The Ukrainian Ex-Prosecutor Behind the Impeachment Furor

President Trump’s allies sought help from a prosecutor with no formal legal training and a long history of wielding the law in personal battles.

Comments: 224

  1. All this article does is make it more than clear that Donald Trump's personal attorney, the ex-Mayor, Rudy Giuliani, is the State Department's "fixer." And he has one hell of a nerve calling anyone "liar." "Mr. Lutsenko said that he told Mr. Giuliani from the start that there was no basis for a case against Mr. Biden or his son." And so, from smoke and mirrors, dawns the beginning of the end of the presidency of No. 45. This is all playing out beyond the hopeful fantasies of Vladimir Putin. He has on the line a president who isn't good for his debts; a man who owes his presidency to Russia; is now staring down the long barrel of impeachment; a personal lawyer who can't keep his mouth shut and whose word is as good as his client's. Putin covered his tracks like the KGB operative he once was (and still is ). The American president has been undressed, used and is about to be cashiered. He has no more favors to sell to Putin, who no longer needs Donald Trump. America is in chaos and directionless. What more could Putin have desired? And it all began with political instability and corruption in the Ukraine. Just like we have here, and have had, since January 21, 2017. Yuriy Lutsenko had "no grounding in the law." In that he's the perfect match with Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal lawyer. What else could go wrong?

  2. It won't be too long before Giuliani and Trump ask Putin for refuge. Snowdon might not appreciate that kind of company, but Russia's a big place.

  3. Amazing how corrupt, stupid and naive Giuliani is. Her barely resemble the intrepid NYC Mayor that banned pet ferrets.

  4. @Larry The Mayor who cavorted publicly with a mistress while his wife was still living in the Mayor's mansion. Of course nothing compares to the deaths of 300 firefighters who were denied funds for radios which would have received warnings from the NYPD helo outside the Tower. Then we had Bernie Kerrick in an apt. which remained safe. Later Kerrick joined the brutal corrupt staff in an Iraq prison where he witnessed young girls being raped and innocent Iraqis forced to face snarling dogs, and to climb on top of one another.

  5. First Lewinsky......and now Zelinsky!!!

  6. @Harry get Dubinsky and we can have a Mel Brooks comedy.

  7. In other words, the US mob asks the Ukrainian mob to deliver Biden's (political) head. The only mild surprise is the clumsiness of the perpetrators, witness the backstabbing "Liar" statement as this fell apart.

  8. Blow the whistles and save this country.

  9. This article gives me a pause to think, who is more corrupt here, the Ukrainian Prosecutor or Trump & Giuliani.

  10. this whole mess is just thickening around trump like slow-drying cement

  11. @slightlycrazy A beautiful image.

  12. Giuliani and Trump got played by Mr. Lutsenko. Corruption breeding corruption. The United States trying to play by a fledging Eastern European country’s mafia rules.

  13. @Jim Truly. No one does corruption like the Russians and Ukrainians. Rudy and Orange are way over their skis here.

  14. Rudy would be wise to know that it won’t be long now before Trump himself will call him a liar.

  15. The dominos are falling!

  16. Unlike, say, the Democrats going after President Trump ...

  17. At first glance, there is some resemblance to ag barr...does anyone else notice that?

  18. Giuliani and Trump seem to view Ukraine as a sort of "client" state that they can bend to their purposes. At the same time they clearly regard the U.S. Constitution as a mere "piece of paper."

  19. @Marc Ukraine is a client state of the US, and has been for far longer than Trump being in office.

  20. @Viv Not even remotely true.

  21. Giuliani & Lutsenko: birds of a feather.

  22. Donald Trump has heaped praise on Yuriy Lutsenko, Ukraine’s former (fired) prosecutor general. This Mr. Lutsenko is a politician who has no formal legal training and who has a long history of wielding the law as a weapon in his personal political battles. Most senior European diplomats say that Mr. Lusenko is corrupt and not credible. He was fired because of his corruption. Mr. Lutsenko is Rudy Giuliani’s BFF and Rudy say Yuriy is the man Donald Trump embraces for investigating “Joe and Hunter Biden’s crimes in Ukraine”. Trump wishes that Mr. Lutsenko was an American citizen. With his background of incompetence, unreliability and corruption, Lutsenko could have been a perfect fit for any position in Trump’s Cabinet.

  23. On July 25 President Trump spoke highly of Mr. Lutsenko and pushed to have "claims" previously made by Mr. Lutsenko investigated. Then, just yesterday Mr. Giuliani called Mr. Lutsenko a "liar"? It looks like Trump and Giuliani got played in a major way by Lutsenko. The bottom just fell out of Trumps beef with the Bidens!

  24. @Andy the roof is falling in on Trump.

  25. @Andy How so? This profile does not make Lutsenko look good, or support Biden's claim that Lutsenko is a "solid" guy who was correct to exonerate his son.

  26. @Viv No one exonerated Hunter Biden because he was never under investigation. What did happen was that the dormant case against Burisma, which was politically motivated and had no basis to begin with, was closed.

  27. “The enemy of my enemy is my friend” never rang truer or uglier with the grand old sycophants. Hey Donald! The walls are crumbling you all minded tyrant. The curtains are being pulled back and fewer are buying into Trump’s bullying and schtick.

  28. Criminals, corrupt politicians and those with nefarious goals have a way of finding one another. It is sad to see that nearing the end of what had been a storied career in public service, it seems that Rudy Giuliani's professional and personal lives share a level of tawdriness that leaves even casual onlookers feeling ashamed and dirty

  29. @LaGruel, I'm not sure how much of Giuliani's career was storied or how much ws super hyped. I can't get over his romantic scandals that were over the top. He was just loud and a bully.

  30. In his professional life, he is a hero. In his personal life, well ... it is New York.

  31. @Erin, he was a hero.

  32. It is only natural that Trump and Giuliani would gravitate toward a corrupt prosecutor with no experience other than political dirty tricks: birds of a feather.

  33. Obviously, Trump should be removed from his job. Maybe Zalensky too, if Ukrainians think that his president is Trump's employee. But the noise is so great that nobody will give Giuliani his day in court. Being Trump's lawyer does not give him security clearances and, is it legal that a private US citizen to perform and deliver US diplomacy? Is this country that lawless? After Trump, there will be still "trumpism". It seems irreversible to me. The gap is too big and too wide

  34. @Aurace Rengifo Ukrainians have far more different and far more important to be annoyed at Zelensky as roughly 10,000 people showed up to protest his agreeing to the Steinmeier formula. Zelensky just wanted to keep the aid and weapons flowing to Ukraine so it could continue to fight the war against Russia. It sickens me that he has been dragged into the sewer that is #DementiaDonnie and his minions.

  35. @Aurace Rengifo Errata: "...his president" should read "their president"

  36. Why do Republicans side with corrupt foreign officials over their own career diplomats who are looking after America’s interests?

  37. @James, because Republicans care more about themselves than America's interests.

  38. @James It would appear that the Republican interest are not necessarily the same as the American interest.

  39. Not career diplomats

  40. It appears that R.G. knowingly violated laws regarding foreign influence in U.S. elections. He has been around long enough to know better. He cannot claim ignorance. He must be prosecuted and imprisoned the same as Flynn and Manafort and Cohen. There cannot be any favoritism.

  41. Which law?

  42. Indeed. I don’t understand how he is walking around, a free man, with all we know already.

  43. @Erin It is illegal for the US president to seek or accept help from a foreign person and, especially, a government, for any campaign purposes. It violates US election law.

