Russia, Ukraine, and the Trump scandals

Photo: TheDuran.com

Photo: TheDuran.com 

Analysis & Opinion

Article by: Vitaly Portnikov

Ukraine has been thrust into the US political arena again in connection with the scandal surrounding the publication of the email correspondence of the US president’s older son Donald Trump Jr. and his meeting with Natalia Veselnitskaya, a lawyer close to the Russian government.

Lindsey Graham, known for his tough stance on the Kremlin, asked the nominee for FBI director, Christopher Wray, about the possible “interference” by Ukraine in the presidential election campaign. The same article on the Politico online portal that was mentioned by Senator Graham is being cited by conservative commentators sympathetic to the Trump family. The essence of these comments is about the same as in the article — to prove that “everyone is doing it.”  Even if Republicans have resorted to questionable Russian sources to receive compromising information on the former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Democrats have sought the help of Ukrainians to compromise Trump.

I have no doubt that such tactics may be important in shaping public opinion. Even though it is not at all clear why this public opinion needs to be shaped under conditions of such obvious polarization in the United States. In any case, supporters of Donald Trump are not going to pay attention  to any allegations against their idol — even if these allegations are supported by concrete, undeniable facts. Furthermore, I would argue that even if the accumulation of these facts led to the impeachment of Trump, his fans would be convinced that the real estate tycoon was the victim of the “conspiracy of the Washington elite,” not simply against Trump but against the “little guy” whose interests, for some unknown reason, the eccentric billionaire has decided to defend.

As for Clinton’s supporters, they do not need to prove anything. They are already convinced that Trump is a Russian agent and that Putin has indisputable compromising material on the billionaire. This is why the American president acts like a fool in front of his Russian colleague and calls meetings with him “a great honor.” He is simply afraid, and no proof is needed here.

Therefore, the exchange of allegations and reports on sympathetic TV channels will add little. But from a legal  point of view, the attempt to equate Russian and Ukrainian “contributions” to the elections may turn out to be another trap for the US president and his entourage — especially if the circumstances that were outlined in the notorious Politico article attract the interest of the FBI.

It is obvious that the Embassy of Ukraine in the United States and other officials in Ukraine would refute any possibility that Kyiv participated in the US election campaign. But let’s take a look at what Ukraine is accused of. The Ukrainian diplomatic mission is accused of cooperating with Alexandra Chalupa, an American of Ukrainian descent and a “contractor” with the Democratic National Committee, who helped collect compromising information on Paul Manafort, who was Trump’s campaign manager at the time.

But the fact that Ukraine was providing such information was not a secret even during the election campaign. Information that Manafort’s name appeared in the so-called “secret ledger” of the Party of Regions could not have been made public without the knowledge of government officials. The press conference where allegedly compromising information on Manafort was made public was also held by an official person — Verkhovna Rada Deputy Serhii Leshchenko, who is believed to have good relations with Viktor Pinchuk, one of the friends or even sponsors of the Clinton family in Ukraine. But Leshchenko did not hold his press conference in a mask. He spoke about his accusations against Manafort openly. And, by the way, it was under the pressure of these allegations that Manafort had to leave the Trump campaign, since even then the political consultant turned out to be toxic for the future winner of the presidential election.

But, at the same time, no one in Ukraine spoke about Manafort’s possible connections with Moscow, only about his professional and informal relations with Viktor Yanukovych, Rinat Akhmetov, and the leadership of the Party of Regions. Ukraine did not have and could not have had any information about Manafort’s contacts with Russians. From the presented facts it was possible simply to reach the empirical conclusion that Manafort’s contacts with the “Regionals” must have brought him closer to communication with the Kremlin. Most of all, the information provided did not touch the person of Donald Trump; at most, it pointed to negligent staffing by a businessman engaging in grand politics.  Therefore, if the FBI really takes up the “Ukrainian trail” in the matter of the US elections, in the best case scenario for the Trump team, it may or may not reveal Manafort’s contacts with Ukrainian “Regionals,” but in the worst case, it may reveal the former campaign manager’s contacts with the Kremlin. That, in fact, is the extent of Ukraine’s role — real or imaginary.

