There was Black List first, then Black Mirror, and now we have a hot show coming to you straight from the Ukraine. A reality show, of course, because it involves yet another angle on the 2016 presidential election and campaign. The new show is called:

“Black Ledger.”

Or at least it should be, if it ever gets made into a documentary and then into an international, ostrich-coated, man-of-mystery spy thriller.

From tragedy to farce. But please this actually is interesting and could be quite important. The basic premise, based on a newly opened investigation with a new prosecutor, is that the DNC and Hillary campaign and even the Obama administration colluded with the Ukraine, and the investigation and prosecutor are Ukrainian, not beltway veterans.

I remember blogging here a couple of years ago on a strange event in the basement of Capitol Hill, I believe, that was set up to appear to its audience as the proceedings of the House or Senate. It was actually a meet and greet information session between some members of Congress and Ukrainian politicians. And the intended audience was Ukrainian of course. As the article had said, “Welcome to the strange world of Ukrainian politics.”

This latest investigation deals with the so-called black ledger detailing multi-million-dollar payments to Manafort which reportedly was found in an empty safe apparently belonging to former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych who was a close ally of Putin. The accusation seems to be that the ledger was leaked by Ukrainian security officials in order to push back against and discredit Yanukovych’s Russia-friendly policies. And also to help Hillary Clinton win the election.

Look, we’re dealing with a Ukrainian prosecutor – Yurii Lutsenko – who may have political axes to grind. Like the Russian intel sources for Steele’s dossier almost certainly had a disruptive agenda in mind when an ex-MI6 spy came a begging for some electoral dirt on Trump. Seeing many of them were former or current Russian intelligence officials themselves. So, skepticism is in order here. But here’s The Hill’s John Solomon back on Thursday:

We now have strong evidence that retired British spy Christopher Steele began his quest in what ultimately became the infamous Russia collusion dossier with a series of conversations with top Justice Department official Bruce Ohr between December 2015 and February 2016 about securing evidence against Manafort.

We know the FBI set up shop in the U.S. embassy in Kiev to assist its Ukraine–Manafort inquiry — a common practice on foreign-based probes — while using Steele as an informant at the start of its Russia probe. And we know Clinton’s campaign was using a law firm to pay an opposition research firm for Steele’s work in an effort to stop Trump from winning the presidency, at the same time Steele was aiding the FBI.

As well, we also have an interesting nexus between major American intel players and some foreign officials that may have been involved in a Democrat-Ukraine scheme to discredit Manafort (not a very tough objective to achieve, admittedly) and prevent Trump from winning the election.

The Atlantic Council.

The Atlantic Council is a Washington-based think tank with a clear interest in America’s relationship with Europe, both West and East. It in fact has an initiative promoting Ukraine’s move from a Russian ally to a Western European ally, in itself a good if somewhat tricky goal to have. So with Putin’s invasion of Crimea and it’s hybrid warfare in the Donetsk region in the east of Ukraine, suddenly the tension between NATO-led ambitions and Putin’s Kremlin became explicit and far more dangerous.

Enter Trump as a candidate who still professes a rather puzzling admiration for Putin, a distasteful authoritarian who likely has far more blood on his hands than is evident at first glance, and you can imagine alarm bells going off in places like the Atlantic Council. Guess who is a key member?

James Clapper.

As well a Ukrainian billionaire named Victor Pinchuk is or was also a member of the Atlantic Council. He’s also been a major contributor to the Clinton Foundation in the past. Here’s Elizabeth Vaughn at Red State:

Pinchuk serves on the International Advisory Board of a Washington-based think tank called the Atlantic Council. This group is “connected to Ukrainian interests through its “Ukraine in Europe Initiative,” which is designed to galvanize international support for an independent Ukraine within secure borders whose people will determine their own future.”

As well, as claimed in Dan Bongino’s book Spygate, Vaughn affirms:

Bongino discovered that the Chief Technology Officer of “the only company that investigated the hacking of the DNC’s servers and quickly determined it was the Russians, is a nonresident senior fellow in cybersecurity” at the Atlantic Council. His name is Dmitri Alperovitch.

Now it may be that Alperovitch turns out to be a Ukrainian (if he indeed is Ukrainian) well-versed in Russian hacking techniques, and just be a coincidence he happens to have been the perfect hire to investigate the DNC server hack.

There’s at least one more key player.

Alexandra Chalupa.

She’s an American-Ukrainian lawyer with ties to the DNC where she worked as a staffer/consultant from 2004 to 2016, as well as with the Clinton administration where she worked in the White House Office of Public Liaison. Apparently, as Elizabeth Vaughn tells it, she hated Manafort for his role in getting President Yanukovych re-elected in 2010 as well as for doing work for a pro-Russian Ukrainian political party. Here’s Vaughn writing at Red State:

In the spring of 2016, she worked feverishly to destroy Paul Manafort and to promote the theory that Trump was colluding with the Russians to win the presidency. Chalupa’s smear campaign involved journalists and diplomats as well as contacts inside the DNC.

Apparently Chalupa emailed a colleague at the DNC back in the summer of 2016 where she wrote:

they put me on the program specifically to speak about Paul Manafort and I invited Michael Isikoff who I’ve been working with for the past few weeks and connected him to the Ukrainians. More offline tomorrow since there is a big Trump component you and Lauren need to be aware of that will hit in the next few weeks.

This provides a fascinating backlight to America’s intel community and its role in the Russia probe. And it may have been driven in large part by Ukrainian pro-Western activists and their sympathizers in DC. Because if the world was a little less crazy right now, maybe we’d realize that the old Berlin Wall now runs through Eastern Ukraine and just West of the Crimean Peninsula. Of course, it’s also true that Putin is no Brezhnev nor a Khrushchev, never mind Stalin. And Russia is a far cry from the Soviet Union. So we don’t focus on the conflict in the Ukraine the way we did for example during the Berlin Airlift in the late 40’s. Or when the wall went up at the start of the 60’s.

But to people like Alexandra Chalupa, and perhaps even people like James Clapper, Russian aggression against the Ukraine is almost the equivalent of the Soviet Invasion of Hungary or Czechoslovakia back in 1956 and 1968. And that made them willing to destroy Paul Manafort and attempt to discredit and even destroy Candidate Trump. And President Trump.

Elizabeth Vaughn will be blogging more on this at Red State. We should all pay attention and perhaps buy Bognino’s book. It adds a possible motivation to the Trump Resistance that hasn’t been directly talked about, beyond comments on his seemingly strange admiration for Putin. But this has more to do with the goal of a politically and culturally Western Ukraine.

And it has to do with a global, NATO-led and US-led world order. The kind that Bush 41 envisioned and worked quite skillfully to achieve as the Berlin Wall came down. And the kind that President Trump has little patience for.

No wonder they still want to destroy him in places like The Atlantic Council.

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