  44. It would help enormously if the Democrats moved on from the Obama period, and that includes Joe Biden. It lets Trump and his cronies drag on and on their fixation with both Change the agenda and take the American people with you and he won’t be able to cope, he’ll be shown for the one trick pony he is.

  45. @Alister Grigg I suspect, that if the Democrats "Move on ..from Joe Biden", Trump incorporated will just smear and slime, the next Democratic frontrunner. That's just the way Donald Trump , and his sidekick Giuliani work.

  46. There are so many corrupt people in this story that it's a bit hard to follow. Poroshenko owned Lutsenko and they were, apparently, both corrupt. But Poroshenko acquiesced to Biden's demands that he fire the previous prosecutor, Shokin, who was said to be corrupt although his job was to investigate the corruption of Burisma, led by a corrupt former minister in the previous corrupt pro-Russian administration. Lots of people are (said to be) corrupt in Ukraine. So the question is who to believe? Should one believe a known liar when his stories shore up our beliefs? Also it is well-known that people feed reporters or politicians the stories that may serve them. It seems too many "political animals" in the US want to enlist Ukrainian political animals or tell them how to jump.

  47. From our oldest ally

  48. @Pierre Shokin's tenure on the job was 15 months before he was replaced. Lutsenko lasted for about the same time. As a contrast to this interview, look at what he said to The Hill, back in March, before this became a big story. Quite a contrast from the claims that Obama administration gave me a no-prosecution list and withheld promised funds from my office, no? No one is believable, so the claims of Hunter's exoneration are lies. Nobody without a stake in the outcome has ever investigated this matter.

  49. @Pierre I laughed as I read your summary, which so eloquently describes the craziness of all this!! Great!

  50. How uncharacteristic of the Trump team, to throw somebody under the bus! Watch out, Rudy -- and Mike Pompeo. You're next. And Jared Kushner will become Acting Secretary of State, Acting because there will then be no need to confirm his appointment. Though Mitch would do it in a heartbeat if Trump threatened to primary him. Those who cross The Donald, sleep with the political fishes!

  51. When has Trump told the truth? Who has survived reputation intact working for Trump? Who trusts Giuliani? Who believes Lindsey Graham? Who feels the GOP has the integrity to deal with President Trump? Will the senate grow up under Leader Mitch McConnell?

  52. @S B Lewis The answer to your question about he Senate growing up is simply no. McConnell is just as corrupt as the rest of them. It is like Lemmings jumping off a cliff. They would rather jump off the cliff with Trump than admit or recognize their own falterings. It is a sad day indeed where this country has ended up. Other countries have lost all respect of us, because of people like this bunch.

  53. @S B Lewis the same gop which supported mcconnell's persistent disregard for regular order, winked at trump's birther disregard for truth. trump run amok merely personifies the republican party gone past the tipping point of corruption. read henry james' entry on richmond, va in his 'the american scene'. fox news joins the alternate reality strategies of the confederacy with the propaganda tactics of the nazis. throw in white christian resentment and a politics of faith - and you get the gop base.

  54. @S B Lewis This is why they call him "Moscow Mitch."

  55. Lutsenko is history, but the new prosecutor is opening an inquiry into Burisma and Hunter Biden’s role as a Board Member. Biden’s son is a lawyer and had no business to be in Burisma, except to enrich himself. Why was he appointed is a mystery. Why do the Bidens not clarify the circumstances under which Hunter was offered the job. It may not be illegal but not completely baseless to raise the question. On the other hand, what Trump and Giuliani did were impeachable offenses and they deserve to be punished.

  56. If it’s a legitimate question, why the impeachment? Are you scared?

  57. @as257, a rich kid with name recognition in the world being appointed to be on the board of a company is not a scandal; it's extremely common. Look at board members of all US companies and see if you recognize their names. I am sure you will.

  58. @as257 As we have seen with a number of our presidents, their relatives are in a position to make money just because they're related to the president. Rather than focusing on Hunter Biden, we should all take a look...many the actions of Ivanka, her husband, and her two brothers. They're enriching themselves FAR BEYOND whatever amount Hunter earned.

  59. Seems the Trump and Giuliani share at least one trait with their Ukrainian counterparts "mixing of politics and justice". More importantly, the article also demonstrates the Trump administration total naiveté in foreign affairs and ease at which they can be duped, as a consequence of lack of critical thinking and diligence. It is hard to believe that Giuliani became mayor of New York. Suppose one doesn't need much in the way of intellect to be a big shot politician, just charisma and attitude.

  60. Probably true. It would be nice if the foreign service showed up instead of covered up.

  61. @barg Most of us in NYC can't forget that Giuliani tried to cancel the fall elections in 2001 because the city "needed" him to remain in office. The response was so negative that the suggestion was withdrawn. He lusted after power even in the ashes of 9/11.That tells you all you need to know about him now.

  62. @Salix I remember Giuliani's "broken windows" policy which put a lot of young Black kids in jail, railroaded by misdemeanors (wilding) inflated to look like big crimes. He also demanded that the Tower command center be put in a Tower against expert advice, as the Towers would be targets for terrorist attacks. When the planes flew into the Towers, Giuliani was safe in Brooklyn, not in the "command center". His arrival back in NYC as "America's Mayor" was not applauded by the NYFD whose radios could not receive warnings from the NYPD helo hovering outside. Giuliani refused to fund the asked for radios. 300 firefighters died in a Tower leaving widows and children. The NYFD traveled to FL to ensure Giuliani would not receive the GOP nomination for President. I also recall Trump accusing five innocent Black kids of the assault on a jogger who could not identify her attackers from a line up of all Black males. Later an Hispanic man in prison admitted to the crime, giving details only the assailant would know. Now we have one liar in the WH with another liar as his personal atty. Barr will live to regret his dive into this swamp.

  63. As a retired Foreign Service Officer, I deplore Giuliani’s tactics in undercutting a career Foreign Service Officer, the American Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch. Giuliani preferred to rely on a Ukrainian prosecutor with suspect credentials. No wonder U.S. policy is in disarray due to Trump’s quid pro quos that politicized all aspects of the bilateral relationship. May Trump be quickly removed and Giuliani charged with pretending to represent the U.S. government.

  64. This prosecutor was supposed to be our guy. Biden got his predecessor fired. If this is the guy Poroshenko put in, whose fault is that? Masha’s and career foreign service. Didn’t have anything to do with Rudy. Why the apologetics for incompetence?

  65. @Michael V. He may have been unofficially representing the State Department, or at least Pompeo, who is in this up to his eyeballs.

  66. @Michael V. We can’t stop at Trump and Guliani. For all their swamp talk they have revealed themselves swamp monsters and we need to reform campaign finance and elect publically funded candidates like Tulsi Gabbard who are brave and prepared enough to take down the Congressional Military Industrial Complex that gutted our State Department into a blank check for privatized domestic terrorists like Prince Bonespurs and hostile foreign powers like Prince Bonesaw, MBS.

  67. It's curious that so far, the coverage pertaining to Trump's interest in undermining the findings of US intelligence agencies and the Mueller Report concerning Russian interference in the 2016 election accepts without question that his motivation is simply to uncover the supposed bad deeds of his opponents/enemies. Is it merely a coincidence that the findings at issue are also the basis for significant sanctions the US has placed on Russia? Is it just a coincidence that the result of what Trump is working towards in Ukraine would be a huge boon to Russia?

