GOP Rep. Devin Nunes of California did not let stand House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff’s claim that Ukrainian interference on behalf of the Democrats in the 2016 election is a “conspiracy theory.”
During his opening statement at a public impeachment hearing on Friday, Schiff twice characterized Ukraine’s involvement in the 2016 election as a “conspiracy theory” put forward by President Donald Trump and his supporters.
In his July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Trump asked the newly sworn-in leader if his administration could work with Attorney General William Barr, who is investigating how the FBI’s counter-intelligence probe into the Trump campaign was launched in the summer of 2016.
Robert Mueller — appointed special counsel by the Department of Justice in May 2017 — carried the investigation forward for much of the first two years of the Trump administration. Mueller testified about his inquiry’s findings before Congress the day before Trump spoke with Zelensky.
“As you saw yesterday, that whole nonsense ended with a very poor performance by a man named Robert Mueller, an incompetent performance, but they say a lot of it started with Ukraine. Whatever you can do, it’s very important that you do it if that’s possible,” Trump said on the call.
That request, along with the president asking if Zelensky could look into the circumstances surrounding former Joe Biden’s demand — made while Biden was vice president — that a Ukrainian prosecutor who had overseen an investigation into the Ukrainian natural gas firm Burisma Holdings be fired, is what launched the Democrat-led impeachment inquiry.
By Biden’s own account, he said unless the prosecutor was fired before the then-vice president boarded a plane back to the U.S., a billion dollars in American aid would be withheld.
Biden’s son, Hunter, sat on the board of Burisma at the time, and reportedly earned at least $50,000 per month in that position.
That sounds a looks a heck of a lot like the corruption and quid pro quo that Schiff, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the rest of the Democrats have been accusing Trump of, but have no evidence to support.
Trump released the aid in mid-September, and Ukraine launched no investigation of the Bidens or the 2016 election interference.
Nunes, the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, argued that until the intelligence community whistleblower came forward following the July 25 phone call, Democrats “showed little interest for the last three years in any topic aside from the ridiculous conspiracy theories that President Trump is a Russian agent.”
He then offered multiple instances where Democrats worked with Ukrainians during the 2016 race in an attempt to damage Trump’s candidacy.
“Even as they were accusing Republicans of colluding with Russians, the Democrats themselves were colluding with Russians by funding the Steele dossier, which was based on Russian and Ukrainian sources,” Nunes said.
The Steele dossier was used by the DOJ to obtain a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant to spy on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
“Meanwhile, they turn a blind eye to Ukrainians meddling in our elections, because the Democrats were cooperating with that operation,” Nunes added.
The lawmaker pointed to a July 2017 letter from then-Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa to then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in which the senator quoted media reports detailing that “’Ukrainian government officials tried to help Hillary Clinton and undermine Trump’ and did so by ‘disseminat[ing] documents implicating a top Trump aide in corruption and suggested they were investigating the matter…’”
Grassley’s letter further noted that “Ukrainian officials also reportedly ‘helped Clinton’s allies research damaging information on Trump and his advisers.'”
The letter highlighted that at the center of the scheme was Alexandra Chalupa, “described by reports as a Ukrainian-American operative ‘who was consulting for the Democratic National Committee’ and reportedly met with Ukrainian officials during the presidential election for the express purpose of exposing alleged ties between then-candidate Donald Trump, Paul Manafort, and Russia.”
You’ll recall that in August 2016, then-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort resigned his post following the revelation of his past lobbying work for pro-Russian Ukrainian oligarchs.
Politico reported at the time, “In recent days, Manafort had lost the confidence of Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and one of his closest advisers, and other members of Trump’s family, according to a source close to the campaign.”
At Friday’s hearing, Nunes quoted directly from Grassley’s letter: “Chalupa’s actions appear to show that she was simultaneously working on behalf of a foreign government, Ukraine, and on behalf of the DNC and Clinton campaign, in an effort to influence not only the U.S voting population but U.S. government officials.”
Chalupa “publicly admitted to the Democrats’ scheme,” Nunes said.
So, there you have it: The Democrats actively worked with the Ukrainians to put together the Steele dossier, get Manafort fired and begin to link Trump to Russia in the eyes of the American public.
Through the impeachment inquiry, the Democrats appear to once again be accusing Trump of the very thing that they are in fact guilty of.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.