‘All the real records were burned when the party headquarters was set on fire…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) Investigative journalist John Solomon, the longtime Hill columnist who has been at the forefront of Ukraine coverage, helped launch a new media site with a major scoop to bolster the allegations that corrupt Ukrainian officials may have colluded with Democrats in the 2016 election to spread disinformation on then-GOP candidate Donald Trump.
Solomon reported for Just The News that a witness in the Mueller investigation affirmed that a document allegedly linking former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort to $12.7 million in kickback payments from Russian officials had been fabricated.
The document, referred to as the “black ledger,” mysteriously appeared in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev during the 2016 election. The New York Times reported on the ledger in August 2016, without raising any questions about its legitimacy.
But Manafort’s one-time business partner, Rick Gates, debunked its authenticity in an April 2018 deposition, Solomon reported.
“The black ledger was a fabrication,” Gates told Just The News. “It was never real, and this fact has since been proven true.”
According to Gates, when Viktor Yanukovych, a former president of Ukraine with whom Manafort conducted business, fled to Russia following a 2014 revolution, the records related to their business transactions were destroyed.
“All the real records were burned when the party headquarters was set on fire when Yanukovych fled the country,”Gates told investigators.
Solomon said several Ukrainian sources had confirmed Gates’ statements.
Manafort, who ultimately was convicted on a slew of process crimes related to tax fraud and money laundering, remains incarcerated.
Gates also was indicted on several counts but struck a plea deal with Mueller. In December 2019, he was sentenced to 45 days in prison and three years probation.
The Mueller investigation, which concluded in March 2019, determined there was insufficient evidence to establish that Trump and his campaign colluded with Russia.
However, Democrats and other anti-Trump operatives remain under scrutiny for their role in conspiring to sway the election and undermine Trump’s presidency with the false claims.
The Ukrainian embassy previously acknowledged that it had worked with a staffer for the Democratic National Committee, Alexandra Chalupa, to spread disinformation on Trump’s phony Russian collusion to media outlets.
Chalupa’s efforts paralleled those of Christopher Steele, a former British spy whose salacious claims against Trump, commissioned by the Hillary Clinton campaign, were used by the FBI as a pretense to spy on Trump campaign advisers.
The debunked Steele Dossier later was leaked to the media in an effort to undermine the legitimacy of the newly elected president.
Chalupa also maintained close ties to other deep-state Ukrainian activists, such as presumed anti-Trump whistleblower Eric Ciaramella.
Solomon’s previous reporting has linked Hunter Biden and other well-connected Burisma associates to lobbying efforts with the State Department following a 2016 raid on several locations connected with the Ukrainian energy company.
Roughly a month later, then-Vice President Joe Biden forced the firing of the investigating prosecutor after threatening to withhold a billion-dollar U.S. loan.
In addition to obtaining a tranche of open-records requests through the State Department that implicated Obama administration officials in the unethical dealings, Solomon obtained an affidavit from the fired Ukrainian prosecutor, Viktor Shokin.
Shokin’s statement affirmed that his termination and the “dormancy” of the Burisma probe both were directly related to Biden’s pressure on the Petro Poroshenko administration—a contradiction to the mainstream media claims that there was nothing worth investigating.
Solomon’s reporting struck such a nerve that House Democrats—led by Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff, D-Calif.,—have sought to threaten and discredit him.
As part of an intimidation campaign, Schiff subpoenaed Solomon’s phone records and publicly released them as part of his committee’s impeachment report—in what some have deemed flagrant violations of longstanding privacy policies and First Amendment press freedoms.