  68. @DGR, No coincidence there. Trump is actively helping Putin. Now it appears the republicans are also helping him or at least looking the other way as Trump dismantles our foreign policy for what is good for Trump.

  69. @DGR Of course it's not a coincidence. "Proving" that Russia didn't interfere in the 2016 election will give Trump an excuse for lifting the sanctions that were imposed as a result. Trump's entire foreign "policy" is dictated by his odd obsession with lifting the sanctions on Russia. Putin is likewise obsessed, and here's where you have to wonder about "coincidences".

  70. @DGR Consequence is no coincidence. Trump never mentioned a single Ukrainian name when he spoke of “corruption.” Nothing but Biden, Biden... well? Bye then.

  71. I find this tumult in Trump land so delicious. Does that make me a bad person, evangelicals? I don't care. Yes I do...Tee Hee!

  72. What an ongoing tragedy for Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch. A dedicated , respected , Foreign Service officer, whose career has been derailed; just a pawn for Donald Trump and Giuliani.

  73. What a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive. ~Walter Scott A very apt description of the entire Ukrainian mess.

  74. This piece is amazing. Trump is a seamless fit with the likes of Lutsenko. He really should move to Ukraine or Russia; he would be quite comfortable there. He could garner a high-level post without any experience, like he did here, but he wouldn't have to deal with a pesky Constitution. A win-win!

  75. Said another way.... A disturbingly large portion of the US population has gone so far off the deep end, buying into Fox News conspiracy theories as fact, that even the President and his lawyer are under the spell of that network? How insane is that? Trump refuses to read briefings, accepts Fox News accusations as facts, and set his personal lawyers and ‘loyalists’ to head off and investigate them? This man actually believes the Ukraine interfered in the election to help Hillary win? How is this man fit for office?

  76. He’s producing a television show, and he has an instinct for finding material that will up his ratings.

  77. @ Pete exactly. What did Hillary have to offer the Ukraine anyway?

  78. Because Don and Rudy are so deeply steeped in hardball political mafia culture (“I got this on you; you do this for me or I’ll make you pay”) I strongly suggest that they honestly don’t think they have done anything unusual, let alone wrong, in pressuring Lutsenko to come up with dirt on the Bidens. In other words, Mitt Romney was correct when he called Trump a fraud. Too bad for them that of the Republicans only George Will and a few other unelected pundits listened. The whistle blower ( s?) is right to be alarmed at behavior that in addition to being illegal and dangerous is just plain sleazy. Republicans had better wake up and realize that when you get in bed with sleaze you wake up stinking. But they won’t. Not unless and until their district vote counters tell them the tide has shifted at home.

  79. To me there is more than one thing in common between Rudy Giuliani and a henchman who worked for Pablo Escobar during his reign as a Colombian drug lord. They will do ANYTHING asked of them by their bosses. There is no ethics or morals involved as far as executing what their bosses want for money. And they will execute it with such dedication that one is reminded with the image of a religious fanatic! The main differences are only their expertise in different fields and modus operandi.

  80. Rudy Giuliani is doing his best Gregory Rasputin homage imitation. While Donald and Melania Trump are doing their best Czar Nicholas II and Alexandra Romanov thing. How did all that work out? No wonder Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin can't stop smiling and smirking and making jokes about hacking and meddling in American Presidential campaigns and elections.

  81. It is abundantly clear that Trump , Giuliani and their supporters have stepped up pressure on Ukraine to investigate the Bidens. In 2016 election both the New York Times and Washington Post, and respectable TV networks, were driven by so called fairness succumbed to false equivalency thus giving unwarranted credence to accusations against Hillary Clinton. I am pleased that after mentioning Trump's allegations this article clearly states "There is no evidence of wrongdoing by Mr. Biden or his son in Ukraine." Otherwise repeating a Trump's lies without refuting makes them stick in the impressionable minds.

  82. I'd love to be a fly on the wall when Ms. Yovanovitch appears before the committee. You couldn't make this stuff up.

  83. @PJ Or Mr. Taylor, to hear what he heard after the slippery Mr. Sonderland said "Call me."

  84. @Davide Sonderland has the same credentials for his position as Lutsenko did for his. None!

  85. Giuliani and Trump are running around like chickens with their heads cut off trying to legitimize insane conspiracy theories. Let that sink in for a minute ... the US President actively participating in conspiracy theories. On the other side of the coin, it is beginning to appear every sickening and vindictive move made by Trump and Giuliani is documented by someone. The information is getting out and, if justice is still blind, Giuliani and Trump will be sitting in jail trying to figure where they went and planning for their comeback.

  86. We have known for some time that Trump likes and praises authoritarian rulers: Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un, Xi Jinping and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, among others. We can now add to the list a corrupt prosecutor, Lutsenko. Trump expressed concern about corruption in Ukraine at the same time he was praising a corrupt prosecutor.

  87. I think this article might be a little light on on context. First, this is the guy who got the job when when Biden demanded his predecessor be fired. Second, when his tune changed this year, most reporting was that it was because he was trying to curry favor with the new regime that would obviously defeat Poroshenko. Third, when Trump asked about the guy in the May call, He was told he would be replaced with someone who would be 100 percent “ my guy “ and Trump acquiesced and compared it to his replacement of the ambassador who “couldn’t accept that I am President.” So Lutsenko and Poroshenko both seem opportunistic and potentially hostile to both administrations and equally unimportant. Why waste the ink unless you are trying to create a false impression?

  88. @Erin Needs a little more clarity to make your point.

  89. This is what happens when a naive, credulous, and ego-driven President gets rid of anyone who actually knows what they’re talking about. Just as his desire to “believe” that Biden is corrupt and Clinton didn’t really win the popular vote has undercut not only our State Dept but also a fledgling new leader in Ukraine, his desire not to believe in climate change will undercut the entire earth.

  90. @ST: Trump is pushing out any executive department official who has an Obama administration “taint.” Of those left over, any of them who know enough to know that Trump does not know what he is doing, and has the courage to resists Trump’s or Trump people’s initiatives, is likewise pushed out. If that wasn’t bad enough, Republicans in Congress are hiding underneath their desks, except for the sycophant and true believers conferences, who are trying to help Trump. Will we have a functioning executive branch if this goes on much longer?

  91. @Fred Frahm Have we got one now?

  92. @zula good point as I am not sure the executive branch is doing anything other than negating anything Obama and trying to prove it was Clinton that interfered with the 2016 election.

  93. Republicans have more faith in the Ukrainian political system that brought Mr. Lutsenko to power than in the American justice system. Ironically, by insisting in the truth of someone so completely inept to provide it, Republicans have now brought our Department of Justice to the same political low, while simultaneously screaming that the scandal is in not believing Mr. Lutsenko. Read the Federalist Papers. The #1 issue the Founders worried about was foreign interference in our elections. By pretending that there was in Ukraine (there only was from Russia--read the Muller Report), Republicans have actually made this a reality. The "Constitutional Originalists". Wow...Just wow...

  94. If all of Trump’s personal attorneys are convicted of corruption and inevitably go to jail, at what point does the lens of the law shine squarely on the man pulling the puppet strings.

  95. @Pete Fear not, the State of NY has a room being prepared for Donald, and he knows it. He doesn't care about being re-elected, he just wants to stay out of the hoosegow.

  96. If it weren't being done so ineptly by Trump and his henchmen, we would be winessing an epic struggle between truth and falsehood, between good and evil. It is as if what Orwell had wiritten as fiction had become the script for real life behavior. Trump and his people probably won't succeed because US institutions are still strong enough to thwart them, but only barely. What happens when a smarter, abler man adopts the same playbook?

