“Have you ever heard of the black ledger?” asked Nunes, the top Republican on the Intelligence Committee.
Nunes then asked if the black ledger is seen as credible information.
It didn’t seem to be the answer Nunes was expecting: “The black ledger is credible?”
“Yes,” Holmes said, again.
You may be asking: What’s the black ledger?
In August 2016, the New York Times reported that the name of Trump’s then-campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, appeared in a so-called “black ledger” located in Kyiv, next to notations indicating that Manafort had received more than $12 million in off-books payments during his time as a consultant for former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych.
At the time, Manafort denied receiving off-books or cash payments but he resigned from Trump’s campaign.
Some Ukrainians have subsequently alleged that the black ledger is a forgery and Republicans have alleged that it was leaked to hurt the Trump campaign, part of what they say was an effort by Ukrainians to hurt the Republican candidate.
They have accused an investigative journalist and former Ukrainian parliamentarian, Serhiy Leshchenko, of being behind the leak and claimed he was interfering in U.S. politics.
In an editorial published this week, however, Leschenko wrote that though he was the first to publish other pages of the black ledger, he did not have any pages that included Manafort’s name and played no role in its release to the New York Times.
“If I had that information, I would have been the first to publish it,” he wrote in a Kyiv Post column headlined, “Republicans keep lying about me at impeachment hearings.”
At Thursday’s hearing, Nunes kept pressing Holmes: “So, the motivation for Leschenko … was to go after a Trump campaign official and undermine Trump’s candidacy. Are you aware of that?”
“I think Leschenko’s motivation was the same motivation he’s always expressed, which is to expose corruption in Ukraine,” Holmes replied.