Biden's corruption led to Ukraine's destruction: fmr. Kiev diplomat
Former Ukrainian diplomat and political insider Andrii Telizhenko -- now under US sanctions on what he says are false grounds -- speaks out.
Former Ukrainian government official and diplomat Andrii Telizhenko joins Aaron Maté to discuss how, in his view, powerful US figures including Joe Biden have used Ukraine for personal corruption and the geopolitical aim of bleeding Russia -- all to the detriment of Ukrainians.
Telizhenko worked for the Ukrainian prosecutor general’s office in Kyiv before moving to Ukraine's US Embassy in 2015. He went on to work for Blue Star Strategies, a Democrat-run lobbying firm that represented Burisma, the Ukrainian gas company that appointed Biden’s son Hunter to a lucrative board seat.
Telizhenko, who cooperated with Rudy Giuliani's effort to dig up information about the Bidens' alleged corruption in Ukraine, has been sanctioned by the US Treasury Department for "having directly or indirectly engaged in, sponsored, concealed, or otherwise been complicit in foreign influence in a United States election." He addresses that allegation, and much more, in this interview.
Guest: Andrii Telizhenko. Political consultant who was previously a Ukrainian government official and diplomat.
AARON MATÉ: Welcome to Pushback, I’m Aaron Maté. Joining me is Andrii Telizhenko. He is a former Ukrainian diplomat who is sanctioned by the US Treasury Department for alleged election interference related to his efforts to detail the record of the Bidens in Ukraine, which we are going to get to.
Andrii, thank you for joining me.
ANDRII TELIZHENKO: Thank you for having me on, Aaron.
AARON MATÉ: I want to credit Garland Nixon for this interview. He has a channel on YouTube, and he recently interviewed you, and you said a lot of really extraordinary things that I think people should hear. And for people who are not familiar with your record, with your background, just talk to us a bit about your work in Ukraine as a government official.
ANDRII TELIZHENKO: Yeah, right after the Maidan, the coup, I was appointed as a senior policy advisor to the First Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine on security issues, intelligence issues, military issues. Then I was appointed afterwards as an advisor and had a protocol to the Prosecutor General of Ukraine, overseeing all the international connections within the Prosecutor General's office and his personal political issues, and was involved working with US Embassy, Canadian Embassy, all the G7 embassies on working with the Ukrainian government. Afterwards became a diplomat at the Ukraine Embassy and worked very closely with the White House and on the US elections, which, when I saw the corruption involved in the interference of Ukraine in this, I resigned from the Embassy and left, after six months working there, and became a political consultant. Got involved working with Blue Star Strategies, a lobby firm from Washington, worked there for a year—the lobby firm which lobbied Burisma—and that's how I saw everything on the inside. And when I understood what the shocking results that were happening for my country, for Ukraine—not only for Ukraine, for the corruption that was happening there—I came out with the truth: Ukrainian interference in the elections, the Hunter Biden story, Burisma, Blue Star.
And that's when I got involved with Rudy Giuliani. And afterwards I got sanctioned when I testified and gave my evidence to the US Senate—Senator [Ron] Johnson, Senator [Chuck] Grassley’s Committee in 2020—which, out of the 87 pages of the committee report, 27 pages are on my evidence and my email communications with the White House, with Blue Star, and what I went through at that time, and what I could provide openly to the Senate at that time, because they tried to subpoena me so I could provide more evidence which was under contract. But Senator [Mitt] Romney blocked the subpoena in the Senate committee, and they didn't get enough votes to subpoena me and to bring me in officially. So that’s where I am today and why I’m sanctioned.
AARON MATÉ: Yeah, so we're going to get to that. So, it's really interesting. Senator Romney, a Republican, blocked the efforts of other Republicans just to get you to come testify. Romney, for some reason, really did not want to hear what you had to say. But before we get into that—there's a lot there—you say, first of all, you resigned over Ukrainian election interference in the US. You're referring to the period of 2016?
ANDRII TELIZHENKO: Yes, that's correct. That's the period of 2016 presidential elections in the US.
AARON MATÉ: And so, you're working then in the Ukrainian Embassy around the time of the 2016 election in Washington.
ANDRII TELIZHENKO: Yeah.
AARON MATÉ: And what did you do?
ANDRII TELIZHENKO: I was the Third Secretary of the Embassy after being in my high positions in the government. I went to work at the Embassy, got invited to work there, and I was overseeing the elections as every embassy does. And they tried to get me involved because I was part of the Deep State at that time—they thought I was part of the Deep State—and they tried to get me involved into helping them get dirt on presidential candidate Donald Trump, Paul Manafort, Carter Page, George Papadopoulos, General [Michael] Flynn, and I didn't want to be involved in that. They introduced me to this woman called Chalupa, Alexandra Chalupa, which I talked about in the political article in 2017 which Ken Vogel wrote, and basically, she wanted dirt. I said no, and two months later I resigned from them, so I came back to Kiev.
And that's how the process worked, that was part of which I’d seen stuff within the White House, meeting through the Prosecutor General of Ukraine, the head of NABU [National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine], where they were talking about people like Paul Manafort, with Eric Ciaramella, and the national security team of Joe Biden—the vice president at that time—and Chalupa meeting in Washington, getting reports on George Papadopoulous and Carter Page weeks before the official investigation into them happened. So, that's the witnessing I was part of, unfortunately. I came out with the truth on that. That's when I started to get smeared by the liberal media and by the Deep State officials, the neocons.
AARON MATÉ: So, let me just explain this for people who aren't familiar with this, that there are documented allegations of Ukrainians interfering in the 2016 election to defeat Trump. And this was actually admitted out in the open. There's an article in the Financial Times from a few years ago and it's titled “Ukraine’s leaders campaign against pro-Putin Trump.” And in this article, you had a number of Ukrainian officials admitting that they were trying to stop Trump from becoming president, because they felt as if he would not have their back in what was then this simmering proxy war just contained to the Donbass in Ukraine that began after the 2014 Maidan coup.
So, they were openly trying to prevent Trump from winning, and they worked with a woman who you mentioned, Chalupa, who was a Ukrainian-American. And this started to come out before, that this was this effort to basically interfere in the election, and as a part of this, there was the leaking of a black ledger, a so-called black ledger, alleging these secret payments to Paul Manafort, and that led to Manafort's resignation. But there's been questions about whether that ledger or not was even authentic, or whether it was part of the smear effort against the Trump campaign. Do you have any inside knowledge of that?
ANDRII TELIZHENKO: I think the ledger was just made up because nobody saw it, and nobody got the official documents themselves. They were only shown copies; the official documents allegedly went to the FBI, which they were also not shown everything which were given to the FBI at that time, by the so-called pro-liberal journalists [unclear] from Ukraine. So, from my understanding it was all a toss-up, a made-up story just because they could not find any dirt on the Trump campaign.
And from the witnessing of the White House meeting which happened in January 2016, which was also mentioned by Laura Ingraham a couple years ago, and what happened during that meeting, the US officials were asking for the Ukrainian officials to get any information, financial information, about Americans working for the former government of Ukraine, the Yanukovych government. They did not mention the complete name, but the result was the Paul Manafort story and the black ledger book being made up and thrown into the public. Paul Manafort mentions this in his book and mentions me attending that meeting also, which came out this year.
So, this whole story started to bundle up end of 2015, beginning of 2016, and started to progress within the 2016 elections, right around springtime during the visit of [Petro] Poroshenko to Washington, where he met Hillary Clinton, he met every other candidate except presidential candidate Donald Trump, you could see…
AARON MATÉ: And Poroshenko is then, at that time, he’s the president of Ukraine.
ANDRII TELIZHENKO: The president, yeah. So basically, he meets everybody that he needs to talk to. He talks with Hillary Clinton and talks to other people, but he doesn't meet with presidential candidate Donald Trump who has the most possibility to win the elections, and he is the representative of the other side, the Republican side, with the majority [chance] of winning the elections.
So, you can see the bias process going on with this, and while this happened officially, the backstory is happening with people like me. The US government and people from the Democratic National Committee are approaching and asking for dirt on a presidential candidate. And what Chalupa said, she said, ‘I want dirt. I just want to get Trump off the elections. We're going to have [US Representative] Marcy Kaptur get a committee together, and we're going to take him off a month before the election.’
AARON MATÉ: Kaptur is a member of Congress.