  97. @Partha Neogy In 1787 compromises were made in order to get all thirteen states to ratify the constitution. For example, the “Great Compromise” which created our bicameral national legislature. The members of the house represent people. The senators represent state legislatures. So half a million citizens of Wyoming elect two senators. More than 39 million Californians elect two senators. The combined populations of the ten least populous states is less than that of California, but 10 states get 20 senators. California gets 2. Taking political advantage of the constitution’s logical/democratic inconsistencies is at the heart of the possible struggle between good and evil you describe, Partha. What is needed to avoid calamity is a constitutional convention. However, convening a convention to repair the constitution’s flaws is a VERY risky matter — our democracy could be more damaged than improved. Still, I offer the idea of a constitutional convention as a possible way of insuring that the disaster you describe never happens.

  98. @Tom W California should split into 5 to 10 states

  99. Excellent comment, and I'm with you. A Constitutional Convention is the level of intervention that is required.

  100. This is the last gasp desperation from the right...the need to fabricate reality to stay alive politically

  101. In the middle east it was about oil. In Ukraine it was about money from US tax payers not some nickle and dimes stuff, billions . When there is much money there are always greedy self serving people who want a slice of the billions. Why did you rob a bank? One bank robber was asked and his response was"thats where the money is" It is not a secret that banks used to always have a ton of money but only a select few and those connected to the source of US foreign aid knew that Ukraine is a gold mine and went to dig that mine for the gold. No they did not go because they had charity in their heart. If that was the case they would be going to where Mother Teresa went or where Desmond Tutu goes to work among the poorest of the poor. Hunter Biden connected with Ukrainians who would control the billions in aid from the US tax payers and don't tell me he was there to fight corruption or help the poor. He went there so that he could pocket the money. Anyone who does not smell a rat has lost their sense of smell and wants to overlook the partisan corruption. Daddy Biden is a hot potato and the Democrats need to quickly drop him and not make the same mistake they made in 2016 by not nominating Bernie.

  102. "There is no evidence of wrongdoing by Mr. Biden or his son in Ukraine." Sure, if you say so. That's why they have investigations. There is no way around it. That arrangement looks suspicious. Ukraine is notoriously corrupt throughout. Anyone who deals with a Ukrainian oil company at that level can't be clean.

  103. @Aristotle Gluteus Maximus, if Ukraine is notoriously corrupt throughout why ask them to undertake your supposedly justified investigation instead of using your own country's investigators? Because it was a corrupt request to help in an election, not a legitimate investigation.

  104. You assume anyone who deals with a US energy conglomerate is spotless?

  105. @Aristotle Gluteus Maximus You have investigations when there are credible allegations about specific deeds: not vague unspecified suspicions.

  106. Trump like Russia; Russia no like Ukraine, so Russia invade; US congress help Ukraine with dollars for defense; Trump no like; Trump scared of Biden; Biden not culpable (not bad guy); Trump bribe Ukraine; Trump expect base will be confused (as always) but trust Trump; Pelosi and Schiff bad; Pelosi and House want impeachment and socialism; Trump win. The current representatives of the GOP promote the biggest threat to democracy, foreign and domestic, in the history of the concept. Vote all of them out.

  107. @JC Pelosi and the house don’t want socialism. That’s a Republican talking point. Real socialism is when the government takes over all production and services. Not one of the Democratic candidates wants that. The only thing that comes even close is that some want the government to replace the current private insurance based health care system, which has become bloated and too expensive for most people, with something like Medicare for all. That’s a far cry from a complete takeover of all means of production and services. By the way, how are you doing with your health insurance premiums? Costs going up at all?

  108. @MsB I think you are missing the sarcastic font JC is using for his opinion.

  109. This column goes to show that bad and/or incompetent actors can cause damage wherever they happen to go. They are like the Charley Brown character "Pigpen" who always has a cloud following him. But in this case it is not dust but cess. Hopefully for both the US and the Ukraine this gets cleaned up sooner rather than later. I expect that former Ambassador Yovanovitch will be mostly or totally exonerated for her actions through the current Congressional impeachment inquiry, but the folks at Fox and Breitbart will no doubt continue to disparage her.

  110. @GlennC No exoneration needed. If anything, she should be commended, not "exonerated" for some Trumpist's conspiratorial fantasy for which there is zero credible evidence to implicate her.

  111. "Mr. Lutsenko was a familiar figure: a seemingly reform-minded politician who, once given power, deeply disappointed his former admirers by displaying many of the ills he had previously denounced." Nearly all Ukrainian politicians are corrupt, but the public hates it. Incumbent politicians are at constant risk of being defeated in elections by insurgents running on anti-corruption platforms. Some reformers are no doubt sincere, but many are simply posers seeking their own opportunity to feed at the public trough. The Maidan coalition that overthrew Yanukovych was a hodgepodge of all opposition forces: leftists, right-wing nationalists, idealistic students, reformers, opportunists. Mostly it was driven by an informal agreement that the thuggish Yanukovych was little more than a tool of Putin, that Ukraine's future hopes lay with pursuing a westward opening toward the EU, and that Yanukovych was exceptionally corrupt even by Ukrainian standards. Hopes that Maidan would lead to real reform were disappointed under Poroshenko, himself a minor oligarch. The desperate electoral turn toward the young media novice Zelenskyy underscores the degree of dismay. Zelenskyy may have arrived at power without the baggage of corruption, but he is still learning. It is hard to thrive in Ukraine without being corrupt. In Ukraine the choice is between lesser and greater corruption, between those under Putin's sway and those who are not. As Rudy discovered, it's easy to get lost in the jungle.

  112. It appears Ukraine will be renamed NeverNeverLand because they’ve proven they don’t have what it takes to be a member of the EU and will be forever stuck as a zone of confrontation or no-man’s land between the West and Russia.

  113. Why was Hunter Biden paid $50k per month by Burisma? What possible value could he have provided? It's a valid question, not because there's likely to be any illegality but because it points to the innate wide scale corruption and influence pedaling that exists on a global scale and from which the US is hardly immune. Politicians and their families are enriched by a system of revolving door self-dealing, all of which seems to be constitutionally kosher. Mr. Trump's own family are no exception. This affair confirms my decision not to support Joe Biden. There is no ethical justification available to him. We need someone who is not tainted in this manner, who is seen to be above the profiteering that has become ever more ubiquitous since the days of Reagan, and the advent of the primacy of laissez-faire policies regarding corporate governance. However all of this has no bearing whatsoever on whether or not Trump committed an impeachable offense. The President would like us to think so, but I'm not taking the bait.

  114. @Roger C Board members of many US companies are paid 50K or more monthly so it really is a non issue.

  115. @Roger C Your question implies that Hunter Biden could not have provided any value to Burisma. Why? Why is it that such a suspicion "points to the innate wide scale corruption and influence pedaling"? Why is there "no ethical justification available to him"? On what grounds do you believe him to be unethical? Why is he "tainted in this manner"? As someone interested in the this story, I am curious as to why you believe Hunter Biden to be so corrupt, unethical and tainted.

  116. @Roger C. So you’ve bought the narrative? A Yale lawyer that has experience at the uS dept of Commerce, a Bush appointee to the Amtrak board, a venture capitalist at age 44 had nothing to offer to a US ally private company? That less than 600k/annum is an outsized salary? Really? You are buying it hook line and sinker without any factual basis. Agree or disagree, at least look at some facts beyond the surface narratives.

