Sections of a so-called whistleblower’s complaint alleging President Donald Trump was “using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country” in the 2020 presidential race relies upon a self-described investigative journalism organization bankrolled massively by billionaire activist George Soros.
The complainer admits, “I was not a direct witness to most of the events described.” Still, the so-called whistleblower goes on to allege that Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.
The transcript of the phone call authorized for release by President Trump evidences no such pressure or quid pro quo and shows the request to investigate alleged corruption involving Biden and his family was a small part of the call.
The “whistleblower” concedes that his information is based on secondhand knowledge: “However, I found my colleagues’ accounts of these events to be credible because, in almost all cases, multiple officials recounted fact patterns that were consistent with one another.”
One key section of the so-called whistleblower’s document claims that “multiple U.S. officials told me that Mr. Giuliani had reportedly privately reached out to a variety of other Zelensky advisers, including Chief of Staff Andriy Bohdan and Acting Chairman of the Security Service of Ukraine Ivan Bakanov.”
This was allegedly to follow up on Trump’s call with Zelensky in order to discuss the “cases” mentioned in that call, according to the so-called whistleblower’s narrative. The complainer was clearly referencing Trump’s request for Ukraine to investigate the Biden corruption allegations.
Even though the statement was written in first person – “multiple U.S. officials told me” – it contains a footnote referencing a report by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP).
That footnote reads:
In a report published by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) on 22 July, two associates of Mr. Giuliani reportedly traveled to Kyiv in May 2019 and met with Mr. Bakanov and another close Zelensky adviser, Mr. Serhiy Shefir.
The so-called whistleblower’s account goes on to rely upon that same OCCRP report on three more occasions. It does so to:
- Write that Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko “also stated that he wished to communicate directly with Attorney General Barr on these matters.”
- Document that Trump adviser Rudi Giuliani “had spoken in late 2018 to former Prosecutor General Shokin, in a Skype call arranged by two associates of Mr. Giuliani.”
- Bolster the charge that, “I also learned from a U.S. official that ‘associates’ of Mr. Giuliani were trying to make contact with the incoming Zelenskyy team.” The so-called whistleblower then relates in another footnote, “I do not know whether these associates of Mr. Giuliani were the same individuals named in the 22 July report by OCCRP, referenced above.”
The OCCRP report repeatedly referenced is actually a “joint investigation by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and BuzzFeed News, based on interviews and court and business records in the United States and Ukraine.”
BuzzFeed infamously also first published the full anti-Trump dossier alleging unsubstantiated collusion between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia. The dossier was paid for by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee and was produced by the Fusion GPS opposition dirt outfit.
The OCCRP and BuzzFeed “joint investigation” resulted in both OCCRP and BuzzFeed publishing similar lengthy pieces on July 22 claiming that Giuliani was attempting to use connections to have Ukraine investigate Trump’s political rivals.
The so-called whistleblower’s document, however, only mentions the largely unknown OCCRP and does not reference BuzzFeed, which has faced scrutiny over its reporting on the Russia collusion claims.
“Two Unofficial US Operatives Reporting To Trump’s Lawyer Privately Lobbied A Foreign Government In A Bid To Help The President Win In 2020,” was the title of the BuzzFeed piece.
OCCRP’s article was titled, “Meet the Florida Duo Helping Giuliani Investigate for Trump in Ukraine.”
The charges in the articles seem to be the public precursors for a lot of the so-called whistleblower’s own claims.
Soros, Google, Omidyar Network
The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) describes itself as a “non-profit media organization providing an investigative reporting platform for the OCCRP Network.”
Using generalized phraseology, it states, “We now connect 45 non-profit investigative centers in 34 countries, scores of journalists and several major regional news organizations across Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America.”
Every page of the OCCRP features the same bottom section listing the icons of four of the organization’s top funders, including Soros’s Open Society Foundations and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Indeed, OCCRP provides a hyperlink to the webpage for Soros’s Open Society at the bottom left corner of every page on OCCRP’s own website.
Soros’s Open Society was listed as the number two donor in most of the annual financial records posted on OCCRP’s website starting in 2012. Some years list Soros as the organization’s top donor.
OCCRP advertises its other funders, including Google, the National Endowment for Democracy, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the U.S. State Department Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.