ANDRII TELIZHENKO: Yeah, from Ohio. And I testified everything on this to the Federal Election Commission. I got subpoenaed by the Federal Election Commission in 2019. There was a full-scale investigation. I testified under oath in Washington DC, and after I got sanctioned—even though I got sanctioned for Hunter Biden, not the election interference story—they still closed the investigation. They said because Telizhenko is a so-called sanctioned person, a Russian spy, alleged Russian spy—without any proof or evidence, they just made me that—we're going to close the investigation into the DNC story. And that's how they had the case of Blue Star Strategies/DNC story closed, by just sanctioning one person.
AARON MATÉ: And that's part of a well-established playbook that anyone can see now with their eyes open, that anytime there are corruption allegations against a preferred politician, especially from the Democratic Party, whether it's Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden—Hillary Clinton's emails in 2016 or Hunter Biden's laptop of 2020—everything is just dismissed as a Russian plot and that allows it to go away. That's the established playbook, and you've been caught up with that, because you were sanctioned by the Treasury Department for spreading quote “fraudulent and unsubstantiated allegations involving a US political candidate,” and that candidate refers to Joe Biden.
But before we get to that, because I want to go through your story here, you were also a government official in Ukraine around the time of the Maidan coup in 2014, which is pivotal to understanding this current moment that we're in, this current war we're in. So, talk to us about that coup, the forces behind it, and what you see, if any, as the US role.
ANDRII TELIZHENKO: Unfortunately, I was a big part of it because I was young, I’d just came back from the United States, I wanted Ukraine to be democratic. I took on the hook of this whole full-scale democracy that US is bringing to the world, and I was part of the Ukrainian opposition to [Viktor] Yanukovych at the time. And they offered me to be a coordinator of the international relations of Maidan, the unofficial part where I worked closely with the US Embassy, with the US Ambassador [Geoffrey] Pyatt. I worked closely with US government officials, like the invitation of Senator John McCain, and his security was on my watch, and I coordinated that process. The unfortunate “Nuland cookies” was my idea. In December 2013, when she [Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland] was in Kiev, she wanted to give out bread. I recommended her to divert from that process, you're not Jesus, you should come out to the people with something more to the ground, and that's how the cookies process came out.
So, I was involved in that, and the US government was full-scale involved in that, not only US government but the G7 ambassadors which are controlled by the US. But I was there when the US Ambassador Pyatt would come to Maidan, I would have to be there to get him through the crowd, to get him to the building where we sat and made our decisions, show him where the money was, show him where the Right Sector was, where they're preparing the Molotovs and the explosives. I was witnessing all that process, and that's why they offered me a job right after the Maidan coup, to be part of the Ukrainian government. And that's how I continued my work with the Deep State people, and that's how I saw. For them I was a good guy at that time because I was part of their team. They had no problems with me being a Ukrainian or speaking out because I was not speaking about them. I was part of the coup. And I got my security process that if something happens to me during the coup, the US embassy would help to evacuate me if needed. That's not even as a US citizen; they just offered to do that because we had those kinds of relationships. If I needed Pyatt to meet with somebody from the Ukrainian side, I'd just give him a call on a cell phone to him or to his assistant, and that meeting would happen within a couple of hours. Or vice versa, if he needed to meet with somebody from the Ukrainian side, that would happen, and that continued after the Maidan.
But I have to tell you, Maidan was fully coordinated and controlled by the US government and the US Embassy in Kiev on the ground. They had the official side with the pro-Soros people who did the PR, but all those things behind closed doors were happening with the involvement of the US Embassy officials. So then came US government officials at the White House like Elisabeth Zentos, who I was continuing to do my work with while I was in the Ukraine Embassy in Washington, and she was part of the national security team of Joe Biden.
So, this process is interconnected very deeply, and this continues till today. The war started, unfortunately for Ukraine, which at that time I did not understand. I understood it only a couple of years later when I came out with the truth, in 2016-17, and started to fight the Deep State to not control my country. But this process started in 2014 when the war in Ukraine and the interference from the outside led to people dying on Maidan, led to people dying in Donbass, and let Ukraine be thrown under the bus and used as a rag for their corrupt scandals and corrupt schemes for Joe Biden, the Deep State, Clintons, Soros, and all you can name. They were all involved in Ukraine and had their money, just went through Ukraine like a Franklin Templeton situation, where the money laundering of several billion dollars went to the US company of Ukrainian loans. So, this process is all interconnected with what we see today, unfortunately.
AARON MATÉ: And when you refer there to George Soros, he is a well-known oligarch who has funded Western-backed efforts in Ukraine to support political movements that the US wants to basically install. That is also on record.
Okay, but keeping with this period of 2013, early 2014, the Maidan coup, is it your belief… I just want to be clear here that the US was actively involved in plotting a coup, or was it more they were just behind the scenes, sort of encouraging events that could lead to that without being fully involved operationally in the plan?
ANDRII TELIZHENKO: They're fully involved financially and operationally. When the US Ambassador comes to Maidan headquarters, the one where the opposition sat, he would make up decisions, and basically, he would officially not give orders, but he would recommend things. But everybody knew if he recommended things, this is how you have to do it. And coordination work on pushing on the Ukrainian government, the Yanukovych government, I witnessed this conversation when Nuland came to Kiev, and it was the first storming of Maidan at that time when the police tried to storm, when the people already gathered on Maidan, and this was mid-December, December 11th, I think, and I called Ambassador Pyatt. I said, ‘You have to stop this. Call the president of Ukraine so there won't be bloodshed.’ And the meeting in the morning where we met Nuland and Pyatt, she said, ‘I called Yanukovych and ordered him to stop it, but he did not pick up the phone for three hours. But then when he picked up the phone, I told him, stop the process or we will destroy you politically, etc.’
So, they were there, they were controlling this process behind the closed doors. Yeah, it was all done in the hands of Ukrainians, but it was all prepared by the US Embassy, the US government, and US political advisors on the ground in Ukraine who worked there for years, for 20 years before, preparing this whole process, and with Soros-led groups who influenced the PR, who were taught how to influence the PR, and how to make this process likable for the public.
So, it was all interconnected, done with the Ukrainian hands, as it is right now. Ukrainians are fighting with spilling their blood and the Americans are fully behind it, helping Ukrainians financially and with the weapons, which are not leading to anything but just people getting killed. Instead of making peace, the same thing happened there. It was behind the closed doors where they were leading the Ukrainians to overthrow the government and to then have a new government which should be favorable in Washington.
AARON MATÉ: And it's my understanding that right before Yanukovych was overthrown in February 2014, there was a compromise reached. It was brokered by European states that would leave Yanukovych in power but with limited authority and with earlier elections. But there was a split inside the Maidan leadership. Some Maidan leaders accepted this deal, some didn't. Did you witness this, because right after this split happened, Yanukovych was basically forced to flee in a flurry of violence.
ANDRII TELIZHENKO: It was promised by Yanukovych to step back and let democracy prevail, as you can say about the Maidan politicians leading their people so everybody would save their face. Because at that time the popularity of the leaders of Maidan was very low, and they needed something to boom this whole process, and they agreed on making these, as you said, elections and making change of government peaceful. But because of the popularity of the Maidan leaders being very low, people did not trust them. At the time it was a whole situation where you have all these leaders from within the people who came up on the stage and became more powerful than the political leaders themselves, so they needed some big political explosive to happen. That's what happened.
We had the bloodshed in February 2013, one on February 18th, and then on February 20th where we had the shootings on Maidan…
AARON MATÉ: 2014.
ANDRII TELIZHENKO: Yeah, that's what led to this whole political boom, a smokescreen to protect the political leaders of Maidan and to show that somebody, not them are bad, but Yanukovych is bad, and the deal with him was off the table. So, they just basically threw him them under the bus with the deal in Istanbul and Russia, they made Russia back off from Kiev, and then they continued the war. The same thing they did just last year.
So, you can see how it was being done, that you cannot trust the words of political leaders of the West because they will throw you under the bus.
AARON MATÉ: So, the Maidan massacre is a key event, that's February 20th, 2014, and that's where you have many people gunned down in Maidan Square. The US government and the Maidan leaders immediately blamed Yanukovych, and as a result of all the events that ensued, Yanukovych then flees, and when the coup was justified, the Maidan massacre is invoked to say, ‘Well, Yanukovych's forces gunned down these protesters on Maidan.’