  117. “Mr. Trump and his allies have been fixated on Ukraine since the 2016 American election...” As soon as Donald Trump took office, he began spending much of his time: - watching hours of television daily, worrying about his public image. - writing daily nearly incompehensible tweets. - throwing himself pep rallies. Continuing the campaign, although already elected. - attacking Hillary Clinton. - planning how he would win a second term. When the weather warmed, he began: - playing golf very frequently. Considering the problems our nation was facing in January, 2017, is this how we might hope the newly elected POTUS would manage his time? Looking at Trump’s performance in office, what might he do, or fail to do, to convince his loyal followers that there might be a Republican out there who would do a better job for them as president? I’ve read confident right-wing NYT comments today declaring that Trump is “absolutely unimpeachable,” predicting an easy Trump victory over any opponent in 2020. I have no clue how the American electorate could become so divided. My best guess is hallucinogens in some of the drinking water piping, but that’s plain silly. What in the world is driving this irrationality?

  118. @Tom W Oddly enough, those hullcinogens you mention would have the opposite effect -- seeing more clearly -- should you survive -- no one would ever vote for a Republican, again. I think it's probably the mix of chemicals 'we' humans have introduced into the biosphere -- something like thirty or forty THOUSAND -- and we've barely the slightest Clue as to what they're gonna do to us, and the Critters, but it's unlikely to be for the best. Thank God for the Limited Liability Corporation, eh? They're almost people!

  119. What exactly is Trump et al claiming was illegal about Burisma that warrants investigation? Secondly, if Joe Biden himself has acted illegally, why isn’t there an investigation in the US?

  120. @Angelica The unspoken part here is that what Trump really wanted was for the Ukrainian government to announce that it was investigating Hunter Biden and his father. It does not matter if they actually do or not. That is all Trump wants. Then he can call Biden crooked and for once in his life it won't be a lie. If the DOJ got involved they would have to show just cause and that would destroy the fraudulent premise which was according to this story invented by Mr Lutsenko as a ploy to get Trump to save his job. Maybe he had visions of being president too?

  121. Agreed. I read all of the published texts yesterday and it seems that Trump et al. were more concerned with the announcement of an investigation than an actual investigation. They simply needed the Ukrainians to lay the foundation, and then Trump, the master of spin, would take it from there. I sincerely hope the American public is doing their reading.

  122. This impeachment is similar to the musical "Chicago"...the story line, the characters, the double talk ,it's all there. What's also there is the mindless public's easy manipulation by the celebrity radio critic 'Mary Sunshine'. Giuliani's jabbering, senseless interview where he keeps changing the subject and talking over the interviewer is what made me wonder where I'd seen it before. Life imitating art.

  123. A prosecutor with "no formal legal training and a long history of wielding the law as a weapon in his personal political battles" is precisely what Trump would be looking for - he has no use for competent and honest brokers. Honesty, in particular, is guaranteed to bring one into conflict with Trump, as Mr. Lutsenko has now discovered.

  124. @Jim Demers And what, pray tell, are Giuliani's credentials as an attorney? Did he even graduate from high school? Was he grandfathered in? Or better yet, was his law license ordered online? That clueless mug of his is horrifying! When Trump is thrown in jail, and he will be, please make sure that Giuliani is disbarred and thrown in the cell with him. Enough is enough!

  125. @Jim Demers Ironically, it's precisely the guy Biden endorsed to replace Shonkin. Perhaps you forgot that it was Shonkin who was fired for being corrupt and not investigating/prosecuting anybody?

  126. Are there no Americans in the White House?

  127. @mja Yes but Trump is trying to lock them all up.

  128. Mr Lutsenko is very toxic. No one should go near to him with a 10-foot-pole. He totally framed Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch then destroyed her and boasted about it. Why would Giuliani talk with Lutsenko unless he himself has Mafiosi proclivities? President Trump praised Lutsenko. What does that say about Trump?

  129. @Mike Persaud It says "I take my orders from Putin"....

  130. Lutsenko, Giuliani, Trump - the trifecta of misgovernment in action.

  131. Back in the USSR. "Well the Ukraine girls really knock me out, they leave the West behind..." Did the Beatles know something that we didn't?

  132. @ Christina r Garcia- the Ukrainian people are like the Swedes, well known to be beautiful. Many supermodels come from the Ukraine.

  133. The idea that we are to believe Trump, Pompeo & Rudy are corruption fighters is laughable. Trying to spring Manafort, exonerate Putin and shed the taint of 2016 smears & meddling from Trump's 'big win' is the obvious motive. Bounce every accusation onto Hillary ! Reveal Joe Biden to be a crook !It worked once- why not do it again? Not only is this scam by a blustering con man pathetic, it insults the common sense of American citizens. Attacking Ukraine's corruptions would not start with a bogus charge that's ten years old. That Trump's Big Lie is so dumb is almost the most appalling detail.

  134. @Sara Very sadly my conservative neighbors on the right avidly believe every detail of this convoluted whacko theory echoed by right wing off the rail spin masters.

  135. @Mary :I am reminded of the Ox Bow Incident where the greatest sin was knowing what's right but doing nothing to stop a crime. The delusional Trump base just hates Democrats and admires Trump's posturing. The rational Republicans who know something is a travesty but lay low- they are the biggest culprits.

  136. They all belong in jail except for Ms. Yovanovitch, who should get the Medal of Freedom from the next U. S. president.

  137. I wondered where Trump found Bill Barr. Now I know.

  138. It's all just a matter of time now until we learn that Putin put these false Ukraine thoughts in Trump's head. Putin's script is obvious: "Go look over there, Donald. They are the ones who interfered. They even have the server! And oh by the way, toss all the notes from this meeting, your lying American press won't believe a word I'm saying anyway." The villainy would be too obvious for a cartoon, yet here we are. Every day since Jan 2017 must feel like Christmas for Putin.

  139. “Mr. Giuliani had a simple retort: “Liar.” “ Ironic, isn’t it, that at this point in his free fall from respectability decades ago, now a sycophant to a President with over 12,000 lies documented against him, Giuliani dares use the word liar.

  140. Blow those whistles hard and loud. Save this country. Do this - Join the Whistle Blowers for America. 1. Get a whistle. (any type, just so it's loud.) 2. When you see Trump or any of his enablers, blow that thing good and hard. 3. The great thing about whistles is they can be heard from a distance. 4. Stand up for truth and America as a country of laws, and not a land of Trump and his ilk.

  141. Keep in mind, this isnt Viktor Shokin, who was the prosecutor at the time when Biden allegedly threatened to withhold close to a billion in loans to Ukraine if the government didnt fire him. Shokin was the one looking into Burisma.

  142. @Don Q Shokin was not looking into Burisma or any other alleged corruption. That was why US and international community wanted him fired. Replacing him with an activist prosecutor increased possible investigation of Burisma. It did not protect Biden's. Of course Lutsenko was not any better.

  143. @Tek I am not sure where you get your information from, but Shokin looking into Burisma is not debated on either side.

  144. @Don Q He (Shokin) wasn't looking into corruption and was actively trying to shut down anti-corruption activists. This was why so many countries including the USA wanted him out. Yes, even Republicans. From Vox: "CNN uncovered a letter dated February 12, 2016, in which Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH), Ron Johnson (R-WI), and Mark Kirk (R-IL), along with several Democratic senators, called for Ukraine’s then-president to “press ahead with urgent reforms to the Prosecutor General’s office and judiciary.” Four days later, Shokin resigned (although he didn’t officially leave until the following month when Ukraine’s Parliament voted him out)." It is absolutely stunning that Trump and Giuliani have been able to push this lie when the facts are so clear if one bothers to read a variety of quality journalism. If anything, Burisma was MORE likely to be investigated by the firing of Shokin. Biden did nothing wrong.