Russia’s role is quite different. First, the representatives of the Trump campaign concealed their contacts with Russians who  promised to help them with information on Hillary Clinton. And this was not only the case with the previously unknown Veselnitskaya, but with the Russian Ambassador Kislyak. Neither Trump’s son, nor his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, nor the Attorney General Sessions, nor the former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, nor Manafort — practically no one revealed these contacts even when it came to filling out official documents and answering questions by members of Congress. Of course, when these contacts were revealed later, they claimed that all this was completely unimportant, that they had forgotten, that there was nothing — about the same arguments that Donald Trump Jr. is using now in response to the exposure of his contacts with Veselnitskaya. But the fact remains that these people did not want their contacts to be known.

Secondly, Russia has not revealed any data from “secret ledgers.” But “someone” was able to penetrate the email of the National Committee of the Democratic Party and another “someone” was able to carry out hacking attacks during the election. Practically no one in the US establishment doubts that it was the Kremlin. Even Donald Trump himself, who maintained for a long time that Russia was not involved, admitted that he did, however, ask Vladimir Putin about it during the meeting in Hamburg that the US president characterized as “wonderful.” And, so far, the US President has continued to try to minimize Russia’s role in the election campaign, arguing that other countries could have engaged in hacker attacks. Although no traces of other countries have been found in the United States. And no Ukrainian traces either.

Every country, naturally, wants for the head of an allied state to be a political figure sympathetic to it. There is no need to pretend otherwise. But Ukraine has never had Russia’s technical capabilities nor its insolence. Ukraine cannot even defend itself against Russian attacks, much less want to interfere somewhere. That is why Ukraine simply cannot be “another Russia” even if it wants to. Not to mention the fact that Ukrainian politicians, unlike the Russian ones, are simply forced to consider the consequences of their actions because these consequences will have an impact on their country and on their own electoral prospects. And Putin is not interested in either one or the other.

This is why all attempts to shift  US attention from Moscow to Kyiv appear as the need to conceal information that is really significant for US national security from the public. And this can only bring shame to those who are participating in this effort.

Translated by: Anna Mostovych
Source: Liga.net

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  • Robert

    Well said, Mr. Portnikov, well said. We can only hope that you are heard beyond this forum…

  • Screwdriver

    Zrada is everythere, poor Portnikov , how he can sleep at night ?

    • Brent

      Kind of like “Bandera” to you Russo Nazzi trolls….

  • zorbatheturk

    Stomp the Putinator.

  • Микола Данчук

    But the State Department ( US Embassy ) knew of Manafort’s dealings long before any “secret ledger”!
    To think that American Intelligence Agencies were ignorant of Manafort and his connections would be dubious at best.
    And didn’t Manafort meet Republican Congressmen when he was promoting Yanuks run for Ukraine’s Presidency?

    • Ihor Dawydiak

      Just a thought. Donald Trump must be experiencing the “wedgie” of all “wedgies” as he tries to straddle the fence on Russo-Ukrainian affairs while at the same time trying to extract himself from Putin the Pederast’s handshake.

      • Микола Данчук

        I’m waiting for the Treasury Dept. and Ethics Council to get some cojones.

        • Ihor Dawydiak

          That may not be necessary as one-third of the US Senate will stand for re-election in 2018. With that being the case, both Trump and Putin will have more than enough reasons to be concerned although for different reasons.

          • Микола Данчук

            I would prefer that it not be a political issue, his crimes aren’t.

  • Eolone

    Why did Alexandra Chalupa zero in on Manafort? Does the author of this article even know? She was following Manafort ever since he got to Ukraine a decade or more before. So, it’s not as though she had a revelation about him when she approached the Ukrainian Embassy for information. (Unlike the Trump election committee, Chalupa was not directed to seek out this information. This was a person decision; and, for Chalupa, it was to obtain more on a known snake.) Neither was she the only one investigating Manafort. During the US campaign, the chief Ukrainian anti-corruption investigator revealed his investigation into Manafort’s secret payment by Yanukovych. The author makes it sound as though Chalupa first found out about Manafort through the Ukrainian government. This is not so.