But there's a professor at the University of Ottawa named Ivan Katchanovski who has written a study about this, and he says without a doubt the people behind the Maidan massacre were in fact the people in the pro-Maidan coup side. And he bases this on witness testimony, on video evidence, on forensic testimony. He even cites an interview from some members of the Maidan who say that they were told by some Western officials that they would need a higher death count in Maidan to basically justify increased support for a change of government if I remember that correctly. So, that's according to his investigation. Do you think there was a Western role in the Maidan massacre?
ANDRII TELIZHENKO: What I can tell you is when I went to work in the Prosecutor's office afterwards, I saw the Maidan case and it was in documents. The first case, because then they changed them a couple of times, and from the original case which I saw, Yanukovych’s involvement in this was barely none. That's what I can tell you. He was not even in his office or in his house. He was outside of Kiev driving in three Ladas to a secure location with his bodyguards. And this is a testimony by his bodyguards who are working for the Ukraine government as the Security Service of Ukraine, and they testified that they witnessed him not understanding this whole situation at all. I don't want to protect anybody here, but this is what I read in the official documents by the Prosecutor’s office of Ukraine, and I saw what the professor from the University of Ottawa published, and I agree with him. There are possibilities and there are connections with the West in this process. I personally did not trust them on my own. I can only tell you what I witnessed from the documents. But I agree that there's the connection to this massacre from the inside of Maidan and from the people who organized this from Maidan and the coup—and not from the people in the Ukraine government because this was the last thing they needed to happen in Ukraine.
AARON MATÉ: So, after the coup, what did you witness about the role of the US in its influence over the new Ukrainian government that came to power?
ANDRII TELIZHENKO: Oh, full control. The Ukraine government became, within the nine years after the coup in 2014, fully controlled by the US government and by the G7 ambassadors.
When we came to work in the government ministries of Ukraine, in my first government position as an advisor to the First Deputy Prime Minister, we had meetings with the CIA Director [John] Brennan, for example, and I was told we were going to meet, but my boss did not know. The US Embassy told me not to inform the First Deputy Prime Minister who he's going to meet because he's not trustworthy, he can leak this information. So, from small things like that, telling us what to do, to big things like telling us who to fire, who to hire, what department to cut, what department to inform, what department to bring more money in, these things would be set in motion, and if the middle process would not listen to those issues, they'd go to the President directly or to the Prime Minister, and then he'd give an order directly to people to hire, to fire, to send more money, and basically they would control everything.
They would start the destruction of the Ukrainian bureaucracy and the administrative machine. That’s what I started to witness and I went against in 2017, when this process led to changes where we saw the unprofessionalism of the Ukrainian police, the unprofessionalism of the Ukrainian Prosecutor's office, when we had foreigners walking around the government buildings and were placed in positions where they were not supposed to be placed, with clear and full security clearance in the Ukraine government, foreigners without even a Ukrainian passport were put in place and giving orders, not knowing the Ukrainian law, not knowing the Ukrainian language. They would just be there giving orders and doing whatever you have to do, because the Ukrainians would stop listening to the US Embassy officials. I would have times where the US Ambassador would call me and say, ‘I need to meet with the Prosecutor General's office, or the Prosecutor General himself in 30 minutes,’ and I said, ‘This is impossible. He has a schedule. He’s leaving for other meetings.’ ‘No, I have to meet him now. This is an order.’ And if you told him no, he would call the President, and the President would tell the US Ambassador. So, this is how it worked. The US Ambassador controls the President of Ukraine.
AARON MATÉ: And that president at the time is Poroshenko.
ANDRII TELIZHENKO: Poroshenko, yeah. And if you have people like Joe Biden and from the outside Nuland call from the State Department, you're God if you can control everything. If you have connections to those people, and they can call the president and tell them what to do, then you're in full control of the country. This is what led to people like [Mykola] Zlochevsky putting in people like Hunter Biden and to have the connection to the “big guy,” the vice president of the United States who oversaw Ukraine at that time in the White House.
So, this process led not only to the corruption of Ukraine, my country, it led to the destruction of Ukraine because you would have people, the old school government officials, thrown out of Ukraine government offices who knew what they were doing. Yeah, maybe they were corrupt, they were Soviet, they were old school, but that's how the system works. You go to the US, you go to Washington, you see all these old guys there because they know what they're doing, for example. Most of them are with clear conscience. But in Ukraine you have all these people being thrown out, have no jobs, they started working for the other side, and you have the young guys who have no experience, they had no experience even in business, coming in to rule the country. And they were doing that just because they could control these young guys, and they thought they could control me. When I came up and said, ‘No, I don't want my country to fail as a state,’ I was told by the US government officials, from two Embassy officials—Ken Toko was a political officer and somebody else from his team—that if I continue the stances of going against the US government and criticizing the so-called reforms in Ukraine because of the national security interests of the United States, I'll be politically destroyed by the US government. This was told to me in 2016. I still continued and they did try to destroy me, as we see, but I'm still continuing the fight, and this process is still continued in Ukraine. We can still save Ukraine. We can still save the United States politics if we at least start getting the truth out and start investigating these things properly.
AARON MATÉ: Before we get to Biden specifically and his role in Ukraine, and the corruption allegations against his son Hunter being appointed to Burisma, why do you think the US was so invested in Ukraine at this time? The way you describe it, the US is heavily involved not just in the Maidan coup but in the period afterwards, and telling people who to hire, who not to hire. What was the US agenda for Ukraine, do you think, at this time?
ANDRII TELIZHENKO: I think it was not an official agenda; there was, I mean, as an official agenda, but it was an official agenda for the people within the Deep State and the Democratic Party. There was the possibility to make money in Ukraine with all these NGOs controlled by Soros, all this money process from the USAID funds, and the National Endowment for Democracy, and you name it. All this money, hundreds of millions of dollars flowing into Ukraine, and they’re all laundered because that's what's done. Yeah, you saw these little round tables going back and forth talking about democracy with pamphlets for a couple of hundred bucks spread out to the people, but that's not 100 billion, that's not 200 million, that's nothing. This money was given out to teach Ukrainians democracy. They didn't need to teach Ukraine democracy anymore; they just wanted to put in their propaganda, make money on this, and just use Ukraine as a puppet.
And because in Ukraine it would be popular for anybody who was pro-Western, who had connections to America, and you just come in and say, ‘Oh, this guy lived in America, this guy has some connections to the US embassy, this guy has connections to somebody in Washington.’ You can get a government position, you can get something done without even paying money for this process, because Ukrainians believe this is somebody powerful, or this is somebody who has powerful connections. This was made to believe, this process, Ukrainians made themselves. We are to blame, Ukrainians who went for this and bought this little process. And we were the ones who were responsible for this because if we would stop or say no to this control of our country, this Ukraine would still be there. We would not have war. We would have officials who would come up and say we can still negotiate peace. But no, it led to put people in place, weaken the government, make money from Ukraine, use Ukraine as a rag, a corrupt rag, and do the dirty work. Ukraine was their dirty work country, which they used to make dirty decisions to make money, to put people in place, and to use it to fight against Russia. Because we know Brzezinski said in his writings that if you have two Soviet countries fight and spill blood, you're going to have the destruction of Russia. This is what they needed. They needed a country like Ukraine, a country like Belarus.
AARON MATÉ: And [Zbigniew] Brzezinski, just to explain to people, he is a former National Security advisor under Jimmy Carter, very influential in US foreign policy.
ANDRII TELIZHENKO: Yeah, and he also… and this is taught in the US in the universities. When I went to university it was still taught. I don't know what’s happened now. But this is how they wanted the system to work. They needed a country, a puppet country, to use to destroy Russia. They had already destroyed the Soviet Union. The next result was to destroy this land for Russia as a huge country, make it into smaller pieces. They tried to use Belarus. It didn't happen for them. Belarus still stands strong and is still an independent country and still is there, but Ukraine fell under the influence of a foreign government, the United States, and now is being used.
So, that’s what they needed, and while using it for their national security interest, as I said, they use it for their small corrupt or big corrupt cases to make money on the side off Ukrainian politicians who were giving their money to Americans. If you're American lobbyists, you’ll come to Ukraine, to a government official, you'll get paid a lot just for coming to Ukraine. They'll pay you to just meet with you. I was a political consultant myself. I know how the government officials and oligarchs said, ‘We will pay money to go to America or to meet with senators, to meet with government officials, congressmen,’ and they paid hundreds of thousands of dollars just for leads. Some paid millions, and this is how this whole process worked. So, everybody was happy. Why would you need to change that? Everybody's making money, and this is what, as I said, is leading and has led to this bloodshed today.
