The Wall Street Journal’s (WSJ) James Freeman observed Monday that Hillary Clinton is now joining Joe Biden in the “new spotlight” on the United States’ relations with Ukraine.
Freeman, the assistant editor of the WSJ’s editorial page, noted that Republican Sens. Chuck Grassley (IA) and Ron Johnson (WI) wrote Monday morning to Attorney General William Barr, asking if he has come up with any answers to the question of whether the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Hillary Clinton 2016 presidential campaign used the government of Ukraine “for the express purpose of finding negative information on then-candidate Trump in order to undermine his campaign.”
Grassley originally wrote in July 2017 regarding whether the DNC and the Clinton campaign had used the Ukraine government in order to sabotage the Trump campaign.
The senators continued:
That letter also highlighted news reports that, during the 2016 presidential election, “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 suggest[ing] they were investigating the matter[.]” Ukrainian officials also reportedly “helped Clinton’s allies research damaging information on Trump and his advisers.”
The plan involved Alexandra Chalupa, reportedly a “Ukrainian-American operative” consulting for the DNC.
Chalupa “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,” Grassley and Johnson wrote to Barr.
“The quotations come from a 2017 story in Politico, hardly a pro-Trump outfit,” Freeman, co-author of Borrowed Time, observed, noting the headline, “Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump backfire.”
“Kiev officials are scrambling to make amends with the president-elect after quietly working to boost Clinton,” was the subheading, he pointed out.
Politico authors Kenneth Vogel and David Stern wrote in that article:
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.
The goal of Ukraine’s reported aid to Clinton was to advance “the narrative that Trump’s campaign was deeply connected to Ukraine’s foe to the east, Russia.”
With the benefit of hindsight and the results of the Mueller investigation, it’s now clear that there was no evidence of Trump campaign collusion with Russia. What is not clear and what demands further investigation is how this baseless claim managed to consume the first two years of an American presidency.
Though the idea of such an effort by Ukraine appeared unlikely to some, Vogel and Stern insisted:
Politico’s investigation found evidence of Ukrainian government involvement in the race that appears to strain diplomatic protocol dictating that governments refrain from engaging in one another’s elections.
Freeman concluded the Politico investigation “may be helpful in figuring out exactly how the surveillance tools of America’s national security apparatus were turned against the party out of power in 2016.”