According to a new report by investigative journalist John Solomon, a key piece of evidence used to justify Robert Mueller’s investigation of alleged links between associates of President Donald Trump and Russian officials has been proven to be a complete fabrication.
Solomon, a Fox News contributor who previously wrote for The Hill and has been working to illuminate alleged corruption in Ukraine by former Vice President Joe Biden and other Democrats, reports that the infamous “black ledger” that was used to investigate and convict former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was completely bogus.
The ledger emerged in Kiev during the 2016 election and purported to show that Manafort had taken cash payments from Russian-backed politicians in Ukraine for his work as a consultant in the region.
Solomon wrote Thursday in his new media venture, Just the News, that according to a written summary of an April 2018 special counsel interview, former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates told federal investigators working for Mueller that the ledger was “completely made up.”
Gates, a former longtime business associate of Manafort’s, cooperated with the former FBI director’s investigation in 2018. In exchange for a reduced sentence, Gates gave investigators information that ultimately helped to convict Manafort of multiple financial and fraud crimes.
However, Gates stated during the investigation that he believed the document was a fraud, according to Solomon.
Following an interview with Gates this past week, Solomon wrote:
“Gates confirmed the information in the summary. ‘The black ledger was a fabrication,’ Gates said. ‘It was never real, and this fact has since been proven true.’
“Gates’ account is backed by several Ukrainian officials who stated in interviews dating to 2018 that the ledger was of suspicious origins and could not be corroborated.”
During his interview with investigators, Gates reportedly stated that the information in the ledger was inconsistent with how former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s Party of Regions paid consultants, such as Manafort, Solomon reported.
Further calling into question the veracity of the ledger, Gates stated that Yanukovych’s pro-Russian political party lost all official accounting records in a fire during Ukraine’s 2014 Maidan uprising.
Gates told prosecutors the ledger was a “copy of a document that did not exist” and that the handwriting inside did not match that of the accountant who would have authored such a ledger.
He also told investigators that a New York Times report outlining the contents of the ledger contained inaccurate information. Solomon reported that Gates told Mueller’s team, “The article was completely false.”
A 2016 Times article that first reported the existence of the ledger alleged that between 2007 and 2012, Manafort was paid $12.7 million in under-the-table cash payments from Yanukovych’s pro-Russian party.
Gates and Manafort were indicted in 2017 on charges of conspiracy, money laundering and other alleged crimes. In December, Gates was sentenced to 45 days in jail, three years probation and a $20,000 fine. Manafort is serving a seven-and-a-half-year sentence for tax fraud and other charges that stemmed from Mueller’s investigation.
The ledger, along with the infamous Steele dossier, was instrumental in orchestrating a fraudulent narrative that Trump and his associates colluded with foreign officials to influence the 2016 election.
Now, the integrity of both documents has been shredded.
Two weeks ago, former U.K Parliament member Rupert Allason conducted a forensic analysis of former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele’s work on the infamous and now-discredited dossier outlining alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election and coordination between Trump campaign aides and Russian officials.
Allason concluded there was “a strong possibility that all Steele’s material has been fabricated.”
Since the date of his inauguration, Trump has had to work under a cloud of never-ending partisan investigations.
It is becoming increasingly apparent that the foundations of those investigations were built on untruths and disinformation.