Robert Mueller’s investigation was relying on help from Ukraine’s government due to President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, and his work with pro-Russian politicians. But now that Ukraine has secured a deadly weapons deal with the United States, that’s no longer the case.
As reported by The New York Times, Ukraine’s government had been asking the U.S. for deadly weapons to fight the Russia-backed militias in Donbas, the eastern part of Ukraine, since President Barack Obama was in office. In order to secure the deal, which involves both financial and military aid, Ukraine’s government appears to have frozen its cooperation with Mueller’s investigation.
The deal was confirmed on April 30 when the State Department claimed the weapons had been delivered. Ukraine’s decision to drop out of Mueller’s probe followed soon after. According to Newsweek, there might be reason to believe Ukraine is playing nice to keep receiving aid.
President Petro Poroshenko even thanked Trump for the weapons.
"I am sincerely grateful for the fair decision of Donald Trump in support of Ukraine, in defense of freedom and democracy," Poroshenko said. "Washington not only fulfilled our joint agreement, it demonstrated leadership and an important example."
In addition to no longer aiding Mueller, Newsweek noted, another investigation potentially damaging to Trump has been halted thanks to Washington’s decision to help Ukraine’s military struggles against Russia.
It appears that an anti-corruption investigation into payments allegedly made to Manafort by former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was also paused by Ukraine’s chief prosecutor.
Manafort has been at the center of the investigation into whether Trump or his campaign collaborated with Russian government agents. In the meantime, Manafort was associated with accusations of money laundering and lying about his work relationships as he failed to accurately register as a foreign agent.
With the Ukrainian government not cooperating with Mueller anymore, it could become more difficult for the FBI to establish Manafort’s involvement in the Russia probe as the former campaign manager’s connection to pro-Russia Ukrainian politicians is at the heart of the matter, Newsweek explained. As such, one could eventually conclude that, perhaps, Trump’s decision to help Ukraine has a lot more to do with covering for Manafort than actually helping Ukrainians.
But until more is unveiled by Mueller, we can’t be sure.
Banner/Thumbnail Credits: Reuters/Brian Snyder