  • albertphd

    Frankly, I’ve followed this website since it was created and I now see that with the new personnel in charge it’s fast becoming an anti-American anti-Trump AND pro-Clinton pro-US Democrat propaganda site!

    I say “anti-American” because the obstructionist viewpoints of the US Pro-Democrats are contrary to the vital interests of the American people but serve only the private self-serving interests of the extremely intolerant and godless left! Just as the right-wing McCarthy movement in the 1950s believed everyone who even spoke with a Communist was better off ‘dead than Red’, so likewise these left-wing fanatics believe that everyone who dares to speak with a Russian needs to be investigated under an Inquisition!

    Here you have Pan Vitaly Portnikov describing the sitting US President Donald J. Trump as: ” an idol,” “eccentric billionaire”, one who “acts like a fool”, and one who is “simply afraid” of Putin because, says Mr. Portnikov “no proof is needed here”?! Is this conclusion impartial journalism? !

    Meanwhile, as to the Party of his choice, the Lefties from La-la Land (aka, US Democrats), Portnikov blatantly states: “As for Clinton supporters, they do not need to prove anything”! Really?!

    What kind of witch hunt or kangaroo court is this? That an otherwise intelligent and gifted writer as Mr. Portnikov (once was? !) should dare to publish such slurs and slanders against a bona-fide US President, a President (may I remind all readers) who donates all of his $1000 USD per day salary to charity, as do his Assistants Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner! Does any Democrat dare to do the same? No! They simply spew FAKE “concrete and undeniable facts” as Mr. Portnikov has just done!

    But their behavior (as unbalanced reporters) is none other than that of ‘village curs who bark simply because their neighbors do’!

    • Turtler

      With respect mate, I’ve followed this even longer, and what i can say is “You’ve just noticed this NOW?” This has been going on for about a year and a half now. I watched it, I saw it, and I vocally objected to it without ever wavering from my commitment to Ukraine.

      In particular, I utterly crucified Goble and one of his rent an-analyist for making the dire, Stupid mistake of trying to compare the Trump-Putin summit to the Bolshevik-German Treaty of Rapallo apparently without recognizing that a Summit is different from a Treaty, let alone reading the fajorking things.

      The turning point for me was the way one article advocated throwing Savchenko under the bus using nothing more substantial (at least in the article_ than innuendo, and that was nearly a year ago.

      So, I have to ask: where were you?

      • albertphd

        Thanks Turtler! You’re right on!
        Actually, I’ve noticed this some time ago as well (ever since the Demos lost the US Election last 9th November 2016!)! But I’ve seen since March 2015 when the US House voted 7 to 1 to give Ukraine lethal weapons (for Defence purposes) that Obama used his Presidential Executive Order to block that action!

        The Demos (some say ‘Demons’?!) have given only lip service to Ukraine in these past 3 years!

        Why Trump has already approved $150 million USD for lethal weapons to Ukraine & $410 million for additional aid as well! (partly the result of Poroshenko’s drop-in visit this past 20th June!). Obama’s less than $600 million to Ukraine in total for the past 3 years of this ATO conflict doesn’t compare to the amount in lethal weapons he gave to his (supposed) Muslim brothers in Syria!

        I wonder why does the Maidan site allow only pro-Demo anti-Trump messages to be published here? I wonder as well: who’s paying their bills? Doesn’t the fact that thousands of trusting Ukrainians have died trying to defend their country (with out-dated weapons) mean anything to this site?! Have they totally forgotten the price of Freedom? Or have the Demos bought their vote?!

        • kev

          I have sometimes written pro Trump responses on other articles on this site, and my material gets deleted. So I am very pleasantly surprised that these refreshing responses today have not been deleted. Maybe there is hope yet.

