Why is Rudy Giuliani Targeting Serhiy Leshchenko?

Over the past few months, Rudy Giuliani has repeatedly levied accusations about Serhiy Leshchenko, a journalist and member of an anti-corruption committee in Ukraine. On Fox News in May 2019, Giuliani brought up Leshchenko and a black book that he falsely claimed was fabricated. He not only brought him up, but the host was in the middle of asking another question and Giuliani insisted on mentioning him by name.

Below is a transcript of that section. It begins at around 3:01 in the embedded video on Fox News.

Shannon Bream: Ok. So, let me ask you, your decision not to go …

Giuliani: I’ll give you his name. A gentleman by the name of …

SB: Your decision not to go …

RG: Wait. Wait. Let me … let me finish.

SB: Ok.

RG: A gentleman by the name of Leshchenko …

SB: Yes.

RG: … who supplied a black book

He then goes on to make claims about the book that do not match with the facts. The courts never ruled that the “black book” was fabricated. One court ruled that revealing the ledger information about payments to Manafort was somehow illegal and a higher court overturned that ruling.

Throughout the entirety of the interview, Leshchenko is the only Ukrainian that Giuliani mentions by name. He doesn’t even mention the Ukrainian president by name. He very deliberately broadcasts Leshchenko’s name to the Fox News audience.

As an aside, he declares to Bream that “I will get out of it. In order to remove any political suggestion, I will step back and I’ll just watch it unfold.” But he did not get out of it. In August, he met with a top Ukrainian official, Andriy Yermak, in Madrid. At this meeting, he urged Yermak to “investigate the darn things.”

This interview is full of important information, as it relates to the Trump-Zelensky scandal. But some of that will have to be left for another time. As far as some of Rudy’s accusations about Hunter Biden, he made similar accusations later that Chris Cuomo of CNN debunked.

Speaking of Cuomo, on the 19th of September, Giuliani appeared on Cuomo’s show and once again brought up Leshchenko by name. He again falsely claims that a Ukrainian court found that Leshchenko “produced a phony affidavit.” That is not, in any way, what the original court ruling found. To reiterate, the court found that Leshchenko illegally revealed information about Manafort. Also, he is still refusing to acknowledge the fact that a higher court rightly overruled the lower court’s decision.

Earlier in that interview, he makes it abundantly clear why he is targeting Leshchenko by name. It is solely because of the revelations of Manafort’s corrupt dealings with Mr. Yanukovych’s pro-Russian political party. His focus on Leshchenko is all about Manafort.

These particular dealings had little to do with the Russian interference investigation by Mueller. The payments happened between 2007 and 2012, years before Manafort ever joined the campaign.  Accordingly, the revelations about those payments had no impact on the campaign. In fact, between the time when those payments came to light and Manafort left the campaign, the Trump campaign didn’t even see an effect in the polls. Overall, they gained a bit of ground on Clinton during that period of the 14th to the 17th of August, and they continued to gain ground over the coming weeks.

Furthermore, Manfort remained unofficially connected to the campaign after his official departure, according to the Mueller Report.

Other reporting reveals an alleged motive for Giuliani to target Leshchenko.  

Through these deliberations carried on by his attorneys, Manafort exhorted the White House to press Ukrainian officials to investigate and discredit individuals, both in the US and in Ukraine, who he believed had published damning information about his political consulting work in the Ukraine.

Leshchenko is a Ukrainian who published damning information about Manafort’s work in Ukraine. So, when Giuliani repeatedly focuses on Leshchenko, he is allegedly doing exactly what Manafort demanded of the White House. He is Trump’s lawyer and he stated on the record that his efforts in Ukraine were on behalf of his client. Giuliani’s admission here directly incriminates Trump in this, as well.