Senate Republicans Push Ahead With Probe of Ukraine Collusion, Despite Warnings Its a Kremlin Operation

A onetime Ukrainian diplomat who alleges Kyiv intervened in the U.S. 2016 ballots is set to begin sharing documents with three Senate committees, he told The Daily Beast.

The Intelligence Community and FBI Director Christopher Wray have pushed back against accusations of Ukrainian interference, and leading experts in the field say they are part of a” fictional narrative” pushed by the Kremlin. But three Senate chairpeople are taking them earnestly and probing the claims nonetheless.

Telizhenko said he spoke last week by phone with personnel working under Sens. Lindsey Graham( R-SC ), Ron Johnson( R-WI ), and Chuck Grassley( R-IA ), and agreed to send documents to them in the coming dates. After they’ve reviewed the materials, the GOP rulers will follow up about an in-person interview, Telizhenko said.

” It’s really professional ,” he said. “They’re trying to understand what’s going on.”

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Graham confirmed to The Daily Beast that the three chairmen “re working on” a seam investigation. That implies their three committees-the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Senate Committee on Finance, and the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee-have come together to investigate Ukraine’s alleged meddling in the 2016 poll.

It’s a move that will frustrate national certificate, law enforcement and intelligence officials. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team ensure indictments of 34 beings while investigating the far-flung Russian campaign to destabilize America’s 2016 referendum; testify for any Ukrainian counterpart, at this point, amounts to a few comments and an op-ed by a few Ukranian officials–plus Telizhenko’s allegations.

The Intelligence Community told Senators earlier this fall that Russian security services were driving the allegations about Ukrainian meddling in 2016, according to The New York Times . For many members of Congress, that lean the issue to bed; paying any legality to Telizhenko’s allegations was akin to enlarging a Kremlin disinformation campaign. (” Thank God no one is accusing us of interfering in the U.S. referendums anymore ,” Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, said last month.” Now they’re accusing Ukraine .”)

But the matter remains front of mind for the White House, and Trump insisted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate it in the July 25 phone call that led to his now-imminent impeachment. And as House Democrats assembled a multi-committee probe to scrutinize Trump’s pressure on Ukraine, their Senate Republican colleagues ramped up a latitude try analyse Ukraine. Grassley’s inquiries about Ukraine and 2016 started in 2017, and long predate the impeachment probe.

Telizhenko’s plan to share textiles with the Senate committees signals an important moment for both him and the three senators. “They dont have” public evidence that any other U.S. authority entities have reached out to Telizhenko about its statement of claim. And over the last several months, Grassley, Graham, and Johnson have is sending out a battery of document and information requests involving the Ukraine situation. They have asked for documents and information from the Department of Justice, the State Department, and the National Archives. But thus far, the government agencies in question have yet to share information, a Grassley spokesperson told The Daily Beast.” We’ve been in contact with funding recipients of the symbols and work together with them to get responses ,” a spokesperson for Johnson lent.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has yet to respond to a symbol Graham sent him on Nov. 21, according to a spokesperson for the Judiciary Committee. Despite a Dec. 5 deadline, the National Archives has already been to produce such documents about White House meetings during the Obama administration that Johnson and Grassley sought. And Attorney General Bill Barr has yet to fork over reports. A Justice Department spokesperson declined to comment, State Department spokespeople did not respond to requests for comment, and an Repository representative said that the request” is still being processed in accordance with the Presidential Records Act .”

It’s not exceptional for federal agencies to miss congressional deadlines. And when they do, it creates a dilemma for Hill examiners: They can send additional, more securely worded characters; they can issue subpoenas; or they can give up. And while stand-offs between the executive and legislative forks often get testiest when the two are controlled by different parties, there can still be plenty of intra-party drama. Earlier in the Trump administration, a cadre of House Republicans went to war on the Justice Department as part of their its further consideration of the genesis of the Russia probe. Some even threatened to impeach then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, one of Trump’s political appointees.

It remains to be seen if there will be any sort of showdown between Barr and the three Republican Senate chairwomen, all of whom are committed collaborators of the president.

Their probe is the latest project from Republican eyeing Alexandra Chalupa, a Ukrainian-American who communicated with Ukrainian embassy officials during the 2016 referendum. Telizhenko alleges that his foremen at the embassy in Washington–where he worked at the time–directed him to communicate Chalupa any soil he could find on Trump’s then-campaign chairman. Chalupa has said there was zero wrongdoing, and declined to comment for this story. Telizhenko’s accusations help find immense obtain with Trump’s republican collaborators, and he has been featured on One America News and Glenn Beck’s podcast. Fox News’ Sean Hannity has also highlighted his allegations, deserving a Trump tweet.

Before Republicans and American media analyse Ukraine and 2016, the Russian Foreign Ministry alleged that Kyiv targeted Trump’s campaign. And after Politico reported Telizhenko’s allegations, Russian state media amplified the claims. Conspiracy site InfoWars too pushed the narrative. And a year and a half before he became acting attorney general, Matthew Whitaker filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission about Chalupa. At the time, he helmed a conservative nonprofit called the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, and touted international efforts in an op-ed for The Hill.

Telizhenko went on to meet Republican power brokers, including Rep. Devin Nunes. And he has built a relationship with Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, accompanying him during his recent trip to Kyiv where he scoured for damage information on former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

Giuliani’s months-long quest for Biden dirt is a key focus of Democrat’ impeachment probe. The House of Representatives is expected to vote on Wednesday on articles of impeachment.

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