          • Eolone

            A whole 5 comments? All your other comments were deleted? And you joined in June. Kev, is there something we don’t see?

          • kev

            I actually did not join in June. I have been reading articles from euromaidan, since 2014, and finally officially subscribed to receive articles directly to my email, in January 2016. However I never said anything, again, because I don’t do internet that much. Last year I stopped reading for a long time, because I was angry about the anti-Trump, pro-Hillary stuff that dominates 90% of the time, but I finally decided to start actually responding in June…..

            And for the record, I don’t expect everyone to love the President. As you said, you don’t like either him or Hillary, and that is fine by me. There are many reasons to dislike him. But I just hate blind loyalty, without reason. I voted for the President, not only because I liked a lot of his advocated policies, but because I ABSOLUTELY HATE the democratic party, because of their policies on issues like abortion, terrorism, religious liberty, etc. I could NEVER vote for a democrat, unless the option was to vote for a mass murderer. And for me, it is hard to understand how anybody can look at Hillary Clinton positively after her destruction of Libya, her vote for the Iraq war, her laughing about Gaddafi’s murder, her culpability in Benghazi, her hostility to Christians, her hostility to helpless babies in the womb etc. But that’s just me. I don’t hate anybody for voting democratic, but I am astounded when people think it is ok to attack others, just because those others do not choose to vote for a corrupt, vicious, rudderless party like the democratic party.

            Only someone who hates the United States or doesn’t care about it, would want a corrupt monster like Hillary Clinton to be President. I love Ukraine, but I love my country more. And even from the perspective of Ukraine, I don’t see what Obama did for Ukraine. He was a weak, pathetic, unreliable leader who Putin rolled over and humiliated, to his benefit. I was angry at Obama all along, when he refused to allow weapons be sent to Ukraine, took a soft stance on the invasion of Crimea, and generally spoke big, meaningless words, while Putin carved up Ukraine. That’s ALL Obama ever did. TALK, TALK, TALK!!!!! And yet, somehow Ukraineans seemed to automatically believe that the democratic party would work for their interests, better than the republicans, so much so, that they actually ended up working to help defeat Trump. And the bad thing is that Trump KNOWS that, now.

            So all along, I just scratched my head, shook my head and said nothing. Today I was energized when I saw other people speaking freely, and giving intelligent facts and points, without the usual anti-Trump abuse that dominates this site usually…… the moderator today on this particular article seems to be a bit more democratic (no pun intended :) ) and permissive of different opinions. I have spoken on another page before, where someone was attacking me aggressively with the usual name calling that liberals always engage in, and when I would reply with my own long responses, some of my remarks would show, but about 50% of my postings were deleted. Hopefully this particular post will not be deleted.

          • kev

            Ha ha, I replied a long one to you but it got deleted, as is normally the case. Maybe this one will get deleted too…..lol…

    • Микола Данчук

      Would it cross your mind that Trump is anti-American?
      Think about it really!

      • albertphd

        Mikola, think about what you write before you write it, please! What does it mean to be anti-American?
        you have only to look at the extremely biased and self-serving actions of the Demos for that answer!

        Here’s food for thought:All the FAKE media bias aside, Jonathan Swift said it best (which may aptly be applied to the current US President):

        “When a TRUE genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are ALL in confederacy against him”!

        • Микола Данчук

          Sorry, I was not blinded nor am I mentally insecure!
          Ask the Russians what their genius has done to them.

          • albertphd

            No, I’m the one who’s sorry here, Mikola. I did not intend to slight your point of view! Nor would I dare to use an ad hominem against your position (that is, name-calling). I truly apologize if my words led you to that conclusion.

            Nor, would I assume any clear-thinking person (including yourself) to be ‘blind’ to the anti-American position of the anti-Trump left-wing Party. And most assuredly I would NEVER call you ‘mentally insecure’. That’s outside the box of polite discourse!

