The New York Times correspondent, whose 2016 story revealed that Paul Manafort had business interests in Ukraine whilst doing political work for the ousted former president Viktor Yanukovych, distinguishes two competing scandals and narratives in the whole Trump-Biden-Ukraine controversy.
Andrew Kramer argues that firstly, it is what Donald Trump calls a “real scandal,” namely his likely 2020 election competitor from the Democrats Joe Biden and his family “behaving inappropriately” hinting at the money made in Ukraine when his son Hunter Biden held a position at a private gas company Burisma. The company is owned by the former ecology minister during Yanukovych’s presidency, Mykola Zlochevsky and had previously been investigated by Ukrainian authorities.
Secondly, it is Trump’s personal attorney Rudolph Giuliani’s claims that Ukraine had meddled in the U.S. election by playing on the Democrats’ side because of the investigation of chairman of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign Manafort.
At the same time, despite the media, including American, sometimes attributing publication of Manafort records to former Ukrainian MP Sergii Leshchenko, Kramer stresses that it was his article for The New York Times that first raised the issue.
For credibility, the journalist shares his scrupulous approach to reporting: before publication, Kramer had “asked every possible source who had access to the ‘black ledger’ if they found anything that mentioned Manafort”, he “put in a request with the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine” (NABU) whose answer was that “there were mentions of Manafort in the accounting documents for political spending by the Party of Regions”.
Kramer plays down some of the reporting and discussion as to how Manafort information came to light, by stating there were “no secret backroom dealings”, but rather “a perfectly sourced and written statement”.
The information didn't come from a leak on Manafort... Law enforcement organization’s director had gone on the record [to explain] why he released the information [and assured that it was] released lawfully.
Looking ahead to what the scandal might mean for Ukraine-U.S. relations, Kramer predicts a likely impeachment vote in the U.S. Congress and the story remaining in the headlines on both sides of the Atlantic in the coming months.