AS WITH OBAMA BIRTH CERTIFICATE, MEDIA ASKS NO QUESTIONS, INVOKES “CONSPIRACY THEORY”
by Sharon Rondeau
(Oct. 17, 2019) — On Thursday afternoon, Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney gave a press conference in which he told reporters that he was “part of that process” by which U.S. aid to Ukraine was “temporarily” delayed this summer as a result of the administration’s belief that the nation, whether or not known to its current president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, is home to the oft-referenced computer server belonging to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and said to have been breached by Russians before the U.S. 2016 presidential election.
Following the alleged breach, thousands of emails from DNC officials and then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, were published by WikiLeaks in batches between July 2016 and Election Day.
Many Democrats believe that the release of the damaging emails cost Clinton the election.
According to then-FBI Director James Comey in January 2017, “The FBI requested direct access to the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) hacked computer servers but was denied.” On June 8, 2017, a month after he was fired, Comey said, “We did not have access to the devices themselves. We got relevant forensic information from a private party, a high class entity, that had done the work but we didn’t get direct access.”
Mulvaney’s invocation of Ukraine as the current location of the server echoed that which was made by President Trump in a July 25, 2019 phone call with Zelenskiy which Democrats interpreted to have signaled Trump’s pressure on Ukraine to launch, or reinvigorate, an investigation into current Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden’s dealings in the country involving his son, Hunter, who was given a prestigious position on the board of directors of a Ukrainian energy company, Burisma Holdings, at $50,000 a month.
Democrats have claimed Trump improperly attempted to involve a foreign country in a U.S. presidential election to benefit himself and hurt a political “opponent.” The Democratic primaries will begin early next year, and Biden may or may not become the party’s nominee.
On August 12, 2019, a “whistleblower” complaint was shared with staffers to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA28), a fierce Trump opponent who was subsequently delegated the de facto leader of an “impeachment inquiry” into the president. In his five-page complaint, which many believe was written by attorneys, the whistleblower claimed that the substance of the Trump-Zelenskiy phone call might have equated to “a serious or flagrant problem, abuse, or violation of law or Executive Order.”
The complaint was first filed with the CIA’s general counsel, who forwarded it to the Justice Department, NBC News reported.
The whistleblower said he was not “a direct witness to most of the events described” in his complaint, which referenced Trump’s alleged attempt to involve Zelenskyy in an effort to “initiate or continue an investigation Into the activities of former Vice President Joseph Biden and his son, Hunter Biden” and to “assist in purportedly uncovering that allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election originated in Ukraine, with a specific request that the Ukrainian leader locate and turn over servers used by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and examined by the U.S. cyber security firm Crowdstrike. which initially reported that Russian hackers had penetrated the DNC’s networks in 2016…”
The Intelligence Community’s inspector general, Michael Atkinson, “told members of Congress that the whistleblower had a ‘professional tie’ to a 2020 Democratic candidate. He had written earlier that while the whistleblower’s complaint was credible, he had shown ‘some indicia of an arguable political bias … in favor of a rival political candidate,'” The Washington Examiner reported on October 10.
Although directed to Sen. Richard Burr and himself on August 12, Schiff first claimed he was unaware of the complaint and that “we have not spoken directly with the whistleblower. We would like to.” However, last week, Schiff admitted he “should have been more clear” about when his office was informed of the complaint’s existence after it became public that his staffers spoke with the whistleblower before the complaint was sent to the Intelligence Community Inspector General, Michael Atkinson.
The complaint appeared to serve as the catalyst for Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to announce an “impeachment inquiry” against the president on September 24, shortly before a White House transcript of the now-infamous phone call was released. However, prior to that, at least three House committees were conducting investigations into Trump’s conduct, financial dealings prior to his 2016 election win, and whether or not he “obstructed justice” during Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of “obstruction” and “collusion” allegations.
Schiff almost immediately said the whistleblower would testify promptly but on Monday stated that his or her testimony “might not be needed” to pursue the impeachment inquiry on which Democrats have set their sights.
Since last Friday, it has come to light that the “whistleblower” worked with Biden during the Obama years and that earlier this year, Schiff hired two staffers who worked with the whistleblower at the National Security Council.
In an interview aired Tuesday with ABC News, Hunter Biden said he would “probably not” have been asked to be on the Board were his last name not “Biden.”
