A series of conspiratorial claims against Ukraine’s government and the US embassy in Kiev have now been alleged by President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.
Giuliani, a key figure in the impeachment inquiry into the President, tweeted out Thursday evening and into Friday morning several allegations over US aid to Ukraine and supposed stand-down orders directed from the US embassy in Ukraine to the country’s police force.
“The Accounts Chamber in Ukraine found an alleged misuse of $5.3B in U.S. funds during the Obama administration while Biden was ‘Point Man,’” Giuliani tweeted Thursday night. “Obama embassy urged Ukrainian police NOT to investigate!”
The next morning Giuliani tweeted the same allegations, this time naming former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch – who Giuliani worked to have removed from her post – and adding a new conspiracy that “much of the $5.3B in US Aid Ukraine reported as misused was given to the embassy’s favored NGO’s.”
Facts First: The $5.3 billion figure comes from multiple countries, not solely from the US, and funds to non-government organizations represents a small percentage of this aid. The Accounting Chamber of Ukraine reported that there was not a proper accounting of the funds and their designated projects, not that the funds were “misused.” And there is no evidence to support the accusation that the US embassy “urged Ukrainian police NOT to investigate.”
During his trip to Ukraine this week, Giuliani met with Ukrainian lawmaker Andrii Derkach Thursday, who – days prior – provided Giuliani with documents on foreign aid to Ukraine. Activists and anti-corruption experts describe Derkach as a politician with suspect political motives. His father was the head of Ukraine’s security services under President Leonid Kuchma. The younger Derkach’s biography states he attended the Academy of the Ministry of Security of Russia in the early 90s, also known as the academy of the FSB, the successor to the Soviet-era KGB.
In a letter sent Tuesday from Derkach to Giuliani, Derkach – after flattering Giuliani as a promoter of “justice, freedom and other American values” and a fighter against corruption – mentioned (and provided copies of) a 2017 report from the Accounting Chamber to draw Giuliani’s “attention to the facts of the inefficient use of U.S. taxpayer’s funds.”
It’s here that Derkach points to the $5.3 billion in foreign aid, which he mentions span across 390 projects in Ukraine.
The 2017 report from Ukraine’s Accounting Chamber, however, does not state that these funds were misused as Giuliani claims, but rather that there was not a “proper and complete accounting of the projects” due to a lack of solid regulatory framework in the government.
Sergey Fursa, a financial expert in Kiev and analyst for Dragon Capital, told CNN that the category in the report which likely encompasses NGOs represents “only 6 percent of total funding” whereas “70 percent of the funds went towards nuclear power stations security and military support which are large government-controlled programs.” Out of the $5.3, the US provided 27 percent, approximately $1.4 billion, according to the report.
Giuliani presented no evidence to support his claim that the US embassy in Ukraine ordered police there not to investigate this theoretical (and unfounded) misuse of US aid. Given that the report does not claim a “misuse” of the $5.3 billion in foreign aid, it doesn’t make sense that the US embassy would direct police in Ukraine not to investigate something that never was.
In his tweet, Giuliani noted that “at the time” of these supposed events, “Yovanovitch, witness for the Witchunt, was the [US Ambassador to Ukraine].” This is not the first time Giuliani has gone after Yovanovitch. In her testimony to the House Intelligence Committee during the impeachment inquiry, Yovanovitch said that she became aware of a campaign to get her removed from her post and that it was led by Rudy Giuliani and Yuriy Lutsenko, the former Ukrainian Prosecutor General who was also behind Giuliani’s debunked claims against the Bidens.
One part of this campaign to remove the ambassador was the accusation from Lutsenko that Yovanovitch created a “Do Not Prosecute” list for the Ukrainian government of individuals exempt from investigations into corruption. Yovanovitch testified that Lutsenko later retracted this claim and the State Department called it an “outright fabrication.”
CNN’s Kylie Atwood contributed to this report.