allegations Can Help Trump Turn Tables On Dems.

Talk of timing. Even as the Democrats are trying hard to administer CPR to the Mueller report and make it a key issue going into the 2020 presidential elections, here comes the Hillary Clinton-Ukraine collusion story.

President Trump has already described as ( "incredible" and "big" the revelations that Ukrainian actors, working in collusion with Obama administration officials, illegally released damaging information about his then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

More interesting, Kostiantyn Kulyk, deputy head of the Prosecutor General's International Legal Cooperation Department in Kiev, ( told The Hill that their attempts to deliver the evidence of this collusion to Washington have been thwarted.

What exactly happened? The Hill reports that the Obama White House had sought a meeting between Ukraine's top corruption prosecutors and US officials, supposedly for training and coordination, in January 2016. But the report quoted, Andrii Telizhenko, a political officer in the Ukraine embassy in Washington, as saying the U.S. officials were more interested in reviving a closed investigation into payments made to U.S. individuals by Ukraine's Party of Regions, which has Russia's backing. The FBI, which interviewed Manafort in 2014, had shut down the case without charging him. The Party of Regions is the party of ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

Telizhenko told The Hill that DOJ officials asked investigators from Ukraine's National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) for help in locating new evidence in the case. "It was definitely the case that led to the charges against Manafort and the leak to U.S. media during the 2016 election," the article quoted Telizhenko as saying.

If the report is true, the efforts involving the Obama administration to use the Ukrainians to find dirt on the Trump campaign began in January 2016.  

More damning, the report quotes Nazar Kholodnytskyy, Ukraine's chief anti-corruption prosecutor, as saying his detectives disobeyed his order and released one or two pages of a black ledger -- which was known to Ukrainian authorities since 2014. That formed the key evidence against Manafort. At the same time the Americans were not interested in the evidence that Ukrainian authorities had on other people who had received money from the Party of Regions, the report said. In December last year, a Ukrainian court ruled that the publication of the Manafort payment details was illegal and interfered in U.S. elections.

The allegation, on the face of it, is big -- bigger probably than the now debunked Trump-Russia collusion allegations. Because here there is evidence of more active collusion with a foreign government. It also has its weaknesses, because the pervasive corruption in Ukraine and the Russian influence with various factions there simple make it impossible to know the agenda driving anything.

But this is exactly what Trump needed to turn the tables on the Democrats, who still are conducting a painful internal dialogue on whether to bring impeachment proceedings against the president or not, and propel himself again into the White House.  All eyes on Ukraine, now!
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Publication:International Business Times - US ed.
Geographic Code:4EXUR
Date:Apr 26, 2019
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