Reporting earlier this year by investigative journalist John Solomon stated that in January 2016, “the Obama White House summoned Ukrainian authorities to Washington to coordinate ongoing anti-corruption efforts inside Russia’s most critical neighbor.”
The article continued:
The January 2016 gathering, confirmed by multiple participants and contemporaneous memos, brought some of Ukraine’s top corruption prosecutors and investigators face to face with members of former President Obama’s National Security Council (NSC), FBI, State Department and Department of Justice (DOJ).
The agenda suggested the purpose was training and coordination. But Ukrainian participants said it didn’t take long — during the meetings and afterward — to realize the Americans’ objectives included two politically hot investigations: one that touched Vice President Joe Biden’s family and one that involved a lobbying firm linked closely to then-candidate Trump.
Solomon went on to describe the January 2016 White House meeting as “one of the earliest documented efforts to build the now-debunked Trump-Russia collusion narrative and one of the first to involve the Obama administration’s intervention.”
On October 5 an article at The New Yorker termed Solomon’s work on Ukraine, prominent Democrats and the Bidens as part of a “conspiracy theory” and effort aimed at assisting Trump. Of Solomon’s April 1, 2019 column titled “Joe Biden’s 2020 Ukrainian Nightmare,” writer Jane Mayer reported that former Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin’s claim that he was fired in March 2016 because of his investigation into Burisma and Joe Biden’s pressure on then-Ukrainian president Petro Poroschenko is “unsubstantiated.”
In a January 23, 2018 appearance at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), Joe Biden stated of a visit he made to Ukraine and his remarks to Poroschenko and others:
So they said they had—they were walking out to a press conference. I said, nah, I’m not going to—or, we’re not going to give you the billion dollars. They said, you have no authority. You’re not the president. The president said—I said, call him. (Laughter.) I said, I’m telling you, you’re not getting the billion dollars. I said, you’re not getting the billion. I’m going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money. Well, son of a b***** (Laughter.) He got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time.
Well, there’s still—so they made some genuine substantial changes institutionally and with people. But one of the three institutions, there’s now some backsliding.
A transcript of Trump’s call with Zelenskiy released by the White House on September 24 contains a reference to Biden and former U.S. ambassador to the Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, who was removed from her post in May:
…The former ambassador from the United States, the woman, was bad news and the people she was dealing with in the Ukraine were bad news so I just want to let you know that. The other thing, There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it…it sounds horrible to me.
During the call, Trump encouraged Zelenskiy to work with his personal attorney, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, as well as Attorney General William Barr, both of whom the whistleblower had cited as appearing to be “involved” in Trump’s alleged desired “interference” by Ukraine in the 2020 election.
On October 2, Giuliani reported that the FBI is investigating the Biden-Ukraine relationship after Giuliani reportedly turned over “evidence” he said he gleaned from “six witnesses.”
On page 4 of the White House transcript, Zelenskiy is noted to have told Trump that Yovanovitch’s “attitude towards me was far from the best as she admired the previous President and she was on his side.”
“I will tell Rudy and Attorney General Barr to call,” Trump is noted to have said on the last page of the transcript.
On September 18, Solomon left his two-year stint at “The Hill” to launch an independent media company, The Washington Examiner reported. On October 5, Solomon confirmed on “Hannity” that he is now a Fox News contributor.
Last week, Solomon told Sean Hannity that he was told by intelligence-community figures that he is among a number of journalists whose communications were allegedly monitored at Yovanovitch’s request of the State Department in regard to certain search terms associated with Ukraine. Solomon’s report is now under investigation by the government-watchdog organization Judicial Watch.
House Intelligence Committee ranking member Devin Nunes confirmed hearing similar reports. “We also have concerns that possibly they were monitoring press from different journalists and others,” The Examiner quoted Nunes as having said on October 9. “That we don’t know, but we have people who are giving us this information and we’re going to ask these questions to the State Department and hopefully they’re going to get the answers before she comes in on Friday.”
Nunes’s reference was to Yovanovitch’s testimony to the House Intel Committee, which took place on October 11.
In the transcript, Trump mentioned in passing Robert Mueller, who served as “Special Counsel” in a 22- month investigation into allegations that the Trump campaign “colluded” with Russian operatives to affect the outcome of the 2016 election. The claims first arose with the FBI under then-Director James Comey; his deputy, Andrew McCabe, and other officials in their circle.