            It’s just that I fail to see (in all good faith!) how anyone (aside from the looney left, of course! ) could think of the Trump family as anti-American! I’ve gone on record to publicly claim that IF the Trump family were the worst family in the USA (as the Demos adamantly assert), that America would ALREADY be Great!

            I am not 71 years old as President Trump is yet despite my rather high moral values, I’m ashamed to admit that I would never give myself to America in true dedication as Trump has (given his wealth and life of ease) to serve the greatest country on earth! I take my hat off to the Trump family and have nothing but admiration and deep respect for their loyalty to the American prople and for those (as, for example, the unborn) who cannot defend themselves! God bless Trump, his family, and all Americans who support them!

            As to Putin, I don’t see him donating ALL his salary to charity or to help his own people (to any extent as Trump is truly helping his own country)! Do you?! There is a saying (from Hamlet) that aptly describes Putin:

            “One may smile, and smile, and be a villain”!

          • Eolone

            Great admiration for the Trump family! Trump has been associated with the mob for decades. The Trump’s hail Made in America, but their products are made in overseas’ sweatshops. Trump used his (other people’s) charities to pay off business debts, paid for portraits of himself, etc., had to be shamed to release charity marked for veterans, sexually abused women; but the religious right love him, rank and file Republicans love him. Where are the coal jobs promised? Do you expect a study of the 90 day ban? They had far more than 90 days to study the “problem”. Who is doing this study? It’s all smoke and mirrors. Do you believe all Trump’s tweets?

          • albertphd

            Eolone, you say “it’s all smoke & mirrors” what the Republican message is all about (quoting clear examples of the Clinton campaign from their Clinton Foundation abuses to Bill Clinton’s Monica Lewinsky sex scandals, etc.) There was no clear sex scandal involving ANY of the Trump family that I’m aware of?!

            But I’m not here to pass judgment on any one tweeting, Democrat or Republican! I simply look at the results of their respective achievements for the greater good of the American people! I fail to see anything that the Demos have achieved to date that comes close to what Trump has achieved since 20 January 2017! Can you help me here? please list all the Demos have achieved in the pasr 8 years?!

            Can’t think of any?! Do check out Liz Wheeler’s site if you have a moment! She correctly lists all the things the Demos accuse against Trump as the very things the Demos themselves are guilty of! As this subject interests you, you should find it interesting to say the least! Cheers!

          • Eolone

            Is it easy to forget Trump’s recorded conversation on the bus on how he had been able to grope women?

            So, what are those great things Trump has achieved since January? Reports are that he is behind other recent presidents in signing bills. With Republicans obstructing Obama for six years, there was not much to point at. But in the first two years of Obama’s administration came the ACA. Also the Iran matter done successfully.

          • albertphd

            Trump’s one brief fantasy statement about one attractive woman stated privately in a bus when the recorders were supposed to be turned off (when he was single and unmarried MANY YEARS ago! and not even a Presidential Candidate or politician) doesn’t amount to a Federal Supreme Court indictment, nor does it in compare in the least to Bill Clinton’s oral sex with Monica Lewinsky WHEN HE WAS A SITTING USA PRESIDENT and married to Hillary Clinton at the time!

            Bill Clinton initially denied to the media that he had sex with Lewinsky, even when Lewinsky confessed to this act with the US President!

            At least,Trump admitted that his ‘locker room’ conversation was off-color and apologized for it! He never denied it! But he asked for forgiveness for engaging in a topic that construction workers in the real estate industry, for instance, still say and joke about ALL the time! So, what’s there to remember?

            As to the Iran deal, you’ve got to be joshing with me, Eolone?! How can you dare to say that this deal was successful, when as all the world knows, Obama gave Iran $150 billion to simply sign a piece of paper that they will not use their nuclear technology for nuclear weapons, even secretly or privately, and that they will not sell or trade this technology with other rogue nations, or terrorist states?! And you trust them?

