Yuri Lutsenko, the former top prosecutor in Ukraine who is now at center of the scandal over Donald Trump's pressure on that country's government to stage a bogus "investigation" of Democrat Joe Biden, also played a key role in thwarting special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the 2016 Trump campaign's cooperation with Russia in 2016. That allegation, offering perhaps the first direct connection between Trump's Ukraine and Russia election collusion scandals, appears in a stunning new report by longtime investigative journalist Murray Waas, published on Tuesday by The New York Review of Books' online site, NYR Daily.
Not only did Lutsenko allow suspected Russian intelligence agent Konstantin Kilimnik to escape to Russia where he could not be reached by Mueller, but the United States State Department knew about it and said so in a 2018 memo that remains classified, according to Waas' investigation.
Lutsenko, who met with Trump lawyer and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani in January, joined Giuliani in publicly raising issues over Biden's involvement in the firing of Ukraine's previous prosecutor general, Viktor Shokin, as The Inquisitr has reported. Giuliani and Trump both claim that when he was the United States' Vice President, Biden forced the firing of Shokin to halt an investigation of his son, Hunter Biden, who was employed by a controversial Ukrainian energy firm.But Giuliani and Trump's allegations have no basis in fact and have been repeatedly debunked. Despite his initial seeming support of the false Biden allegations — statements that led both Giuliani and Trump to speak highly of Lutsenko — the former Ukrainian prosecutor later disavowed the claims. He announced in late September that after looking into the matter, he found that neither of the Bidens did anything wrong, nor did they violate Ukrainian law, according to an NBC News report.
Lutsenko's reversal caused Giuliani to do an about-face, changing his public assessment of Lutsenko as "an honest guy" to "the prosecutor that Joe Biden put in in order to tank the case," according to the NBC News report. But Lutsenko had already played a key role in airing the false allegations against Biden as if they were credible.
Now, according to a report by Waas, it appears that Lustenko also played a major role in blocking Mueller from investigating perhaps the most serious allegation of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia — that Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort repeatedly funneled confidential, internal campaign polling data to Kilimnik, who Mueller reported is connected to Russian intelligence agencies.
Mueller's report remains available to read online via The New York Times.As The Inquisitr has reported, even Manafort's business partner, Rick Gates, described Kilimnik as "a spy." The Ukrainian-born Kilimnik also reportedly has close connections to Russian metals tycoon Oleg Deripaska, a trusted associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Manafort, Mueller found, was deeply in debt to Deripaska stemming from Manafort's work as a high-level, pro-Russian political operative in Ukraine.
When it became clear to Mueller that Manafort had told him "multiple discernible lies" about his contacts with Kilimnik, according to Waas' report, that left the suspected Russian spy as the only possible witness who could testify about the covert transfer of sensitive polling data.
Because Mueller had already indicted Kilimnik on obstruction and witness tampering charges, the special counsel's office held serious leverage over the suspected Russia operative that would have increased the chance that he would tell Mueller the full story, according to Waas.
"But when Lutsenko arranged for Kilimnik to slip across the border, he eliminated the last likely possibility for the American people to learn the truth," Waas reported in his NYR Daily investigation.