  145. Same old same old. Everyone's a liar, except Trump and Giuliani, both of whom can't even seem to remember their lies from one sentence to the next. Does this remind anyone else of the Compulsive Liar skit on Saturday Night Live?

  146. So the man Trump and Giuliani claimed was a good man unfairly sidelined by Joe Biden to protect Biden's son and thus justified the basis for investigating Biden now according to Trump and Giuliani is a liar. In addition to already admitting their guilt in committing a crime they now have admitted to being dupes. And yet almost all the Republicans remain silent. The shame.

  147. Biden called Lutsenko “someone who was solid at the time” [of his appointment]. This doesn't reflect well on Biden's judgement.

  148. What does, “at the time,” mean? I forget.

  149. Ah, what a web has been weaved that concludes, for me, how dirty politics has been, is today and will be tomorrow. Power, greed, ego and deceit and complete abandonment of our Constitution results in the debacle of 2019.

  150. Giuliani has instigated this whole sordid affair. He flamed Trump's paranoia; he bolstered the conspiracy theories; he poisoned Trump as to Marie Yovanovitch; he instigated Biden probes. He broke the law. He conspired. He conducted foreign policy as a private citizen. He was a federal attorney and was merciless as to white color crime prosecution, which he was most proud. I hope he is prosecuted. Karma, like justice, is blind.

  151. @Zev And Rebecka Mercer for being the shadow instigator for placing Russia's man in the White House. How better to dismantle democracy than from the inside?

  152. Blame Giuliani if you want to, but Trump is uneducated - listen to how he talks - he’s easy to manipulate with conspiracy theories.

  153. Talk about burying the lead! It's not until the last paragraph that we find out Giuliani now calls him a liar. Shouldn't that, at least, be a separate news story about the interview and response?

  154. @RossPhx Giuliani always called him a liar, and believes that Shokin was not as corrupt as Lutsenko. Ironically, this article makes the case that Giuliani was right, and Biden wrong. Biden is asking us to believe in Lutsenko's investigation of Burisma (and its dismissal) as correct and above board, unlike Shokin who wasn't investigating anybody because he was corrupt. Then the NYT goes and writes an article about Lutsenko isn't even a real lawyer! Genius plan, spin masters. Genius.

  155. This does shed light on some shady dealings. It's a swamp but using the government in this manner is unacceptable. Trump's kids getting sweet heart deals or Bidens I don't care. But abuse and putting soldiers lives at risk over a election is horrible.

  156. As a byproduct of all the shenanigans, Ukraine is weakened to the marked advantage of Russia. To cover the quid pro quo Volker text to Sondland, Sondland declared Ukraine corruption as the reason that Trump withheld appropriated funding. Trump has echoed that sentiment besmirching Ukraine. Putin couldn’t be more please. Getting Trump elected, priceless.

  157. "Mr. Trump and his allies have been fixated on Ukraine since the 2016 American election..." First, Donald Trump has no allies, only lackeys. Second, Trump wants to muddy the waters. He want us to blame Ukraine, not Russia for the 2016 meddling. Wont work. He's a Russian asset and we'll have proof as soon as we get to look at his taxes and debts. Remember, he is a self proclaimed king of debt, and no American bank would lend him a dime after his multiple bankruptcies. So enter the Russians as Donald jr proudly confessed years ago. They own him and he doesn't want us to know that. And that explains every thing, doesn't it?.

  158. Stunning journalism. Thanks.

  159. " Mr. Trump and his allies embraced and relied on a with a long history of wielding the law as a weapon in his personal political battles, disregarding the concerns of senior diplomats who said he wasn’t credible.".....Hmmmm??? sounds perfect for Trump's cabinet.

  160. The operant words here are “there is no evidence”. Isn’t it clear that Trump and the Republicans will smear any Democrat at any time? Trump has openly broken the law to do so. All of the Democrats are in the same boat. If Biden goes, Trump will target the next in line. Trump has already discredited himself. Impeachment can only discredit him more.

  161. This. They better realize the republican lie machine and election interference will demolish them all. The horrible truth about DJT seems to not matter at all.

  162. We need clear explanations of why pressuring foreign nations to investigate political opponents threatens our democracy. It's obvious to me, but I have an extensive education in critical thinking skills and a long term interest in politics. It may not be obvious to many Americans how Trump's actions, couched as an investigation into corruption, can lead too quickly to the loss of free and fair elections. I've seen very few explanations in the press of why this is so bad. I think we need more.

  163. @Vance Even though I thoroughly agree with you, the major audience such explanations should be aimed at is composed of two groups: members of Congress, especially Trump apologists, but even Democrats who don’t seem to understand what you are pointing to, and swing, purple, new, returning, and wavering Trump supporters who will choose the next President by slim margins in 4-10 likely swing states.

  164. @Vance Haven't you been reading? Trump was withholding $389 million in military aid to Ukraine, in return for a guarantee that they would make up a criminal dossier against Hunter Biden. He had this sycophants Giuliani, Barr, Pompeo and Mulvaney intimately involved in the quid (military aid) pro quo (dirt on a political foe).

  165. The potential for Blackmail is the big one. The notion of a foreign power having leverage over our elections should freak everyone out. It’s a recipe for disaster.

  166. Wow! This story makes a John le Carré novel seem as simple as a kindergarten reader by comparison. Were Giuliani and Trump drawn into the Ukrainian political morass the way a fly falls into a Venus Flytrap? If what the Times has printed about the Trump/Giuliani/Lutsenko business is true, Trump should be immediately removed from office by the 25th Amendment because he is mentally incompetent to be POTUS. He didn't trust his intelligence people who could have helped him sort out the truth instead he believed Giuliani and corrupted Ukrainian politicos. What a doofus!

  167. @RLW No 25th Amendment. On this evidence there is duty to impeach.

  168. I would say the opposite: had John Le Carré come up with such a plot, it would have been universally panned as too crude and totally unbelievable. 'No one would be so totally oblivious of all rules and long-standing norms.' Then Trump came along ...

  169. @RLW No--Trump knew by habit what he was doing and having Giuliani do for him. He has known very well what an opportunity for a great con job looks like.

  170. This is just disgusting. Trump hires a truly slimy liar (Guiliani) to spin falsehoods about Trump's political opponent. Guliani fabricates a blatantly false narrative about Biden and sells it to a corrupt liar in the Ukraine (Lutsenko). Lutsenko uses his new leverage to disparage the only honest broker in this story (Ambassador Yovanivitch), and Trump then happily kneecaps that honest broker and removes her from her post as ambassador, so that he can perpetuate the lie about Biden without interference. Trump then blackmails the president of the Ukraine, withholding critical military aid unless he publicly supports the lie about Biden. Trump and Gulianai deserve to join their colleague Paul Manafort in federal prison.

  171. After 9/11, I had admiration for Giuliani. But no more.

  172. @Steve I must disagree. Paul Manafort is in for only 7-1/2 years.

  173. @Steve You have it exactly backwards, JFC. Giuliani didn't sell any yarn to Lutsenko. Biden was the one wanted Lutsenko appointed to replace the corrupt Shokin. Biden was the one who called Lutsenko a solid guy. Biden is the one who is asking us to believe Lutsenko conducted a fair investigation and found no wrongdoing on Hunter or Burisma's part.

