The Ukrainian government attempted to meddle with the U.S. election by helping Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's campaign find information about President-elect Donald Trump that would have damaged his chances of winning the election, according to a report.
A Politico investigation found the Ukrainian government disseminated documents that implicated a top Trump aide in corruption and claimed to have been investigating the case, but dropped the matter after Clinton lost the election.
A Democratic National Committee operative allegedly visited the Ukrainian embassy in Washington, D.C., to help coordinate the effort to find damaging research about Trump campaign operatives, including his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who had previously worked for pro-Russian Ukrainian officials.
The Ukrainian-Clinton connection likely resulted in the controversy surrounding Manafort during the campaign, whose ties to pro-Russian Ukrainians helped further push the image painted by Democrats that Trump was too close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
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Manafort ended up resigning as chairman of the Trump campaign after widespread criticism, reported The Guardian in August, 2016.
Although Politico says Ukrainian government officials directly coordinated with the Clinton campaign, the report stated this foreign government interference was not as elaborate as Russia's alleged role in leaking damaging information about Clinton and the Democratic National Committee.
But with Clinton losing the election, Ukrainian officials are now reportedly worried those efforts could backfire by putting a strain on diplomatic relations with the incoming Trump administration.
Ukraine has had strong relations with the U.S., which poses as a strong bulwark against Russian aggression in the former Soviet bloc country.
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“Things seem to be going from bad to worse for Ukraine,” said David A. Merkel, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council who helped oversee U.S. relations with Russia and Ukraine under President George W. Bush’s State Department and National Security Council, according to Politico.
“Now, it seems that a U.S. election may have been seen as a surrogate battle by those in Kiev and Moscow,” he said.