Treasury plans to sanction Ukraine’s Andrii Derkach over Biden dirt

  • The US Treasury Department designated a top Ukrainian government official on Thursday for sanctions for “attempting to influence the US electoral process.”
  • The official, Andrii Derkach, “has been an active Russian agent for over a decade, maintaining close connections with the Russian Intelligence Services,” the department said in a press release.
  • Derkach made headlines in July when he sent packets of dirt on Joe Biden to President Donald Trump’s top Republican allies on Capitol Hill.
  • He also met in December with Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to discuss launching investigations targeting the Bidens.
  • Thursday’s press release said Derkach waged a “covert influence campaign centered on cultivating false and unsubstantiated narratives concerning US officials” ahead of the election, and “spurring corruption investigations in both Ukraine and the United States designed to culminate prior to election day.”
  • He “almost certainly targeted the US voting populace, prominent US persons, and members of the US government,” and he used US platforms and pro-Russian lobbyists in the US to spread his claims. 
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The US Treasury Department on Thursday designated a top Ukrainian government official and three others for sanctions for “attempting to influence the US electoral process.”

In a press release, the Treasury said the official, Andrii Derkach, “has been an active Russian agent for over a decade, maintaining close connections with the Russian Intelligence Services.”

Derkach made headlines in July when Politico reported that he sent packets of material on the 2020 Democratic nominee Joe Biden to President Donald Trump’s top congressional allies. Democratic lawmakers sounded the alarm and said the packets were part of a foreign disinformation effort to damage Biden’s campaign ahead of the November general election.

Derkach is also an associate of Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. The two men met in Kyiv last December to discuss investigating the Biden family, according to Politico. The House of Representatives was in the middle of its impeachment inquiry into Trump at the time over his efforts to strongarm the Ukrainian government into launching politically motivated investigations targeting the Bidens.

Thursday’s press release from the Treasury said that from late-2019 to mid-2020, Derkach waged a “covert influence campaign centered on cultivating false and unsubstantiated narratives concerning US officials in the upcoming 2020 Presidential Election, spurring corruption investigations in both Ukraine and the United States designed to culminate prior to election day.”

Those narratives and conspiracy theories “were pushed in Western media through coverage of press conferences and other news events, including interviews and statements,” the release said. From May to July, Derkach also released manipulated audio tapes, made baseless allegations, and put out other “unsupported information” to discredit US officials.

He “almost certainly targeted the US voting populace, prominent US persons, and members of the US government,” and he used US platforms, English-language documents and videos, and pro-Russian lobbyists in the US to spread his claims, the statement said.

“Derkach has directly or indirectly engaged in, sponsored, concealed, or otherwise been complicit in foreign interference in an attempt to undermine the upcoming 2020 US presidential election,” it continued. “Today’s designation of Derkach is focused on exposing Russian malign influence campaigns and protecting our upcoming elections from foreign interference. This action is a clear signal to Moscow and its proxies that this activity will not be tolerated.”

Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin said that Derkach and other Russian agents “employ manipulation and deceit to attempt to influence elections in the United States and elsewhere around the world. The United States will continue to use all the tools at its disposal to counter these Russian disinformation campaigns and uphold the integrity of our election system.”

source.



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