            You talk about Republicans obstructing Obama as an excuse for a relatively non-successful Presidency. So, what do you call these extremely vague and wholly unsubstantiated accusations that the Demos are throwing at Trump? If not totally blatant obstructionism?!
            There still has not been a single Demo accusation against trump that condemns or incriminates him of anything! And how many millions of US tax dollars have been spent so far following this wild goose chase?! What’s deplorable is not the hard-working Republicans who follow Trump and who voted for his agenda; but what is truly deplorable is the way these Demos STILL waste tax dollars chasing pipe dreams!

            I will agree that I secretly had hoped that Obama in the first few months of his first year in his first term would really make a difference and try to help Americans to come together to ‘make America Great Again’?! But he failed so miserably that the debt rose from $8.5 trillion (when he took Office in November 2008) to almost $21 trillion (when Obama left office in January 2017)!

            As to Trump’s record, simply check it out on FOX News or on You Tube in the Trump network site! It’s way too extant and over-whelming to even enumerate on this comment page. Be prepared to sit down, as the achievements are the greatest in the shortest time of any US President in History that I know of (all FAKE Media claims to the contrary!). Seeing is believing!

            But I agree with your underlying claim or insinuation that OBSTRUCTIONISM whether from the Republicans or Democrats against Trump, or any other US President, is contrary to the American way, the American spirit, and does not in any way help the business of America or the American People themselves to become GREAT again!

          • kev

            Absolutely 100% correct. Couldn’t have said it better. They have given up a life of privilege, power and favour, to become victims of vile abuse and constant hatred. I also would not given up what he did, to be President. Too much sacrifice, considering the bloodsport that politics has become in our country. Especially when the loony left/democrats do not get what they want.

          • Микола Данчук

            If in effect your support is so rigged in its affirmation, so what!
            We all are entitled to our own views and personally I could care less of yours!

          • albertphd

            Mykola, you’re right: we all are entitled to our own views but I think it a shame that the left (your party OBVIOUSLY! ) has become intolerant of any view but their own, which you have captured perfectly in this reply in which you say: “I could care less of” your point of view! Sad, I think, that your answer has become the typical pro-Democrat response! No sensible logical rationale here!

          • Микола Данчук

            OBVIOUSLY you have no clue about anything!
            Sad, your wasting my time!

          • albertphd

            Ditto! your abusive approach to constructive meaningful dialogue proves my point: How sad that the only response Pro-Demos can make to a solid Republican position is to irrationally claim that it’s obvious the opposing point of view has “no clue about anything”!

            What appears OBVIOUS, Sir, is that you have not taken a single course in even basic logic! And that deduction is ‘elementary my dear Watson!’

            So, yes, please STOP wasting my time! Ditto!

          • Микола Данчук

            I’m not the one assuming!
            I’m not the one insinuating!
            Logically one would have stopped pissing on ones self after getting wet!

          • albertphd

            Mikola Danchuk, Sir, try to restrain yourself, if possible! (As I said from square one: think before you speak! Good advice to the wise!)

            In logical discourse, one does not attack the person of the messenger, but keeps to the parameters of the point of discussion (i.e., Mr. Vitaliy Portnikov’s article on this site).

            To continue to belittle ‘the person’ of the commentator (through insinuations and assumptions as you have) is referred to as an “ad hominem”, a type of logical fallacy. Even First Year Informal Logic students know to avoid this fallacy. I have only expressed an opinion of this article (which you earlier correctly indicated is something we are ALL entitled to do even if we are Republicans, right?!).

            Kindly, keep to the script, if you wish to discuss anything (intelligently). Thank YOU!

          • Микола Данчук

            And the wheels on a bus go round and round!

        • kev

          True.

    • kev

      I agree entirely with you. This site has become another arm of the democratic party. Very sad.

      • Eolone

        It appears like an arm of the Democrats because, except for a troll now and then, not many conservatives post here. Somethings you need to look at underlying causes. As for myself, I detest both the Trumps and the Clintons. At least one of my prior posts mentions this. Look it up if you want.