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How Donald Trump and Sean Hannity are promoting theory Ukraine interfered in 2016 election to help Hillary Clinton

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CNN
As Ukraine prepares for its presidential elections on March 31, collusion with a foreign country and President Donald Trumps former campaign manager Paul Manafort have made their way into the public discourse. And President Trump, his son Donald Trump Jr., and the presidents favorite television presenter Sean Hannity are helping the conversation along, alleging that anti-corruption leaders in Ukraine tried to sway the U.S. election in favor of Hillary Clinton.
It all started on March 5, whenU.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch criticized the country'srecord on corruption, pointing to a recent high court decision to decriminalize illicit enrichmentwhen a public official has significant increases to theirwealth or assets that cannot be explained by their income. Ambassador Yovanovitch specifically noted that the high courts decision weakens Ukraines National Anti-Corruption Bureau, a law enforcement body established after a pro-Western movement ousted pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych in 2014.
From there,Ukraines officials went on the offensive, appearing to target the bureau.Ukraines Prosecutor General, Yuriy Lutsenko, announcedon U.S.-based Hill Television earlier this month that he was opening a probe into allegedefforts by Ukrainians to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Those efforts, he said, involved the head of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau, Artem Sytnyk. He also alleged that U.S. ambassador Yovanovitch had attempted to pressure him not to prosecute certain people, a claim the State Department denied in an email toRadio Free Europe.

Lutsenko alleged that Sytnyk publishedinformation about secret payments from Ukraines former President Yanukovych's partyto Trumps former campaign manager Paul Manafort in orderto hurt the Trump campaign. The bureau says the information was published in the name of transparency, not to influence the U.S. election.
The prosecutor also toldThe Hillthis monththat he is expanding the inquiry into whether Sytnyk was trying to sway the 2016 elections in favor of Clinton. Conservative television presenter Sean Hannity then invited the reporter fromThe Hillonto his show to repeat the claims. Trump, who watches Hannitys show and reportedly speaks with the television presenter frequently, then promoted Lutsenko's narrative.
As Russia Collusion fades, Ukrainian plot to help Clinton emerges, Trump tweeted on March 20.
John Solomon: As Russia Collusion fades, Ukrainian plot to help Clinton emerges. @seanhannity Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) [url=https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1108559080204001280?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw]March 21, 2019
Sytnyk played a central role in discovering and publishing secret records, nicknamedthe "black ledger,"with information about $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments made by Yanukovych's party to Manafort from 2007 and 2012. The anti-corruption bureau alleges that Yanukovych stole from Ukrainian taxpayers in order to pay Manafort. The former Trump campaign manager had worked as a political consultant for Yanukovych for years.
On Wednesday, a Swedish broadcaster revealed that a shell company that Yanukovych allegedly used for accepting bribes also made payments to a company, Inlord Sales LLP, which transferred funds to Manafort.
But some members of Ukraines governmentwho areeager to curry favor with the Trump administration to gain U.S. support in their ownfight against Russianinterferencehave tried to frame Sytnyks revelation about the payments to Manafortas an attempt to hurt Trumps campaign.
Previousreports suggestedthat Ukraine's government may have stopped cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Manafort so that the Trump administration would sell the country lethal weapons with which to defend itself from pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.And aUkraniancourtruledin Decemberlast year that the National Anti-Corruption Bureaus transparency efforts were an attempt to influence U.S. elections.

Olga Lautman, an investigator covering Russia and the former Soviet Union, toldNewsweekthat Lutsenko recently met with Trumps lawyer Rudy Giuliani in Washington, and that the efforts to create a narrative about people in Ukraine working to help Clinton and hurt Trumpwas coordinated withRepublican leaders.
Manafort is at the heart of this investigation and Lutsenko is investigating how Manaforts black ledger files were leaked and whether this was an attempt to sway the election in Hillary Clintons favor, Lautman toldNewsweek. This is all a very poorly orchestrated attempt between Prosecutor General Lutsenko, Trump, and the Republican Party, who are now vowing to open their own investigations into the matter to deflect from Russias attack on America to Ukraines involvement with Hillary Clinton.
Michael Carpenter,a former deputy assistant secretary of defense in charge of Russia and Ukraine, argues that an investigation into Manafort's work in Ukraine should not be politicized.
"It's outrageous that anyone would question the motive ofUkrainian authoritiesfor investigating Paul Manafortacorrupt politicalhackwho worked for Ukraine's disgraced, kleptocratic former president," Carpenter toldNewsweek."Manafort's a convicted felon who committed financial fraudin the United States, and he may havecommitted similarcrimes in Ukraine, so why wouldn't they investigate him? Even more appalling, however, is that the investigation was reportedly stymied by senior Ukrainianofficials becausethey thought it would upset Trump."

"Whetherthey arrivedat that conclusionon their own or whether Trump advisors like Rudy Giuliani helped guide them to that realization remains an open question," Carpenter added.
Conservative U.S. media have focused onU.S. ambassador to Ukraine Yovanovitch, pointing out that former President Barack Obama had appointed her.
Calls to remove former President Barack Obama's U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, have intensified over the last week as a scandal in Ukraine surrounding the 2016 U.S. presidential election has started to gain more attention, reads a March 24 article in the Daily Wire, a conservative website founded by political commentator Ben Shapiro.
The article citedclaimsthat former Congressman Pete Sessions had written a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asking for Yovanovitch to be removed.The U.S. presidents son Donald Trump Jr.then tweeted the article.
We need more ?@RichardGrenells and less of these jokers as ambassadors.

Calls Grow To Remove Obama's U.S. Ambassador To Ukraine https://t.co/0jgzp1ZqmU Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) March 24, 2019

We need more @RichardGrenells and less of these jokers as ambassadors. Calls Grow To Remove Obama's U.S. Ambassador To Ukraine, Donald Trump Jr. Tweeted, referring to Trumps pick for ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell. Grenell has been widely criticized for lacking experience and offending U.S. allies during his short tenure as U.S. ambassador to Germany.

Meanwhile, Ukraines National Anti-Corruption Bureau issued a statement saying Lutsenkos claims about U.S. election interference are an effort to discredit an independent anti-corruption agency.
The NABUs jurisdiction is to expose and eradicate corruption offenses committed by Ukrainian top-officials, the statement reads. Therefore, during the investigations, the NABU Detectives have never collected evidence as of illegal activities of Paul Manafort, as he was beyond the competence of the National Bureau. We remind that the NABUpublished information mentioning the presence of Paul Manaforts name among others on the pages of the so-called 'black ledger'in response to numerous requests from Ukrainian and foreign media in order to avoid any speculations.
Read the original text at Newsweek.
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