An October 3, 2019 article at The New York Times by Scott Shane recounts a 2017 interview the AP conducted with Trump in which the president said of Crowdstrike, the company which reportedly analyzed the DNC server and found evidence of Russian breaching, “I heard it’s owned by a very rich Ukrainian; that’s what I heard,” Trump is quoted as having told the AP of Crowdstrike.
On June 15, 2016, Crowdstrike issued a report on its analysis of the DNC server titled, “Bears in Our Midst.” The report is now headlined by a September 25, 2019 update which begins:
With regards to our investigation of the DNC hack in 2016, we provided all forensic evidence and analysis to the FBI. As we’ve stated before, we stand by our findings and conclusions that have been fully supported by the US Intelligence community.
The update also asserts that co-founder Dmitri Alperovitch “is a Russia-born U.S. citizen, who has spent all of his adult life in the United States, and has no connection to Ukraine.”
The Mueller report cited Crowdstrike’s report of Russian intrusions to the server, listing in footnotes reports by The Washington Post and The New York Times.
“More than two years later, Mr. Trump was still holding on to this false conspiracy theory,” The Times article continues, without specifying the alleged falsity nor the alleged “conspiracy theory.”
“The tale of the supposedly hidden server may have appealed to Mr. Trump because it undercut a well-established fact that he has resented and resisted for three years: The Russian government interfered in the 2016 election to help him win, an effort thoroughly documented by American intelligence agencies and amply supported by public evidence,” Shane continued.
The caption to the photo of Trump at the top of the article reads, ““
Last month, in an editorial for The Hill, Solomon wrote of the Obama regime’s engagement with Ukraine:
As I have reported, the pressure began at least as early as January 2016, when the Obama White House unexpectedly invited Ukraine’s top prosecutors to Washington to discuss fighting corruption in the country.
The meeting, promised as training, turned out to be more of a pretext for the Obama administration to pressure Ukraine’s prosecutors to drop an investigation into the Burisma Holdings gas company that employed Hunter Biden and to look for new evidence in a then-dormant criminal case against eventual Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, a GOP lobbyist.
On Thursday evening, the AP reported:
In his now-infamous July phone call with Ukraine’s president, President Donald Trump referred briefly to a long-discredited conspiracy theory that tries to cast doubt on Russia’s role in the 2016 hacking of the Democratic National Committee.
Some Trump backers who circulate unsubstantiated rumors have latched onto some version of the theory to support claims he’s being persecuted by “the deep state,” also known as the federal bureaucracy, as the House of Representatives begins an impeachment inquiry. The issue arose anew Thursday, when White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said he had “absolutely” heard Trump mention “the corruption that related to the DNC server.”
In broad outline, the theory contends — without evidence, of course — that the DNC hack was a setup based on fabricated computer records and designed to cast blame on Russia. One key figure in this supposed conspiracy: CrowdStrike, a security firm hired by the DNC that detected, stopped and analyzed the hack five months before the 2016 election.
Trump did not mention “fabricated computer records” in his call with Zelenskiy, nor in his 2017 interview with the AP, although Shane claimed that Trump to Zelenskiy made a “vague suggestion that Ukraine, not Russia, might be responsible for the hacking, or that CrowdStrike somehow connived in it.”
Although not labeled an editorial, Shane wrote in the same column, “But his alternate history has provided a psychological shield for the president against facts that he believes tarnish his electoral victory.”
Roll Call reported of Trump’s comments to Zelenskiy about the server, “…there are no missing servers despite Trump’s allegation that one somehow ended up in Ukraine, a theory popular among conservative conspiracy theorists.”
However, a January 11, 2017 article by Politico is titled, “Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump backfire” and states, in part:
Donald Trump wasn’t the only presidential candidate whose campaign was boosted by officials of a former Soviet bloc country.
Ukrainian government officials tried to help Hillary Clinton and undermine Trump by publicly questioning his fitness for office. They also disseminated documents implicating a top Trump aide in corruption and suggested they were investigating the matter, only to back away after the election. And they helped Clinton’s allies research damaging information on Trump and his advisers, a Politico investigation found.
A Ukrainian-American operative who was consulting for the Democratic National Committee met with top officials in the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington in an effort to expose ties between Trump, top campaign aide Paul Manafort and Russia, according to people with direct knowledge of the situation.
While the transcript of the call has been public since September 24, this writer was unable to locate any comment from Democrat Party figures about the claim that at least one of the DNC’s allegedly Russian-hacked servers is in Ukraine.