AARON MATÉ: Have you ever met Zelensky? And what do you make of his transformation? Because he was elected on a mandate of peace, he was going to end the war in the Donbass that began after the 2014 Maidan coup. But ultimately by the end of the period leading up to the Russian invasion, he was refusing to speak even with the leaders of the Donbass rebellion and talking about taking back Crimea. I've long argued that he was basically intimidated by Ukraine's far right who undermined his peace mandate, and they were aided and sabotaged Zelensky’s mandate by their allies in Washington. What do you make of Zelensky and how he was transformed from a pro-peace candidate to basically a pro-war president?
ANDRII TELIZHENKO: Yeah, I met him shortly after he became president of Ukraine, and I had lunch with him. I had worked for a person at that time, I consulted a businessman who actually financed Zelensky’s campaign. I did not want to believe that our president could be a former actor, but, as I said, I was told that he would come in, he's not a professional but he would bring in 70 to 80 percent of professionals from different sides of the table, right, left, center, old school, Soviet times, [unclear], and just start building the pressure together, because that's what the platform reads. People who supported him and financed him, that was the agreement for that. And, at that time, and I can say it was not [Igor] Kolomoisky who I worked for; it was another person.
AARON MATÉ: And Kolomoisky is a Ukrainian oligarch who was said to have financed Zelensky’s candidacy.
ANDRII TELIZHENKO: Yeah, there were other people also who financed his campaign other than Kolomoisky. There are businessmen and oligarchs involved. Because everybody wanted peace, everybody wanted after the reign of Poroshenko's regime and the full control of the West to end, so we could live peacefully with Europe, with Belarus, with Hungary, with Russia, get back our territories like Donbass peacefully, even as an autonomy, just basically support the Minsk agreements and work with them and get our country back together and stop this whole process of bloodshed in Ukraine. Because Ukraine was always a peaceful country.
But Zelensky came to power, he changed dramatically within the first two months. And he changed not [just] because he was pushed by the radicals and nationalists within Ukraine, but because Kolomoisky had problems, business problems and political problems; he was under investigation by the FBI. And even though he collaborated, cooperating with the FBI very closely for some numerous years, and he also—I met with Kolomoisky, and he told me that personally—and he also had difficult business problems in Ukraine. So [Victor] Pinchuk basically helped him move those problems away and to cover, to control Zelensky for some time. So, they traded him in. And that's how Zelensky became and arranged a meeting in London with the intelligence community, and that's how [Andrii] Yermak became basically the president of Ukraine, where Zelensky and Yermak traded off Ukraine's independence and sovereignty and livelihood to the West. They became under full control by the Western governments in 2018, around June, July; that's when it all happened.
AARON MATÉ: Let's explain some of these names. So, Yermak, who you mentioned, that's a reference to Andrii Yermak. He’s basically Zelensky's Chief of Staff, plays a very big role in Zelensky’s administration. So, you're saying he plays an even more prominent role than is publicly known?
ANDRII TELIZHENKO: Yeah, he is basically the president of Ukraine who decides what to do. He's the one who talks with the US officials, some of them who are behind back doors making all the decisions in the White House. These people are controlling Ukraine. These people are the ones who are responsible for what's happening here. And they all knew that this war was going to happen two years before the war started, and to properly investigate that, you can find proof.
AARON MATÉ: And you also mentioned another name. So, Kolomoisky is the oligarch publicly associated with Zelensky. You're alleging there's somebody else as well? I didn't catch his name.
ANDRII TELIZHENKO: There were numerous. I didn't mention his name, this person who I worked for. There are numerous people who helped finance the campaign of such person, Zelensky, and they were behind back doors, hoping for peace, hoping for this thing to end in Ukraine. But afterwards they all got sanctioned by the Zelensky regime, being Ukrainians who got sanctioned by their own government. Even I got sanctioned by Zelensky in Ukraine, illegally, and I'm suing him in the Supreme Court of Ukraine today.
AARON MATÉ: On what grounds?
ANDRII TELIZHENKO: Grounds? Because I got sanctioned by the US government.
AARON MATÉ: Okay, so you're sanctioned by the US government for alleged election interference, and then the Zelensky government sanctioned you as well?
ANDRII TELIZHENKO: Yeah, just because two days before going to Washington, he wanted to play nice with the White House, and he sanctioned people like me. A couple days before going to Washington, just to play nice with the White House, because they knew they didn't like people like me, so that's why they did it. And to show that they're loyal to them, they sanctioned Ukrainian citizens even though it's against the law and it's against the Constitution. I’m suing Zelensky in the Supreme Court of Ukraine. If they fail to process my case and then close the case on any grounds, I'm going to go to the European Court of Human Rights, which 99.9 percent I'm going to win against Zelensky, and they're going to pay me money because they sanction illegally in Ukraine.
So, this is how bad Zelensky is, he went against the people who helped him. He went against people who wanted peace, and just because he traded off the sovereignty and independence of Ukraine to foreign intelligence and foreign governments, he started going against people like me who wanted to fight against what he was trying to bring: war to Ukraine. Because we supported him, even though I did not believe that, as I said, an actor or comedian can be the president, I supported that he could have a strong team with him and to bring peace to Ukraine. He promised that. That's what people voted for him for, 73 percent of Ukrainians voted for him because most of them wanted peace. They did not want war. They wanted peace and they wanted the Minsk agreements, which Ukraine had signed by Poroshenko, supported by Zelensky, to be submitted, voted on in Parliament, agreed on, and having back our territories like Donbass as an autonomy, and to live a peaceful life afterwards. That's what we wanted.
Unfortunately, everybody was played, the Ukrainian public, the Ukrainian people were played by Zelensky, by his team, and by the Deep State, and then just turned this whole process around and were leading Ukraine to war. They knew they were going to have war. They knew they will have this process, they thought they can maybe sell off to the Russians. I think they were making deals with the Russians, but they were not offered so much money by the Russians. They were just continuing to do their role as warmongers and continue to bring Ukraine to war. They were making money on building roads. They knew that there was going to be a total destruction in Ukraine, they knew how this process was going to go, but they were building these roads, they were showing the government getting Ukraine back together. But they started to continue to oppress democracy, throw people in prison, going out against opposition leaders, closing down political TV channels for working with the opposition talking about peace, not war, and this process started, and the West just closed their eyes on this.
AARON MATÉ: Or they cheered. Or they cheered like in early 2021. After Biden takes office, Zelensky shut down some opposition television networks, and the State Department cheered that. Later on, Time magazine reported, based on conversations with Zelensky aides, that shutting down those TV networks was a welcome gift to Joe Biden.
ANDRII TELIZHENKO: Yeah, I was part of those. I was going to those TV channels. They were inviting me constantly to talk about what's happening in Ukraine, and then just one day they just closed out. We were afraid to go there, even though we went, because we thought every time we go there, there would be provocations outside the TV stations by the Nazis, by the radicals, and they were throwing bricks, eggs at people who just wanted to talk on TV, talking about peace in Ukraine, bringing Ukraine back together. This was the process in Ukraine, this was the process which was supported by the West, financed by the West throughout these last nine years especially, and they were just closing their eyes on this.
There’s no democracy in Ukraine. As soon as I got sanctioned, I called up a friend who was a Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs in one of the European countries. I don't want to name his name, but I called him up and said, ‘Look, if I want to get political asylum in your country right now, if I want to flee Ukraine, will I be able to do that?’ He said, ‘I’ll get back to you in a couple of days.’ So, he called me back and said, ‘Unfortunately, no. Ukraine is in our standards a democratic country, there are no problems with democracy in Ukraine. If you're a Russian or a Belarussian, yes. If you're Ukrainian, you cannot get political asylum in Europe.’ That was the answer from one of the Deputy Foreign Ministers of a European country. So, this is how they see it, they just close their eyes on everything.