Another listed OCCRP funder is the Omidyar Network, which is the nonprofit for liberal billionaire eBay founder Pierre Omidyar.
Together with Soros’s Open Society, Omidyar also funds the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, which hosts the International Fact-Checking Network that partnered with Facebook to help determine whether news story are “disputed.”
Like OCCRP, the Poynter Institute’s so-called news fact-checking project is openly funded by not only Soros’ Open Society Foundations but also Google and the National Endowment for Democracy.
The Omidyar Network has partnered with the Open Society on numerous projects and it has given grants to third parties using the Soros-funded Tides Foundation. Tides is one of the largest donors to left-wing causes in the U.S.
And OCCRP seems to have gone to bat for Soros on several occasions.
One such example is an OCCRP article titled, “How Macedonia’s Scandal-plagued Nationalists Lobbied America’s Right and Pulled Them Into an Anti-Soros Crusade.”
That piece targeted Breitbart News as well as conservative groups and Republicans, claiming, “Conservative media outlets, such as Breitbart and Fox News, as well as the right-wing Heritage Foundation, have devoted considerable coverage to Soros’ alleged meddling in Macedonia.”
“And more than a dozen Republican congressmen have written critical letters questioning the U.S. embassy and Ambassador Jess Baily for working with Soros-linked NGOs.”
Macedonia has been a center of Soros’s action network, with the Open Society boasting in their literature that it spent some $98.7 million funding groups in Macedonia since 1992.
Soros Group and Fusion GPS
As first reported by the Daily Caller, IRS filings showed the Democracy Integrity Project, a nonprofit funded by Soros, in turn hired firms tied to Fusion GPS and anti-Trump dossier author Christopher Steele for more than $3.8 million in 2017.
The Daily Caller reported:
The group paid $3.3 million to Bean LLC., the holding company that controls Fusion GPS. Another $250,000 was paid to Walsingham Partners Ltd., a London-based firm owned by Steele and his partner, Christopher Burrows.
TDIP paid another London-based intelligence firm called Istok Associates Ltd. nearly $150,000, also for “research consulting.” The company has released investigative reports looking into whether Russia helped fund the Brexit campaign.
Nearly $130,000 was paid to Edward Austin Ltd., a London-based intelligence consultancy operated by Edward Baumgartner, a Fusion GPS contractor. Another $148,000 was paid to the law firm Zuckerman Spaeder, which has represented Fusion GPS in a variety of dossier-related legal matters.
Questions Surround Biden Family Over Ukraine Dealings
In his phone call with Zelensky, meanwhile, Trump asked him to investigate Biden and his son, the transcript relates.
The transcript reads:
The other thing. There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it … It sounds horrible to me.
Entirely missing from much of the news media coverage is the larger context of the story, which spotlights significant questions about Biden’s role in Ukraine policy under the Obama administration. This took place during a period where his son, Hunter Biden, received $50,000 a month from a natural gas company there.
Ukraine in 2016 removed a key prosecutor probing alleged corruption involving the same firm paying Hunter Biden. Joe Biden two years later admitted to personally threatening to withhold loan guarantees from Ukraine unless the prosecutor in question, Viktor Shokin, was removed.
Biden boasted about his role in the removal of Shokin during a panel discussion sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations in 2018.
“I remember going over (to Ukraine), convincing our team … that we should be providing for loan guarantees. … And I was supposed to announce that there was another billion-dollar loan guarantee. And I had gotten a commitment from (then Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko) and from (then-Prime Minister Arseniy) Yatsenyuk that they would take action against the state prosecutor (Shokin). And they didn’t…” Biden said.
“They were walking out to a press conference. I said, nah, … we’re not going to give you the billion dollars. They said, ‘You have no authority. You’re not the president.’ … I said, call him. I said, I’m telling you, you’re not getting the billion dollars. I said, you’re not getting the billion. … I looked at them and said, ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money.’ Well, son of a bitch. He got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time.”
After it was revealed that Hunter Biden joined the board of Burisma Holdings in 2014, ethics experts were quoted by the news media as raising questions about potential conflicts of interest. Joe Biden claims no wrongdoing.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.
Joshua Klein contributed research to this article.