  174. Two sayings come to mind, thick as thieves and no loyalty among thieves. It just keeps getting worse and worse for Trump. We now see him turning on rick Perry. What is the time line on his wrath pointing to poor old Rudy?

  175. Yes, he somehow missed the "buck stops here" tradition for the White House. Throwing Perry under the bus is behavior of a weakling and coward.

  176. Extortion for lies. How much more corrupt can you get? These people are just plain evil. All to lift sanctions on Russia and to turn upside down Mueller’s confirmation that Russia interfered in the 2016 election to help Trump. He’s corrupt, he’s a puppet, and he’s got to go!

  177. WHY does Rudy Giuliani still have a license to practice law in NY or anyplace in the US?

  178. @Observer While NYSBA appears perfectly willing to take responsibility for making attorneys, they appear to feel no responsibility for maintaining the quality of the profession. The below was written in response to a request by Senator Harris regarding Rudy Giuliani: “NYSBA President Hank Greenberg issued the following statement: ‘There is a common misperception among the general public and the media that NYSBA is responsible for investigation and enforcement of ethical violations by attorneys licensed to practice law in New York State. Membership in NYSBA is entirely voluntary, and attorneys are not required to belong in order to practice in New York. As such, NYSBA is not empowered to investigate inquiries related to professional conduct. This authority legally rests with the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court, which has appointed grievance committees to investigate complaints. That said, we continue to work with New York’s judicial branch regarding rules of ethics for lawyers and providing guidance to our members and the legal profession on meeting ethical standards.’”

  179. Because, to lose your NY bar license, you’d literally have to shoot someone on 5th Avenue. I am aware of several lawyers in NYC who should have been disbarred - the bar does nothing.

  180. So we are to understand from Trump and Giuliani that a conspiracy to undermine Trump’s campaign operated by the CIA, the FBI, the National Security Council, the Justice Department, Ukraine, England, France, Italy, and Wikileaks failed? This vast conspiracy was unable to prevent his election. Amazing.

  181. Don’t forget Australia!

  182. High level administration officials subvert the will of Congress and using secret deals to get around Congress and politicians doubling down and defending what the president’s men had done by saying it was their only option given the position of Democrats - from the Iran Contra scandal. The politician who doubled down? Dick Cheney

  183. Why would anyone be surprised by how this episode of Trump's Ukraine madness has, and is, played out? Here is a politician of the worst tendencies and intent: against women, against immigrants and immigrant children, against the environment, against his rivals... both political and economic, against any idea of economic equality, etc., etc., etc. The man's disdain for the traditions and institutions of republican democracy is breathtaking! One final note... Look at how the man grimaces with every lie and hateful statement that comes out of his mouth. Look at the twisted look of the man who stands one breath away from the presidency beside him. Look at his chief sycophant and apologist in the US Senate. All of these hate-filled and twisted looks. I think that this band of rogues would have stopped the heart of my eighth-grade civics teacher.

  184. Can anyone explain why governance and politics are so messed up in the United States? Can anyone?

  185. @Terrence Yhip Yes. But it certainly can’t be accomplished in a 1500 character comment. A lengthy, well-researched book would be needed. However, I can tell you where the engine flew of rails. A B-movie actor managed to get himself elected governor of California. In 1980, he was the Republican nominee for the presidency. While campaigning he uttered one of the most consequential statements made by any American politician in the past century. “The government is NOT the answer to our problems. The government IS the problem.” The actor won the election. With the help of some insideous advisors, a long term plan for perpetual conservative control of the U.S. Senate and the Supreme Court was forged... We are 39 years into the Reagan Era. The fact that we’re struggling to cope with the incompetent, corrupt, criminal administration of Trump can be traced back through a l-o-n-g series of events to that treasonous declaration of Ronald Reagan in 1980. The government is not our enemy. This is America. The government is us, the people. We have been swimming upstream against destructive right-wing propaganda for a long time. The battle for truth, fairness and reason over greed, corruption and lies continues.

  186. Yeah, I can. Republicans and Jesus. Not necessarily in that order.

  187. Terrance- because, despite past experience with Nixon, we allowed it.

  188. I am old enough to remember when Republicans were pro-FBI and anti-Putin. That seems so quaint and a long time ago. Circa 2016.

  189. One thing I am lost about is why Putin permits Trump to sell “javelins” or anything else to Ukraine.

  190. Brilliant, and eye-opening, reporting. One of the best pieces I've read in a while. Keep at it!

  191. 3 years too late.

  192. Mr. Trump and his allies embraced and relied on a Ukrainian prosecutor with no formal legal training and a long history of wielding the law as a weapon in his personal political battles. Yeah, that sounds about right. It also sounds very similar to Trumps background: no training in government, wielding the law against business, personal, and political enemies.

  193. I'm curious how you determined Trump was talking about Lutsenko when he mentioned the "very good prosecutor" to Zelensky? Giuliani has been talking nonstop about Shokin, not Lutsenko, and Trump didn't specify which in the transcript. You haven't even mentioned Shokin, which is a glaring omission to those of us who are actually following this story. In fact, you have been quite vague in many of your stories, frequently failing to specify which prosecutor you're talking about. Considering the Times' now well-established track record of only presenting the information that portrays the President in the worst light, I'm forced to conclude again that this is what you're doing here.

  194. This article wants us to believe that Lutsenko is lying when he says the Ukrainians were feeding dirt about Trump to the Clinton campaign. And he’s lying when he says Hunter Biden was hired to help Burisma gain influence with the U.S. Although they’ll never admit it, my guess is that even the most ardent opponents of the President wonder if these claims are true. Ask yourself, would it really be that surprising?

  195. @Mike Skipping over key details..what's new. It took over 2 years of the Steele dossier that started this hunt was acknowledged to be suspicious possibly Russian disinformation. Nevertheless worked effectively as a basis to attack Trump..the same pattern continues.

  196. Lutsenko isn't the only prosecutor behind the impeachment furor. His predecessor Shokin - who was fired at Biden's prodding - has in testimony for an Austrian court (concerning the extradition of Firtash) declared that Biden Sr. pushed for the end of investigations into Burisma. Shokin's testimony has been rejected as unreliable by mainstream America. But there is still isn't an explanation why an Ukrainian oligarch would waste 50k a month on somebody who couldn't contribute much. Neither is there an explanation why a Chinese form would do something similar. And while some journalists have tried to discover dirt on this issue there never has been an official Ukrainian judicial investigation.

  197. If there ever was a cautionary tale of how foreign governments have to be beyond careful if they ever get involved in the rogues gallery that is the Trump administration its the present situation with the Ukraine. Benjamin Frankliin's saying that when you lie down with dogs you get up with fleas unfortunately will become a guiding principle for many countries who need to interact with the Trump regime.

  198. That Giuliani is acting as a representative of the united states, un-appointed, unelected, and as Mr. Pompeo said he had nothing to do with it, I would like him brought up on corruption charges and for acting as an unregistered representative of the United States Government

  199. We had a 2 yr Mueller investigation looking into 'Russian collusion'. 2 yrs of weekly new speculations of various possible offences committed by Trump. There was nothing wrong found other than a few process violations. Imagine if a Trump operative had been on a board of directors in a possibly corrupt Ukrainian business receiving 50k a month.. there would have been no apologetics as the Bidens received. There's more to this than meets the eye but one thing is certain, the frenzy to get Trump on something continues. What ever the facts turn out to be there is obviously a huge partisan double standard..first seen with Peter Strzok-Lisa Pages" insurance policy".