Today the process in Ukraine, what’s happening, people are getting killed talking about peace, people are getting sent to prison and being beaten for talking about peace. I had three friends shot by the Security Service of Ukraine. One was kidnapped and one was beaten for a week, and then they just threw him out because he agreed to say whatever they told him to say under a gunpoint on their TV channel. And that's how the process works. He had to flee Ukraine and had to basically go through a rehabilitation, and he told me about it. He got beaten for a week by two guys with a high-caliber bullet, right in his kidneys, and he's 65 years old. He's not an oligarch, he's not a businessman, he's not a politician; just a political expert, former military who retired in the 90s and talked about how to make peace in Ukraine. And the three other friends who got shot, one of them has a child who's in a wheelchair. The Security Service of Ukraine just came to him in his front door and shot him right in front of his family. Nobody talks about this in the West. This has all been covered up, and these things are happening.
There're thousands of cases like this in Ukraine, people are getting kidnapped, people are getting destroyed, people are getting tortured—and this is the “democracy” which has been financed by Washington and the European governments today. And this has to stop. Nobody's talking about peace, nobody's talking about peace outside of Ukraine, only some who work for Ukraine. That's why people in Ukraine are quiet. People would want to come out and talk, but they know they're going to get shot, killed, beaten, or something happens to their family because they talk about stopping this war. So, that's why people are quiet in Ukraine. But Ukrainians want peace, a lot of people do want peace. There's 30, 40 percent maybe of radicals, but the majority wants this to end, this nightmare to end, because they have to survive.
AARON MATÉ: Are you familiar with a Zelensky friend and former aide named Sergei Sivokho? Have you heard of him?
ANDRII TELIZHENKO: No, unfortunately, no. Sivokho? Who was he?
AARON MATÉ: He was a former comedy partner of Zelensky's, and after Zelensky was elected, he was appointed to a commission to basically bring dialogue with the Donbass to promote peace.
ANDRII TELIZHENKO: Oh, yes, yes. Sivokho. Sivokho.
AARON MATÉ: I'm sorry I mispronounced it. Shortly after he unveiled this new sort of dialogue commission, some members of Azov basically attacked him at his opening speech, and then Zelensky fired him shortly after that, basically, which is sort of one encapsulation of how Zelensky ultimately took the side of the people who wanted to sabotage his own peace agenda.
ANDRII TELIZHENKO: Yeah, yeah, I know who you're talking about. I know him, I met him a couple of times. We're not friends, I haven’t talked to him, but I met him years before, and I know what you're talking about.
When he came out with Sivokho, he came out with this negotiation process and even a small peace plan on how to start talking with the Donbass and the Luhansk Republics and how to bring them back and talk to them with the Ukraine government. He basically got sabotaged by Zelensky. It all happened in front of Zelensky’s eyes, because it all happened in the headquarters of the Party of the Servant of the People, where he was doing this right by the front doors, where you have total security by the government, and they basically threw him under the bus, showed him that Zelensky was not going to continue this whole negotiation process with Eastern Ukraine and basically just changed directions. He changed directions, I said, in June, July 2018 when he, after meetings with the British intel community, he basically got guarantees that he’s going to get protected.
AARON MATÉ: It couldn't be 2018 because he was elected in 2019.
ANDRII TELIZHENKO: Sorry, 2019. I apologize.
AARON MATÉ: Yeah, yeah, okay.
ANDRII TELIZHENKO: June, July 2019.
AARON MATÉ: Yeah, right, and he takes office I believe in April or May 2019, so that would have been right after.
ANDRII TELIZHENKO: Yeah, in May he becomes the president officially, because the first round ends in April, second round is in May, and then in June, July, that's when Pinchuk and Kolomoisky make a deal, that Pinchuk is going to save Kolomoisky from his business dealings with the West and have the US back off. Kolomoisky is under sanctions with the US, but he's under only visa sanctions, he's not under financial sanctions, he's able to use all his bank guarantees, so that's the deal. He's able to use all his money, but he cannot travel to the US and go outside of Ukraine. And on the other hand, I am under full sanctions, financial, visa, etc. So, these people made a deal to throw Ukraine under the bus just to save their own lives and financial deals, and this is where we are today.
AARON MATÉ: So, let's get to why you're under US sanctions. But before we do, I just want to explain for people who've been following this conversation but are hearing a lot of these names and these incidents for the first time, because so much of the details of the facts of the Ukraine crisis are kept from NATO audiences.
So, just to explain one thing, the Minsk Accords, which we've now referenced many times, that's a deal reached in 2015 between the Ukrainian government and the rebels in the Donbass who are backed by Russia, to end the war that began in 2014, the year prior, after the US-backed Maidan coup. And that war began because basically the new coup government backed by the US tried to crack down on ethnic Russian culture inside Ukraine, and Minsk essentially called for granting ethnic Russians inside the Donbass some limited autonomy in exchange for their region being demilitarized and the war coming to an end. But Ukraine's borders would have remained intact, just giving these Russian-aligned people of Eastern Ukraine some limited autonomy. But the Ukrainian government under pressure from the far right refused to implement it under Poroshenko, who signed it, and then under Zelensky, which brings us to the present moment today.
So, let's talk about Joe Biden. What did you witness when it comes to this whole controversy which still remains unresolved, and anytime someone tries to discuss it in the US they're just accused of spreading Russian disinformation. But what can you tell us about Joe Biden's role in firing this prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, who was investigating Burisma, which is the energy company that gave a very lucrative board seat to Joe Biden's son Hunter right after the US-backed 2014 Maidan coup?
ANDRII TELIZHENKO: Basically, what the backstory is of Burisma, the company itself was forming in a corrupt way like a lot of things in Eastern Europe, as you may say, but, no, this company was forming in a very specific way. The owner, Zlochevsky, was the Minister of Ecology [and Natural Resources], and he himself gave out his own company certificates for gas development, and that's how the company became a monopoly based in the gas market in Ukraine, because they got most of the certificates because the owner [minister] was the head of the company.
And Biden joined already a corrupt company which was under investigation with the Prosecutor General's office. There were four criminal cases opened in 2014 against Burisma, and two more additionally opened by Shokin when he became the Prosecutor General. So, whenever anybody says, ‘There were no criminal cases, nobody was investigating Burisma, this was all a lie, Shokin was fired because he was a bad prosecutor, he didn't do his work,’ no, he did his work, but he went out against the wrong people, as you can say, because they went against him. Of course, these people aren't going to be happy so they're going to go against him, they're going to fire him or they're going to tell lies, but he did his job. He opened two more criminal cases on Burisma, which were later closed after Shokin got fired, after a new prosecutor, [Yuriy] Lutsenko, a politically-appointed prosecutor—attorney general in the US term—became attorney general without even a law degree. This guy doesn't know law at all. They had to change the Ukrainian law for him to become the Prosecutor General. That's how bad the situation was. And this Lutsenko guy was a very close aide to Poroshenko, basically, his relative in one way or another through a godson; he was the godfather to one of his children.
AARON MATÉ: Just, explain, sorry. Lutsenko is an anti-corruption bureau guy?
ANDRII TELIZHENKO: No, he was a politician close to Poroshenko, who became Prosecutor General, attorney general in US terms, of Ukraine without a law degree. They changed the law for him to become Prosecutor General specifically after Shokin got fired. And he closed the cases. Burisma just paid $200,000 of fees for some tax evasion, etc. That's it.
But Shokin did his job. Shokin, because he was looking not only into Burisma and Zlochevsky, he was looking into Hunter Biden directly. There were red flags of the financial transactions of the payments to Hunter Biden to Cyprus from Latvian financial intelligence, that the money itself was corrupt, the money itself was coming from not legit sources. And Hunter Biden knew this fund was corrupt, because the people who are covering up for him, Blue Star Strategies—that's the company which I was advising for after I worked in Washington—they were the ones who were basically covering up everything for Hunter Biden, between Joe Biden and Burisma. And Amos Hochstein [United States Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs under Obama Administration] was the person that Blue Star Strategies was working closely to get information to Joe Biden directly, because they cannot go see Joe Biden directly, so they had a person, an intermediary, Hochstein, who was a gas expert, to basically deliver all the official information to Joe Biden himself on Hunter Biden and Burisma, and what has to be done and how to save that company from being prosecuted, from being closed down, or being shaken up. So, this is why Hunter Biden was hired to this firm.
AARON MATÉ: I'm sorry, I'm sorry to interrupt, but Amos Hochstein now works for Joe Biden as a senior official [Special Presidential Coordinator for Global Infrastructure and Energy Security].
