One of Ukraine’s leading anti-corruption activists on Wednesday said Rudy Giuliani’s recent One America News “investigative special,” which promised to “destroy” Democrats’ case for impeaching President Donald Trump, has really only provided a series of corrupt and disgraced politicians with a megaphone for pushing conspiracy theories that advance Russian interests.
In an op-ed for the Kyiv Post, Sergii (also Serhiy) Leshchenko, a former member of Ukraine’s parliament and an investigative journalist known for exposing high profile corruption among the nation’s elite, said almost all of Giuliani’s interview guests for the OAN special that aired earlier this month were notoriously untrustworthy and maintained close ties to the Russian government.
“As a journalist who has been covering Ukrainian politics for 20 years, I maintain that [former prosecutor general Yuri] Lutsenko and the rest of Rudy Giuliani’s interlocutors in Ukraine are not in the least trustworthy,” Leshchenko wrote. “Moreover, most of them have long had contacts with Moscow, which seeks to shift responsibility for interference in the 2016 U.S. elections from Russia to Ukraine. This scenario is actively supported by part of the corrupt Ukrainian establishment.”
The three-part Giuliani special was even featured on the Russian state-owned news channels Russia-1 and Russia-24 earlier this month.
Leshchenko in 2016 revealed the existence of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s so-called “black ledger,” which catalogued secret payments made by Ukraine’s former pro-Russia president, Viktor Yanukovich, to Manafort and others.
According to Leshchenko, the “main agent of Russia” with whom Giuliani is working with in pushing the conspiracy theory that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 U.S. elections is Dmytro Firtash. Firtash is a Ukrainian oligarch under indictment for bribery in the U.S., whose success in the natural resources and raw materials sectors were reportedly “built on remarkable sweetheart deals brokered by associates of Russian leader Vladimir Putin.”
As previously reported by Law&Crime, Firtash, through a Swiss attorney, deposited $1 million into an account belonging to the wife of indicted Giuliani associate Lev Parnas.
“Firtash is useful for Giuliani in helping him advance the conspiracy theory,” Leshchenko wrote. “For example, lawmakers Oleh Voloshyn and Valentyn Nalyvaichenko, both of whom are close to Firtash, are trying to start a ‘parliamentary inquiry’ into ex-Vice President Joe Biden’s activities in Ukraine.”
It was at Firtash’s request that Giuliani enrolled the help of another former prosecutor general, Viktor Shokin, who previously accused Biden of ousting him from the role to protect his son Hunter Biden from prosecution in a September affidavit.
“But when quoting this part of Shokin’s affidavit, Giuliani doesn’t notice that, in another paragraph, Shokin defends Firtash against the allegations made in regards to him by a federal prosecutor in Illinois. In other words, Giuliani undermines the credibility of the U.S. law enforcement investigation,” Leshchenko explained. “The situation looks absurd, because Firtash, being a suspect in the U.S., evidently contributed to the creation of a document that is now being used by the U.S. president and his associates to defend against impeachment charges.”
Leshchenko said Firtash is “obviously” helping Giuliani in the hopes that the president’s personal attorney can may be able to prevent his extradition to the United States. Meanwhile, Giuliani has been more than happy to work with someone who, earlier this year, he accused of having direct ties to Russian organized crime.
“Giuliani’s strategy to promote his conspiracy theory looks like political schizophrenia. But his actions also gave Russia great opportunities to advance its interests,” Leshchenko concluded.
[image via Fox News screengrab]