  200. Thank you for the clearest explanation I’ve read yet re the trajectory of this whole sordid affair. Sadly, given the collective priorities of our Congress, I’m not confident Caligula will exit any time soon.

  201. How many young men and women freedom fighters died while Trump simply tried to steal an election? How many children died at the hands of Russian mercenaries, a democracy holding up against a tyrant nation for Trump to sully our values .

  202. Trump's mission was not only to discredit Biden. Pleasing Putin by twisting facts on Russian interference in his election in order for sanctions to be lifted. Manufacturing information in order to exonerate Manafort and then pardon him. Create an existence of a server that would prove conspiracy theories were legitimate and the popular vote he lost was due to Ukrainian rather than Russian influence in the 2016 election. The fact that Barr, in his position as AG, has been actively involved in discrediting the Muellar Report and all Security Agencies renders him unfit for office and his licence to practice law should be withdrawn. The damage Pence and Pompeo participated in have completed the quartet of insidious corruption, all four violated the oaths of office.

  203. Now the GOP will alter their talking points to concede that it's wrong to solicit help from a foreign government to beat a fellow American in a presidential election, but that we should just let the voters decide Trump's fate in November 2020 rather than allowing Congress to carry out its duty to conduct Constitutional oversight in November 2019. The Right is complicit in Trump's unpresidential behavior, and history will judge them all poorly for putting the shameful--or should I say shameless--Republican party above this nation's best interests.

  204. This article is the best explanation I have read yet of the intricacies of this matter. I appreciate the good reporting and clear writing. It shows the dangers of sidelining our professional diplomatic staff in favor of a motivated freelancer like Giuliani. We end up with the same corrupt politics that have damaged Ukraine.

  205. Mr. Lutsenko sounds just like Mr. Trump's kind of guy, someone who is self-serving to the core, doesn't really think that the rules and laws that apply to lesser beings apply to him, and doesn't hesitate to change facts to suit his own version of the truth.

  206. Lutsenko’s story really underlines the hollowness of Trump's ethical core. Trump fits in better with the shadowy world of a corrupt Eastern European than with the dignity we expect for the Oval Office. Shame on Republican leaders who pretend that Trump is not absolutely vile.

  207. Like the wannabe dictator he fancies himself to be, DJT's many tools of oppression & control include wielding the law as a weapon against his enemies. If relying exclusively on American lackeys like Barr is not enough, he simply seeks corrupt prosecutors in other countries. Trump's antics are a full blown constitutional crisis. Each new effort to sabotage our ability to hold a fair election makes impeachment & removal from office more urgent. It is more than a bit ironic that a candidate who ran pledging to "drain the swamp" has in fact become its worst offender.

  208. Where has our Constitution gone Long time coming Where has our Constitution gone Long time ago Where has our Constitution gone Stomped by Trump and G.O.P. When will they ever learn? Oh, when will we ever learn?

  209. Adam Schiff called the president's conduct a "mafia style shakedown." What an understatement! The president and his henchmen are something out of a James Bond movie... the over-the-top bad guys. But it's not fiction.

  210. The article says that Trump's comment “I heard you had a prosecutor who was very good and he was shut down and that’s really unfair” was a reference to Lutsenko, even though he was still in place at the time. In fact it was of course a reference to his predecessor Shokin, who Joe Biden claimed to have got fired. In fact, Zelenskiy raised the subject of a replacement for Lutsenko later in the same call, saying "the next prosecutor general will be 100% my person, my candidate, who will... start as a new prosecutor in September".

  211. Too bad near 40 million Americans call this fake news. Insist the president did nothing wrong and know it’s a hoax perpetuated by Democrats. They no longer believe any newspaper or news organization other than Fox and conservative radio. For that matter they no longer believe in American intelligence organizations or career government employees (deep state). This has been a concerted effort to undermine our institutions.

  212. I dunno. At this point I think previous prosecutor Shokin is far more central to the Giuliani scam than Lutsenko. Shokin's affidavit to the Austrian court in regards to the extradition trial of Firtash is what Rudy has been waving around on television as proof that Joe and Hunter Biden were doing bad deeds in Ukraine. By the time Trump got on the phone with Zelenskyy, Lutsenko had already retracted his charges against Yovanovich and the Bidens. It was Shokin, at that time, who was carrying water for the Trump and Rudy. So am inclined to think that it was Shokin -- fired by Poroshenko-- who Trump was whining about.

  213. Trump happens to be lucky that Biden's son was working in a corrupt country for an obscene amount of money sitting on a board that traditionally should be an unpaid position. Now that gives Trump the opportunity to be like Rumpelstiltskin and spin straw into gold.

  214. We have to remember, all roads in the Ukraine go back to Manafort, who now sits in jail due in part due to records released in the Ukraine. He spent a decade working for former and pro-Russian Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. Yanukovych was ousted in 2014. And when Manafort comes on board the Trump express, we had the only change in the Republican platform, which "won’t call for giving weapons to Ukraine to fight Russian and rebel forces, contradicting the view of almost all Republican foreign policy leaders in Washington" Trump and his ilk are undermining Ukraines attempt at democratic reform to help Russia - AGAIN- while the FP establishment pushes back. So, what about Biden? Well, this is where Trump and his crazy lawyer think that anyone doing business in the Ukraine must have been coreupt. Is Manafort whispering in their ear through his lawyers? Most likely. Who else knows where the bodies are buries ober there and who is angling for a pardon? This is as rotten as it gets. .

  215. @mac Does anyone recall thst the House was controlled by R s for six years under Obama and two under Trump? Why no Biden investigation then, if there was so much corruption?

  216. When it is time to pay the devil is due for services rendered to trump to avoid prison, , the check will be passed to the American public.

  217. Had to read this 2 times. Thanks to the Free Press. I look forward to reading Mr. Giuliani's defense . They were never looking for reliable dirt, just dirt, to start a rumor to give to the Russians to put it in social media. POTUS has his old plausible deniability defense ready but it might not work this time. Americans are paying attention.

  218. I find it astonishing how this newspaper continues to call Trump's claims an "unfounded" theory, when there has been no investigation. Meanwhile, this newspaper repeatedly claimed that there was something in the Russia investigation, when there was nothing. Perhaps we should stick to reporting the news. The American people can see through this. We are communicating on social media, and drawing our own conclusions.

  219. It does not take a legal genius to realize that the Ukrainians weren’t paying Hunter Biden 80,000 a month for his experience or his expertise. They paid him for the same reasons oligarchs paid Bill Clinton millions a year for no show jobs while Hillary was Secretary of State or was otherwise “in play”.

  220. Russia, Ukraine, the rest of eastern Europe has a long history of criminal politicians and rulers, of bribery as the way to get ahead, and of vice of all sorts. Don't expect much, please.

  221. much sound and fury signifying nothing..... which is exactly what 'america's mayor' and 'america's nightmare' will say.

  222. Like iron filings and a magnet, these vile, corrupt people keep finding one another.

  223. Trump and Giuliani - so sleazy and corrupt. I'm so sad for my country.

  224. Another rich road map for the House investigators to follow. This also provides a sense of how Trump conducted business, leaving so many hooks in him and him in return trolling stinky bait in swampy waters. Trump, in the end may be the cartographer to the great grift and corruption that plagues the world with men like Putin ... and Trump. "Many people are saying" ... a sure sign that another lie is being set on the Trump line.