ANDRII TELIZHENKO: Yeah, at that time when Hunter Biden signed the agreement with Burisma and Blue Star Strategies came on board, Amos Hochstein was a State Department energy guy overseeing energy within the State Department, so he had clearance to go to the White House directly. And I was told this directly by Sally Painter and Karen Tramontano, who are the owners and CEOs of Blue Star Strategies—and they're not only a lobby firm, they're former advisors and Chief of Staff to President Bill Clinton in the 90s. So, these people are connected directly to the Deep State and Hillary Clinton, and the Clintons, and Biden and Obama.
And this process was being done in a way that when Shokin opened up two more cases, that's when things basically started hitting the fan, that's when Joe Biden got involved, and they fired Shokin right away, after basically less than almost… a bit more than a year he was working in that position. He's an old-school prosecutor, he's a prosecutor from the Soviet times. He’s very famous from closing down big cases in Ukraine in the 90s, in the beginning of 2000s. And he's not somebody from the outside; he's the guy from the inside system of the Prosecutor's office, and he knows what he's doing. And that's why he was doing his job perfectly fine.
But on the other hand, we see Joe Biden coming in, Porochenko playing a game that he's not involved in this, he let Shokin also be thrown under the bus, and he changed to even a much closer person like Lutsenko to be heading the Prosecutor's office, which then was very loyal to the US Embassy in Kiev, even though Lutsenko went against him working through Rudy Giuliani. But he was very loyal while he was working at the Prosecutor's office to the US Embassy and to the US government.
AARON MATÉ: And Joe Biden later brags when he's speaking, I believe at the Council on Foreign Relations, that he leveraged US loans, hundreds of millions of dollars in loans, to get Shokin fired.
Joe Biden: I said, ‘I'm telling you, you're not getting a billion dollars.’ I said, ‘You're not getting a billion. I'm going to be leaving here…,’ and I think it was, what, six hours? I look, I 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.
ANDRII TELIZHENKO: Yeah, that was the deal. I can tell you, that in itself was the system of how they were working with the Prosecutor’s office. I was still working at the Embassy, and after I left there, I helped Blue Star arrange meetings within the Prosecutor's office, with the acting prosecutor [Yuriy] Sevruk, after Shokin. He was there for a couple of weeks. Blue Star Strategies’ Karen Tramontano and Sally Painter came to see this acting prosecutor, and then they came to see and met with Lutsenko, also. They were there talking and trying to close the case and negotiating with Lutsenko on how to close the case for their client Zlochevsky. And that's how the system worked.
They were working interconnections with the White House on getting this thing done, and Blue Star, why are they so important? It’s not just a lobby firm; these people were working as intermediaries between Joe Biden and Burisma and Hunter Biden. As soon as Hunter Biden was offered a job, they made a report for Joe Biden, three reports; two legit to show to the public, and one basically a black report behind the doors, one which showed what really Burisma was, for the problems, how Joe Biden’s family can make money on this, and they'd be covering up their problems and what can be done if then the US helps cover their problems for Burisma. And they showed this process to Amos Hochstein, to Joe Biden directly, and he knew what his son was getting into. Because this was told to me also by Sally Painter. She told me this directly in 2019, February 2019 in Mexico. I can testify on this, on all of this, but they blocked me from testifying because they're afraid that I'm going to tell the truth, that this is going to come out officially and it’s going to be officially investigated. Blue Star lied to Congress, they lied to the Senate, when Johnson and Grassley asked them questions in their committee. They lied about everything, and they got off the hook; they did not register even in FARA [Foreign Agents Registration Act] to work with Joe Biden.
That’s how bad it is, it went from small things to big things. They were involved in a very corrupt way and covering everything up for themselves and making money on this. And money was made not only on Hunter Biden's salary on the board of directors; there was equipment being sold to Burisma from Texas, United States, and its involvement of Joe Biden after meetings in Mexico with Burisma officials. Big drill equipment, one of the big, large drill equipment in Europe was sent to Burisma from Texas, United States, even though the company was under full investigation in Ukraine, and everybody knew about that.
AARON MATÉ: Okay, I want to try to catch people up on this part of the interview, because there's a lot of names here, and I think for some it might be hard to follow. So, correct me if I've gotten anything wrong or I'm missing anything.
After you leave the Ukrainian government, you work for Blue Star, right? This Western firm.
ANDRII TELIZHENKO: Yes, after I leave the Embassy.
AARON MATÉ: After you leave the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington, you work for Blue Star, and Blue Star is a Western firm that is working with Burisma, this energy company where Hunter Biden got his board seat. And you're saying that Blue Star officials like the ones you've mentioned told you that Joe Biden was actively involved in their various machinations inside of Ukraine.
ANDRII TELIZHENKO: Yes, of course. He knew what was happening, he knew where his son was going, he knew where Hunter Biden would be serving as a board director, and he knew how corrupt [unclear] was from the beginning. And it started, and that's how they knew how to make money on this, because it was done in this unofficial report, which was given to Joe Biden, the Vice President of the United States at that time, and that's how it all leads to where we are today.
AARON MATÉ: And it is true, it's just publicly known that no US official had more influence inside of Ukraine after the 2014 Maidan coup than Joe Biden. That's why on that recorded phone call between Victoria Nuland, a senior US official, and Geoffrey Pyatt, then US Ambassador, right before the US coup, and they're talking about who they want to install as the next Ukrainian leader, and they settle on [Arseniy] Yatsenyuk, who went on to become the head of Ukraine after the coup. They say that they needed an “atta boy” from Joe Biden and his then top aide Jake Sullivan. So, it would make sense that then Joe Biden goes on to play this very influential role after the coup, for which there's plenty of public evidence.
But what do you think Joe Biden's interest here is? Is he just trying to help out his son Hunter? Do you think he’s personally profiting off of the windfall that Hunter Biden reached? Like, what do you think is motivating Joe Biden here for playing such an active role inside of Ukraine and all this stuff with Burisma?
ANDRII TELIZHENKO: I cannot speak for Joe Biden, what he thinks. Nobody can at this moment. But from what I see is, first of all, yeah, he wants to help his son, that's the clear point. The son just is a drug addict who has no job, just got fired from the military after getting the job there, he gets a position into this big gas company after a coup in Ukraine. Yeah, this gas company is corrupt, but Ukraine is good, so we can cover up with a PR move. Why not do this? Not only Hunter Biden was on the board of this gas company, there was also a former president of Poland, [Aleksander] Kwasniewski, and other officials, former high-ranking CIA officials were on the board of this company. So, why not have his son make some money on the side?
But knowing where his son is going, that this company is corrupt and there's many problems, that already raises questions for a politician, that he didn't know about this, and that this is going to lead to problems in the future, or that Lutsenko covered them up, so you don't care about them. That's one thing. Second part, making all these big deals and Hunter Biden getting his father involved in making those big deals, as I said as an example, buying one of the biggest drills in Eastern Europe for drawing gas from Texas, United States, and the involvement of Joe Biden after he got involved in this. That raises questions, did he profit off of this? And I think he did. From my information he did profit off of this. He did make money on this, not only because of the whistleblower that came out. There's more than just the $5 million that they're talking about, there's more involved in that, there was more getting paid to the Biden family directly than we know, when we talk about it today, and that's where his interests are.
And being today the President of the United States and going to the elections in 2020, when I came out with this in the Senate, if I was a politician and I knew that there was nothing on me, I would say, ‘Yeah, sure, investigate me.’ That's what I am telling today to the US. I'm ready to sit down where they investigate me properly, tell me what you're accusing me of. I know because there's nothing to show or nothing to tell. But here he tried to cover it up, he tried to cover it from the beginning because he knew there's more involvement, not just his son getting paid dirty money, but there was more involvement of him getting paid dirty money in this process by dirty politicians from Ukraine, to cover up dirty work that was done for one of the corrupt companies, large, big [unclear] companies in Ukraine.
