Key Witness Told Mueller Team That Russia Collusion Evidence Found In Ukraine Was Fabricated

Authored by John Solomon via,

One of Robert Mueller’s pivotal trial witnesses told the special prosecutor’s team in spring 2018 that a key piece of Russia collusion evidence found in Ukraine known as the “black ledger” was fabricated, according to interviews and testimony.

The ledger document, which suddenly appeared in Kiev during the 2016 U.S. election, showed alleged cash payments from Russian-backed politicians in Ukraine to ex-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

 “The ledger was completely made up,” cooperating witness and Manafort business partner Rick Gates told prosecutors and FBI agents, according to a written summary of an April 2018 special counsel’s interview.

In a brief interview with Just the News, 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.

If true, Gates’ account means the two key pieces of documentary evidence used by the media and FBI to drive the now-debunked Russia collusion narrative — the Steele dossier and the black ledger — were at best uncorroborated and at worst disinformation. His account also raises the possibility that someone fabricated the document in Ukraine in an effort to restart investigative efforts on Manafort’s consulting work or  to meddle in the U.S. presidential election. 

Much mystery has surrounded the black ledger, which was publicized by the New York Times and other U.S. news outlets in the summer of 2016 and forced Manafort out as one of Trump’s top campaign officials. 

After gaining wide attention as purported evidence of Russian ties to the Trump campaign, the ledger was never introduced as evidence at Manafort’s 2018 trial or significantly analyzed in Mueller’s final 2019 report, which concluded that Trump did not collude with Russia to influence the 2016 election. No FBI 302 interview reports have been released either showing what the FBI concluded about the ledger.

Gates’ interview with the Mueller team now provides a potential clue as to why.

By April 2018, Gates had reached a plea deal to testify against Manafort in a criminal case that ultimately resulted in Manafort’s conviction on tax and illegal lobbying charges. As the day-to-day manager of Manafort’s political consulting and lobbying efforts for former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, Gates handled Manafort’s operations and was deeply familiar with when and how payments were made and from whom.

During a debriefing with Mueller’s team on April 10, 2018, Gates was asked about the August 2016 New York Times article that first alerted the public to the existence of the black ledger and eventually led to Manafort’s downfall.

“The article was completely false,” Gates is quoted as telling Mueller’s team in a written summary of the interview created by some of the attendees.

“As you now know there were no cash payments. The payments were wired. The ledger was completely made up.”

When pressed as to why he was so certain, Gates explained the ledger did not match the way Yanukovych’s Party of Regions made payments to consultants like Manafort. 

“It was not how the PoR [Party of Regions] did their record keeping,” Gates told the prosecution team, according to the written summary.

Furthermore, Gates revealed that Manafort’s team had confirmed with the party’s former accountant that the black ledger could not be a contemporaneous document because the party’s official accounting books burned in a 2014 fire during Ukraine’s Maidan uprising. 

“All the real records were burned when the party headquarters was set on fire when Yanukovych fled the country,” Gates told the investigators, according to the interview summary.

The Party of Regions accountant reached by Manafort’s team told them that the black ledger was a “copy of a document that did not exist” and it “was not even [the accountant’s own] handwriting,” Gates told the prosecutors.

Gates’ account to prosecutors closely matches what several Ukrainian officials have said for more than a year.

Ukraine’s Special Anti-Corruption Prosecutor Nazar Kholodnytskyy told me last spring that he believed the black ledger was not a contemporaneous document, and likely manufactured after the fact.

“It was not to be considered a document of Manafort,” Kholodnytskyy said in an interview.

“It was not authenticated. And at that time it should not be used in any way to bring accusations against anybody.”

Likewise, one of Gates’ and Manafort’s Ukrainian business partners, Konstantin Kilimnik, who is now indicted in the same case as Manafort but remain at large, wrote a senior U.S. State Department official in summer 2016 that the black ledger did not match actual payments made to Manafort’s firm. 

“I have some questions about this black cash stuff because those published records do not make sense,” Kilimnik wrote the State official in August 2016.

“The time frame doesn’t match anything related to payments made to Manafort. … It does not match my records. All fees Manafort got were wires, not cash.”

In December 2018, a Ukrainian court ruled that two of that country’s government officials — member of parliament Sergey Leschenko and Artem Sytnyk, the head of the National Anticorruption Bureau of Ukraine — illegally interfered in the 2016 U.S. election by publicizing the black ledger evidence.

While that ruling has been overturned on a technicality, the role of Sytnyk and Leschenko in pushing the black ledger story remains true.

In an interview last summer, Leschenko said he first received part of the black ledger when it was sent to him anonymously in February 2016, but it made no mention of Manafort. Months later, in August 2016, more of the ledger became public, including the alleged Manafort payments.

Leschenko said he decided to publicize the information after confirming a few of the transactions likely occurred or matched known payments.

But Leschenko told me he never believed the black ledger could be used as court evidence because it couldn’t be proved beyond a reasonable doubt that it was authentic, given its mysterious appearance during the 2016 election.

