Serhiy Leshchenko is a Ukrainian journalist and former member of parliament.

On Aug. 19, 2016, I convened a news conference in Kiev at which I revealed previously secret records of payments made by the former pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych to Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. (Yanukovych fled the country in February 2014 after he was toppled by our Revolution of Dignity, a popular uprising on the streets of Kiev.) The information came from the “black ledger of the Party of Regions,” which was obtained by an anonymous source in the burned-out ruins of the headquarters of Yanukovych’s party. Yanukovych had used the ledger to keep records of his illegal transactions. At that time, although I was a member of parliament, I continued to combine that position with my journalistic work, which is allowed by the laws of Ukraine.

I will always be angry at Manafort. His work contributed greatly to Yanukovych’s election victory in 2010; Yanukovych then used his position as president to enrich himself and his inner circle. I have no doubt that Yanukovych paid Manafort for his services out of the funds he robbed from Ukrainian taxpayers.

Corruption is harmful whether it takes place in America or Ukraine. My desire to expose Manafort’s doings was motivated by the desire for justice. Neither Hillary Clinton, nor Joe Biden, nor John Podesta, nor George Soros asked me to publish the information from the black ledger. I wanted to obtain accountability for the lobbyist whose client immersed Ukraine in a blood bath during the Revolution of Dignity and the subsequent war in eastern Ukraine, when Yanukovych called on Russia to send troops.

A federal judge in the United States later sentenced Manafort to 7½ years in prison for his many crimes. Among his offenses was his non-payment of taxes on undeclared income whose origins were revealed by Yanukovych’s secret accounts.

Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine the Manafort revelations would become fodder for the U.S. elections in 2020. President Trump’s lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, the mouthpiece of this campaign, is not only attempting to rehabilitate Manafort but is also working to undermine U.S. relations with Ukraine, which has been confronting Russian aggression on its own for more than five years. Giuliani and his associates are trying to drag our newly elected president, Volodymyr Zelensky, into a conflict between two foreign political parties, drastically limiting Ukraine’s room for maneuver in respect to the United States, perhaps its most important international partner.

Giuliani attempted to visit Ukraine in May 2019 with the express purpose of involving Zelensky in this process. His aim was quite clear: He was planning to ask Zelensky to intervene in an American election on the side of Trump.

Zelensky refused, forcing Giuliani to cancel his trip. Shortly after that, Giuliani went on Fox News, where he called me “[an enemy] of the president [and] of the United States.” This accusation had a devastating effect on my political career. I had been helping Zelenksy’s team since January — but now Giuliani’s smear cost me a job in the new administration. Not wanting to create problems for Zelensky, I withdrew from consideration.

Giuliani's entire approach is built on disinformation and the manipulation of facts. Giuliani has developed a conspiracy theory in which he depicts my revelations about Manafort as an intervention in the 2016 U.S. election in favor of the Democratic Party. In his May interview on Fox, Giuliani even claimed that I was convicted of a corresponding crime.

The facts do not support this allegation. Here’s the truth: The administrative court — which has long had a reputation as the most corrupt in Ukraine — ruled in December 2018 that I had acted illegally by disclosing the payments to Manafort. We appealed, and the verdict was suspended. And in the summer of this year, we won the appeal and the court’s decision was completely annulled. The court concluded that all the charges against me were unfounded, and even obliged my opponents to reimburse me for $100 in legal costs.

But Giuliani continues to quote this court decision even though it never attained legal force.

Giuliani also persists in claiming that the “black ledger” is a fake. He stated this most recently just a few days ago in an interview with CNN. In fact, the book is a genuine document. Expert examinations have confirmed the authenticity of the signatures shown in it.

Giuliani has also been attacking the fearless activists from our Anti-Corruption Action Center, who managed to uphold their ideals even though they were persecuted by the previous government of President Petro Poroshenko.

By repeating this lie, Giuliani is not only deceiving American citizens. He is not only intervening in Ukrainian politics, smearing parliamentarians and officials of the presidential administration. He is also trying to drag the new president of Ukraine into an American election, which is absolutely unacceptable.

I know that leaders of the three U.S. congressional committees that are now investigating the whistleblower case have asked the White House and the State Department to share all correspondence regarding the people involved in this story, including me. As a person who has had direct experience of many of these events, I express my readiness to testify to the U.S. Congress about what has been happening for the past six months in the gray zone of Ukrainian-American relations.

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