So, this whole process smells bad, and if you want to run for presidency you have to talk about this, because this is democracy, this is what we were taught about, right? To talk about, we have to know, the people have to know who they're going to vote for. But no, they covered it up, they closed people like me down, they tried to destroy people like me, and they're now running the country, and not only running America down into the ground, but they're running Ukraine, my country, down into the ground. If we had properly investigated this whole thing and found out that Biden was involved in this and was getting paid before 2020, he would not be president. There’d may be no war today. Maybe, I don't know, but probably there wouldn't be. There'd be less chances. Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians would be saved from our side, and Russians would be safe. People would have not spilled blood, we would have peace in Donbass. But no, this whole corrupt scandal, Ukraine is being used as a rag. We see today led to the bloodshed in Ukraine and the destruction of the United States democracy. The whole world is just laughing after the 2020 elections because the US showed what democracy is. There's no democracy in the United States, also.
AARON MATÉ: Yeah, I mean, whatever one's opinions on these allegations, and it's not something I've looked into so I'm not endorsing any theory, but what is...
ANDRII TELIZHENKO: This is my point of view.
AARON MATÉ: Yeah, I got it. But what is known, what is uncontested fact is that right before the 2020 election, it started emerging that there were some materials on Hunter Biden's laptop speaking to how he was trading on his family name for business opportunities, including in Ukraine, and rather than letting the public see the contents of that laptop and the reporting based on it and decide for themselves, it was censored on the fake grounds that it was Russian propaganda. Which then raises the obvious question: what else is being denied from the public in the name of combating Russian disinformation? Which itself is an act of disinformation as is undoubtedly clear now from the Hunter Biden laptop.
So, when you tried to speak about this publicly, you worked with Rudy Giuliani, a close aide, a close friend of Donald Trump's, a close ally of his, and also Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, and both of them have been accused of spreading Russian disinformation and baseless conspiracy theories. When you read about the stuff in the media, it's just all the time portrayed that way or it's referred to as unsubstantiated claims, which is interesting, because that suggests that they might actually be true. But we're not allowed to look into it because it's just dismissed as Russian propaganda. But talk to us about your collaboration with Giuliani and Johnson, and what happened to you when you tried to go through them to speak to the American public.
ANDRII TELIZHENKO: Yeah, Johnson basically almost… they tried to [get Johnson to] lose the election in Wisconsin, just because he collaborated and got information from a witness who sounded like me, and that's how bad it was. They tried to destroy him in the last election. And they also tried to destroy Rudy Giuliani for working with people like me. Basically, I was already working in Washington as a consultant, and I had a phone call from a friend that Rudy Giuliani wanted to meet with me in Kiev, but he didn't come to Kiev. I was in Washington a couple of weeks later and he invited me to come see him in New York, and that's how I met with Rudy Giuliani in May of 2019, and I got invited to see him in the New York office where we sat for a couple of hours. We talked about this, we talked about my testimony, and he asked for me to help him with documents that he was going to get from Ukraine, to basically help him look through this stuff from this whole process and see if there's something legit or not, because he saw that I was trustworthy at the time.
So, that's how we started up our friendship and our work together. I didn't get paid by him. I was just there on a friendly basis and fighting for the truth. And basically, a couple of months later I got invited by Senator Johnson. He heard about my situation, and his staff called me up while I was in Washington DC and arranged a meeting for me in his office on Capitol Hill, where I came to see him in July of 2019, and talked about this. I gave him my information, and he said, ‘We will look into it,’ which they did, and they gave me a call back in December 2019, said, ‘We want to work with you as a witness and you can give us more information.’ That's how I started working with Senator Johnson and his committee. And while working with Giuliani there were a lot of political problems and pressures from the outside, of course, and one of them was the involvement of people like Derkach, when they came out into the picture one day, and through third parties like Andriy Artemenko, who...
AARON MATÉ: And let's just explain who that is.
ANDRII TELIZHENKO: Yeah, I don't want to give people involved too much attention, but basically it was a chain of events, what led to how these allegations of Russian disinformation got onto Giuliani and onto Senator Johnson.
AARON MATÉ: Right, because Andrii Derkach, he is a Ukrainian politician, but he's been accused by the US of being a Russian agent. Right?
ANDRII TELIZHENKO: Yeah, he officially admits that he worked for the FSB, or he went to the FSB Academy.
AARON MATÉ: Okay, he acknowledges that. Okay, got it.
ANDRII TELIZHENKO: Yeah, but he basically got involved with Rudy Giuliani by people like Andriy Artemenko, who's also a public figure who was mentioned in a lot of news reports from when Giuliani was in Kiev and in the news. And he's a business partner with Derkach, and he brought him to the table to meet with Rudy Giuliani, and they thought they're going to get information to Rudy that's going to be helpful for him. Maybe some of it was, but the bad part was, I think it was an inside operation by the FBI, because Artemenko is an informant of the FBI, and I think it was an inside job to get to discredit people like me, Giuliani, and others like Johnson, and put people like Derkach in the middle. Maybe they did bring him some good information by the people themself with such background; when you have a Russiagate process for years happening before, you don't have people with the background like Derkach involved at all. You only have them involved if you want to destroy this whole investigation. I think that's what happened.
AARON MATÉ: Okay, got it.
ANDRII TELIZHENKO: When Derkach was brought in to the table by a third party, a person who worked and collaborated with the FBI very closely for numerous years—and that's publicly known, this person talks about it—this investigation got destroyed within the public really fast and by the media. They're just waiting for something bad to happen, and this bad thing was Derkach. As soon as he gets back to the table, I get mentioned as a Russian agent, a Russian spy. Giuliani gets mentioned as a Russian agent or Russian spy on Hunter Biden’s laptop because of the fact Giuliani has it. That's probably from Derkach, so it's Russian disinformation, Russian spy stuff. Senator Johnson, because he works with me and because Derkach mentions Johnson's name in one of his press conferences in Ukraine, he allegedly gets mentioned as a Russian agent, a Russian spy.
So, this was a deliberate disinformation campaign to destroy people like Senator Johnson, Senator Grassley, Rudy Giuliani, and me and others, and label them as Russian agents. And that's what legitimized the Deep State to then sanction me falsely, illegally, with connection to people like Derkach with election interference. So, this whole process would have been different if, first of all, the politicians would be loyal and play their part. Like Joe Biden would come up and say, ‘Please investigate me. Yes, I have nothing to hide,’ and other stuff. The Deep State and the media would not go with the orders from the top to destroy people like me, just look and dig for anything they could find even falsely to label us as Russian agents and Russian spies.
So, this whole process, that's how it worked. We know how it works today because anybody who comes out with the truth is labeled as Russian spies. Soon it's going to be Beijing spy or Chinese spy because Russia is going to be no longer popular in the media or something else. They’re going to be labeling people Chinese spies, so that's how nonsense the whole process is.
AARON MATÉ: Right. Okay, so just to summarize this tangent, because we've covered a lot in this interview, you bring information to Giuliani and to Ron Johnson, but because Giuliani, during the same period that he's trying to investigate the Bidens in Ukraine, he also meets with this guy Andrii Derkach who you say actually is a Russian agent. Because Giuliani also meets with him, that gets used to discredit you, and when you're sanctioned, you're saying that you have nothing to do with this guy Derkach, so the allegation you're somehow tied to him, you're saying that that's false?
ANDRII TELIZHENKO: There's witnesses like Chanel Rion from OAN Network, who was hosting those videos with Giuliani in Kiev, testified to Congress just recently that she witnessed that I am not connected to Derkach or have any connection to Derkach at all.
AARON MATÉ: Got it. Okay.
ANDRII TELIZHENKO: So, it's not even my word. There's already witnesses...
AARON MATÉ: Got it.
ANDRII TELIZHENKO: …who have testified in all this process. And during this whole time, I worked closely with the FBI counterintelligence unit, giving them information on Blue Star Strategies and on their work with Hunter Biden, and nothing happened out of it. From May of 2019 until November of 2019, I collaborated on a friendly basis, because they offered me to actually work with the FBI officially, not for the FBI but with the FBI, to work officially, but I denied. And I worked on a friendly basis and gave information on Blue Star which led to nothing, and nothing was investigated out of it at all.
And during this whole process also, I was subpoenaed and testified within the FEC on the Ukrainian election interference process, which under oath I did. And if I lie or if I ever was a Russian agent or Russian spy in this whole process, I would be prosecuted and I would be sent to court, not just falsely sanctioned without any possibility to go in front of the jury or in front of anybody to prove my case wrong. So, that's why they're just politically trying to destroy me by sanctioning a person like me. I'm not an oligarch, I'm not some politician who has money. I'm just a former political consultant. I cannot even open up a bank account anymore today, anywhere in the world. I cannot get a job anywhere, and so that's how this process works. They politically destroy you, get you toxified so much that anywhere in the West, if you go, you're going to be done.
