Giuliani was accompanied by Andriy Telizhenko, a 29-year-old former Ukrainian diplomat who has recently skyrocketed to prominence in American conservative media as the chief advocate of a “bogus conspiracy theory” that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 United States presidential election, BuzzFeed News reported Thursday morning.
Telizhenko was a primary source for a 2017 Politico article titled “Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump backfire.” The article was cited frequently by Devin Nunes, the top-ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, during his confrontations with witnesses in impeachment hearings last month.
The once-obscure Telizhenko, who worked for a short time at Ukraine’s embassy in Washington, D.C., in 2016, is also a leading advocate of the allegation that former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden acted improperly when he led an international effort to remove the country’s top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, according to a profile of Telizhenko by the Kyiv Post.
Trump’s alleged attempts to strong-arm Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky into announcing an investigation into the “corruption” allegations against Biden is at the center of the impeachment inquiry. According to witnesses and evidence in the inquiry, the president withheld military aid from the country as leverage to get the Biden investigation announcement — one that would benefit him politically in the 2020 election.
With America’s Mayor @RudyGiuliani prepping for tomorrow another hard working day in meetings with Mr. Shokin and Mr. Lutcenko. To all conspiracy theorist there is no secret on what we are doing.The TRUTH will come out. God Bless Ukraine and God Bless the United States of America pic.twitter.com/kOucxt2W8a— Andrii Telizhenko (@AndriyUkraineTe) December 5, 2019
Telizhenko is “hardly a reliable source for the claims he is making,” according to the Kyiv Post profile.
According to the BuzzFeed News report, Giuliani and Telizhenko are in Kyiv to gather interviews for a three-part television documentary to be titled Ukrainian Witnesses Destroy Schiff’s Case. The documentary will reportedly air on the One America Network, a low-budget cable news outlet that has gained a degree of recognition for what BuzzFeed called its “vehemently pro-Trump” stance.
But Kyiv-based BuzzFeed reporter Christopher Miller wrote that given the “questionable cast of Ukrainian characters” that Giuliani has met with for the documentary, “whatever information he manages to dig up is likely to be extremely dubious.”
In addition to Telizhenko, Giuliani has also met with Andriy Derkach, whom Miller called a “shady Ukrainian lawmaker.” Derkach belonged to the Party of Regions, a pro-Russian political organization of which ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich — who was deposed in a 2014 popular uprising — was also a member.
Derkach, who has also allegedly played a role in spreading the 2016 “Ukraine election interference” story, posted a photo of himself meeting with Giuliani on his Facebook page.
Trump’s now-jailed 2016 campaign manager, Paul Manafort, was Yanukovich’s chief political advisor and was paid $600,000 per month over a four-year period by the Party of Regions for his work grooming him for the country’s presidency, according to a USA Today report.