“The black ledger is an unofficial document,” Leschenko told me. “And the black ledger was not used as official evidence in criminal investigations because you know in criminal investigations all proof has to be beyond a reasonable doubt. And the black ledger is not a sample of such proof because we don’t know the nature of such document.”

In the end, the black ledger did prompt the discovery of real financial transactions and real crimes by Manafort, which ultimately led to his conviction. 

But its uncertain origins raise troubling questions about election meddling and what constitutes real evidence worthy of starting an American investigation.

via zerohedge


  1. Why hasn’t Hillary been indicted for paying for the Steele dossier? Why hasn’t Mueller been indicted for withholding key evidence that has cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars for investigation? Why haven’t any of the co-conspirators been indicted? Inquiring minds want to know.

  2. Mueller knew the “Black Ledger” was fabricated.

    If Strzok and Page knew Comey knew – Strzok was still working for Comey at the time. If Comey knew Mueller knew. The lies are becoming more and more clear. ALL of these people need to be held accountable.

  3. The whole case against Manafort needs to be reviewed. This man and his family’s lives have been destroyed. These corrupt dems don’t care about anybody or anything but their own greed and power. The dems have the moral compass of Charles Manson or Hitler. Flynn needs to be econerated also. They have no conscience about trashing peoples lives. It is bad enough that the dems do this but obviously the media is complicit in these crimes. They have no moral compass either.

  4. I wish that there was truth to ” no one is above the law.” Most has heard the expression, ” he who has the gold makes the rules.”

    None of the democrats who committed crimes( we all know who they are), will never be indicted, now will they ever go to prison. Sorry…but that’s the way it is.

  5. Hopefully, Barr will get around to flushing all these criminal SOBs out and prosecuted! There should be no level of elitism that is protected from being charged from crimes. Especially when done in spite of the people. Those billions of dollars that the government has been cheated out of where our hard earned tax dollars and they should pay for their crimes like any crook!

    1. This hole investigation could have been avoided if Muller being the law enforcement individual he was supposed to be and viewing the manner how this was put together should have instructed Rosenstien and Comey that hole investigation lacked credibility. Rather they pursued to milked the taxpayer out million’s of dollars and ruin peoples life i’m like you hope Barr put’s all those involved in prison

  6. I’ll be surprised if they get prosecuted but there is always hope. The Democrats say on their ads that they want to beat Donald Trump. Wow, what a lofty goal. We’re better off now than we have been in decades. Maybe it’s because Trump is not a politician. Humm we may on to something.

    1. politicians don’t belong into government only people with common sense and LOVE of country!politicians only love their party and the hate and greed which comes with it. Fat cats who push pencils and who have been sitting on their butts for so many years love to keep their jobs and are against any president who wants to clean up corruption and liars supported by the media because propaganda and scare tactics sell newspapers.

  7. I keep telling you that they ALL need to be arrested and all twenty five of them be placed in the same cell. They would never know they were in jail…after about two days…well…

  8. Got interested around mid 2016 when the ENTIRE Main Sewer Stream Fake Media were demonizing no end some “red headed idiot” and piqued my curiosity and lest we forget, there was never ANY DNC hack…the MSM studiously ignored the fact that the transfer speed of the data precluded any such happening…it was a DOWNLOAD (remember Seth???). Obama used this spurious information to instigate Russiagate to deflect the expected WikiLeaks, which incidentally have NEVER been debunked/repudiated, “dump” on Hillary which morphed into the fraudulent Mueller inquiry. As to “interference”…according to Facebook, Russian “interests” purchased $80,000.00 +/- worth of ads in 2016, all of which were NOT of any political significance. Hence, if these guys were to have significantly affected the voting outcome with this paltry sum in a tens of millions election, it would stand to reason that these Russian “wizards” would have been the most sought after “campaign managers” on the ENTIRE planet…so much for the “intelligence” of the MSM…

  9. In any search for the truth, about things that are unimaginable, learning or being aware of all possibilities is, all-encompassing. In other words, when that moment of ” Voila” forms in the corners and deepest areas of one’s imagination, that actuality is ” the light bulb “. Ordinarily, in my case, the light bulb is always flickering, ( grin) however, the more I insist that the bulb stop flickering, is the time when I feel as if I may not be able to handle when ” the necessary light,” is shed on anything worth believing. So, consider this. There are some egotistical people in this world that forsake honor, allegiance, trust, respect, family, love and the ” milk of human kindness”, to satisfy greed, lust, power. or anything to hide the truth. Personally, it is extremely difficult to accept the fact that ego causes adults to use complete destructive intentions when things aren’t going their way.

    In my humble opinion, for the past three years, the nation has been under the influence of the “my way or the highway”, ” wannabee dictators” ” spoiled brats” or those who ” look down their noses” at “baskets of deplorables” who are noticable at your local supermarket by their smell, as

    In other words, Beware of continuous “bright shiny objects” that will keep one occupied with ” bling” while your enemy steals your soul.

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