Trump's Ukrainian gambit... by Steve Komarnyckyj

With his poll ratings plummeting, Trump is trying a last roll of the dice, writes Steve Komarnyckyj.

On 20th May, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee voted to subpoena Blue Star Strategies, a consultancy linked to Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden. The Senate House and Government Affairs Committee (SHGAC) is also subpoenaing Obama era intelligence officials. Both moves are Trump's last throw of the dice.

His bungling response to the Pandemic, which has included suggesting that household cleaning products might cure the virus has made him a global laughing stock. Then he spent almost an hour cowering in his White House bunker on 29th May while protests exploded over the death of George Floyd.

Subsequently, he decided that the demonstrators were Soros funded lefty terrorists and planned to send in the army. He might have become the first American president to launch an invasion of his own country but the Joint Chiefs of Staff scuppered the move. So all he has left now is his plan to smear Biden as corrupt. EU Today examines whether there is any truth to the claims about Biden and looks at what happens next.

Ron Johnson

Who is behind the campaign against Joe Biden?

Ron Johnson of the SHGAC is Rudy Giuliani's bagman in the Capitol and has seemingly been tasked with using it to attack the Bidens. He was behind the vote to subpoena Blue Star Strategies, a consultancy firm linked to Trump's democratic foe, on 20th May. Johnson is also subpoenaing Obama era intelligence officials. He is suggesting that Trump's supposed Russia ties were part of a 2016 plot to hamper the incoming president.

A group of Ukrainian oligarchs with Russian intelligence links, including Andrij Telizhenko, Giuliani's bagman in Ukraine, have apparently been digging up dirt on Burisma. Ukraine has launched court case proceedings targeting Biden on the basis of taped recordings provided by this motley crew. The Ukrainian president, Zelensky, is playing along with them for now.


But is Giuliani running the show?

Yes, Giuliani, Trump's attorney has been trying to dig up dirt on the Bidens since 2019. He is behind Johnson’s every move but he might be a patsy himself. Telizhenko is suspected by federal authorities of spreading Russian disinformation. His father was a KGB agent. Andriy Derkach, the Ukrainian politician who met Giuliani through Telizhenko in December 2019 and fed him dirt on the Bidens, is an FSB graduate. Join the dots.

So what's the deal with the Bidens and Blue Star Strategies?

Hunter Biden joined the board of a Ukrainian energy firm called Burisma in April 2014, the same month that the UK froze accounts belonging to the firm's owner Mykola Zlochevsky.

Zlochevsky was investigated by Ukraine for handing out government contracts to his own firms when he was a minister in Yanukovych's government from 2010 to 2012. The investigation is currently on hold.

In 2017, Burisma signed a cooperation agreement with the Atlantic Council, a powerful Washington think tank linked to Blue Star Strategies. Johnson will try to show that both the Bidens were involved in helping Burisma launder its image in Washington by using the Atlantic Council and Blue Star Strategies. The Atlantic Council made a lot of money on the deal and helped Burisma staged lavish energy conferences in Monaco, where Zlochevsky is rather conspicuously hiding. Crucially Telizhenko worked for Blue Star Strategies in 2016 to 2017 when the Atlantic Council struck the deal with Burisma which his new Republican friends suggest was dodgy...

Although federal authorities warned that he was suspected of circulating Russian disinformation in March 2020 he has apparently been supplying information unrelated to his tenure at BSS (which is protected by a non disclosure agreement) to Johnson and other committee members for some time according to the Washington Post.

Sally Painter

Surely these savvy Washington experts couldn't have got involved with anyone who might be "dodgy"?

Sadly the answer is yes they could and there are links between the two organisations. Sally Painter, one of the co founders of Blue Star Strategies, and who was part of the Clinton administration in 1993 to 1995, is on the board of the Atlantic Council. Both organisations have undertaken PR work for questionable clients and been criticised in particular for their links with Latvia.

The Atlantic Council's Anders Aslund wrote a book with former Latvian Prime Minister entitled ‘How Latvia Came Through the Financial Crisis’ (2011, Peterson Institute). This rather odd text presented the collapse as simply a by-product of the financial crisis which affected the world in 2008.

Dombrovskis, the ex Latvian PM, and his colleagues were presented as rational economic managers who heroically averted financial disaster. The book praises Ilmars Rimsevics, the former Governor of the Bank of Latvia, who has been investigated for bribery. The collapse of Parex Bank is ascribed to a run on deposits when it was in fact looted by its Tambov mafia connected owners.

In 2017 Aslund similarly produced a report on money laundering in Latvia which concluded that the country was no longer a significant centre of that criminal activity. The report was part-funded via Blue Star Strategies by ABLV bank which would subsequently be sanctioned for money laundering in 2018 and collapsed.

So what happens now?

Events are rapidly overtaking Trump's plans. He is facing huge protests inflamed by his crass decision to threaten to use the army to quell the demonstrations triggered by George Floyd's killing.

Johnson's plan to grill Obama era intelligence officials like Comey to see if they tried to undermine Trump before he was inaugurated will almost certainly backfire. They are hardly likely to provide him with evidence to back up what is ultimately a fantasy. Trump had links to Russia which merited investigation. His campaign manager Manafort is implicated in handing American polling data over to a Ukrainian oligarch and a possible Russian agent.

Trump is connected to numerous shady Russians, ranging from spooks to mafioso, and his attack on Biden will only draw the fire back on himself and muddy waters awash with dark money. Washington is not a swamp as he once claimed but if it were he and his team would be the largest piece of scum on its surface.

Read also by Steve Komarnyckyj:

Main image U.S. federal government via Wikipedia

Image (Ron Johnson) By Office of Senator Ron Johnson -, Public Domain,

Image (Sally Painter) BuzzFeed.

All op-eds are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect that of EUToday.

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Steve Komarnyckyj

Steve Komarnyckyj

Steve Komarnyckyj's literary translations and poems have appeared in Index on Censorship, Modern Poetry in Translation and many other journals. He is the holder of two PEN awards and a highly regarded English language poet whose work has been described as articulating "what it means to be human" (Sean Street). He runs Kalyna Language Press with his partner Susie and three domestic cats.

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