AARON MATÉ: Your story reminds me a lot of Konstantin Kilimnik’s, who is a Ukrainian national, also a Russian national, too. He has dual citizenship. But he worked closely with Paul Manafort. But because he became very convenient to the Russiagate narrative, because they needed somebody from Russia to make Russiagate look somewhat credible, he went from being a very trusted Western source who was meeting regularly with Western officials, translating their interviews, sending emails to them, in close contact meeting with them when he comes to the US. When he became convenient for the Russiagate narrative, all of a sudden, he became branded as a Russian spy by the Treasury Department, not by the FBI, because the FBI knows he's not a Russian spy, and then also sanctioned as well. He's been called all sorts of names by different, like, depending on which government agency it is, nobody can figure out one narrative for him because it's all basically being used to promote a narrative that could make Russiagate look credible. And your story, as you tell it, has a lot of echoes of that.
So, going back to your efforts to speak out on this, you were subpoenaed by Ron Johnson to come testify, but Senator Romney blocks your testimony. Why?
ANDRII TELIZHENKO: Blocked the subpoena. They tried to subpoena me to get more information on Blue Star, which was under the contract which I had with them, and I said I gave everything to the Senate, which was before and after the contract. But what was happening during the contract with Blue Star Strategies, I said, ‘Look, it's a US firm and I don't want to get sued afterward for a million dollars. Subpoena me and I'll provide everything to you. I’m very interested to give it. I cannot give it without a subpoena.’ And Senator Johnson talked about it numerous times, there's clips of it on Fox News. He said, ‘If they would just let me subpoena Telizhenko, there would be no problems. I would just come up and get documents from him and investigate him.’ That's basically a quote. And that time when they tried to subpoena me in March of 2020, Senator Johnson blocks my subpoena. They come up with the story on CNN that I tried to bribe some US senators years before, during my consulting work, and CNN writes this story with some third party from Ukraine who says that I told him all that stuff, and that's when Senator Johnson said, ‘I'm not going to subpoena him.’ And even though that story never led to anything—there was no case file, it was total nonsense, and just taken out of thin air—they basically blocked my subpoena, and Senator Johnson says, like, ‘Okay, I'm just going to subpoena Blue Star Strategies.’ Then they tried to block the subpoena for Blue Star Strategies, but then, because it's too obvious, they did let them subpoena Blue Star Strategies. But Blue Star, Karen Tramontano and Sally Painter lied in their testimony to the Senate. I know Karen Tramontano because I worked directly for them on Ukraine. They were the ones I would report directly to. I had all these communications which I could provide to the Senate, and I gave them, and that's in the Senate report, between me and Sally Painter.
And this firm, as I said, is very tough, a very professional firm in what they do. They don't only work with the Deep State in the US and Joe Biden, they also were lobbyists for Prince Charles at one point in time. I don't know if they are still today, for the King, but they were helping him become the future King of England. So, these guys are the Deep State. They know what they're doing, they know how to cover up things around the world, not only in Ukraine or US. So, they did their work and then nothing was done to them. They lied, they registered with FARA seven years later, after they did not register with FARA for working with Burisma, and the case was closed for them, because I got sanctioned. So, there was no case. Nobody can go and testify against them.
AARON MATÉ: Andrii, because you're saying all the things you're saying, you're going to be accused of spreading Russian disinformation, which is, as people now know, it's a very tried and tested tactic for silencing people. But let me ask you, do you have any connections to Russia, to the Russian state? Have you ever worked for Russia? Do you have any business with the Russian state or with any Russian nationals?
ANDRII TELIZHENKO: No. Yeah, I know Russians; I think everybody in the world, some people do know Russians or other people from different countries. But the last time I was in Russia I was representing Ukraine in 2008 when I was still in school, and that was a long time ago, when I was a student from school, working with UNESCO. That was the last time, the only time, I was in Russia. But no Russia connection at all. That's the problem, and as I said, I'm ready. Let the Treasury Department publish what they have on me, and I'm ready to go against them. Let them show the public what they have. They have nothing. Even what they have, it’s nothing to sanction a person.
So, they're just lying about me because there is no Russia connection. And there's people who testified within the Senate, like George Kent, who everybody knows that name, that person was involved in the Russiagate Congress reports and he testified in Congress. He was working for the State Department, he was a deputy head of the Embassy in Ukraine, now he's US Ambassador to Estonia. He testified to Senator Johnson, I think ten pages of his testimony on me that I have no Russia connections, and I think if Senator Johnson knew that I had any Russian connections, he would never take my testimony or any information from me as he did, which he did not do from Derkach. So, this whole process just stinks with false testimony from this other side.
I am ready to talk about the truth. They are not. I'm ready to be labeled a Russian spy because I'm not a Russian spy. If I was a Russian spy, I would probably soon be quiet like Derkach. Nobody hears a word from Derkach. He’s staying quiet. He did his job, and he's out of there. I'm fighting for my life and fighting for the truth. I was put on a kill list. I was written about by the Center for Security Policy. I don't know if you know this organization. They wrote about me, Michael Waller wrote about me, about how I’m not a Russian spy. Larry Johnson wrote about how I’m not a Russian spy. He’s a former CIA agent. And they talked about how I was put on a kill list because I came out with the truth. People would try to kill me in Ukraine. I had to flee Ukraine not because of the Russian war in Ukraine but because my own government wants to kill me, because I was fighting for peace and fighting for the truth. This is how bad it is, and I'm ready to resume the fight, even though they can name me anything they want. I want to let them show proof. I'm ready to come up and testify under oath. I gave whatever documents I had to give. I have more to provide, and I'm ready to provide those documents. But let them show the documents, what they have on me, and I'm ready to appeal them in any way. I'm not afraid, because there's nothing.
AARON MATÉ: Is that kill list you mentioned, is that by chance the Myrotvorets list, or is there a second one?
ANDRII TELIZHENKO: Yeah. Yeah. Myrotvorets.
AARON MATÉ: Okay, yeah, so we're on the same list. We share that distinction.
ANDRII TELIZHENKO: Oh, there you go. You’re also a Russian spy. Very good.
AARON MATÉ: Alright, any words you want to leave us with, Andrii? As we're speaking the US has just announced it’s going to send cluster munitions to Ukraine, which is a considerable escalation when it comes to sending over weapons of death, and it means that this war will go on. As we're speaking, there's very little prospects of diplomacy, at least that we can see publicly. Any words you want to leave us with as we wrap?
ANDRII TELIZHENKO: Yeah, this whole thing with the cluster bombs, this whole thing with the war itself, why is not the US sending diplomats, why is the US not picking up the phone with Biden talking to Putin? Because they want to continue this war.
This war, as we talked about this whole time, was pre-arranged. They wanted Russia to show and invade into Ukraine and to expose the blood between Ukrainians. They were preparing Ukraine for this war for nine years, because I lived in Ukraine. Ukrainians started to hate Russians every day more and more, even though we are the same blood, we are the same people.
As I said, I'm not a Russian spy, but I'm a Ukrainian who knew how Ukraine was 30 years ago, and what it became today. For me, it's a total failed state. It breaks my heart to see Ukraine like this, and I want Ukraine to thrive and to be at least saved from what can be saved today. That's why we need diplomacy. We could have saved it years before. We could have saved it last year. Nobody did anything. Today the US is sending more weapons, sending more money to fight. But why are they not trained for peace?
Things like this, when we investigate this corruption of the Bidens, how Ukraine was used, it may lead to at least a small puzzle of closing this whole case and bringing peace to Ukraine, so people could see why it all happened. Because Ukraine was used unfortunately as a rag to make money for people like Biden and his family. And this whole thing just has to end. We need to make peace because [otherwise] it's going to lead to more bloodshed. Bloodshed first of all for Ukrainians who are dying, for somebody's values, for somebody's pocket to be filled with money. Zelensky, who's a billionaire, and Joe Biden are profiting from this, and the generals and everybody else who are making money on this from outside Ukraine, and this has to end. I just want peace for my country. I want Ukraine to thrive and Ukraine to be independent and sovereign.
AARON MATÉ: Andrii Telizhenko, former Ukrainian government official, thanks very much for joining me.
ANDRII TELIZHENKO: Thank you.
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