The anonymous CIA official’s complaint accusing President Donald Trump of “using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country” in the 2020 presidential race has been linked to an investigative journalism organization partially-funded by billionaire activist George Soros.
The whistleblower’s complaint makes reference multiple times to a report published by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), titled “Meet the Florida Duo Helping Giuliani Investigate for Trump in Ukraine.”
George Soros’s Open Society is listed as among the top donor in most of the annual financial records posted on OCCRP’s website.
In 2017, OCCRP penned an article broadly critical of the work of opponents of Soros’s work in Macedonia. In an article titled, “How Macedonia’s Scandal-plagued Nationalists Lobbied America’s Right and Pulled Them Into an Anti-Soros Crusade,” the organization wrote that “America’s right has become fervently interested in what one writer termed a ‘battle royale’ within the tiny Balkan country. On one side is Macedonia’s conservative former ruling party, portrayed by its newfound U.S. supporters as a staunch defender of free markets and traditional morality. On the other, they say, are nefarious left-wing opponents backed by billionaire financier George Soros.”
“The campaign is part of a wider anti-Soros movement promoted by authoritarian governments in Europe and right-wing populists in the United States. The Hungarian and Polish governments have gone after Soros-funded groups and institutions. In Macedonia’s neighbor, Serbia, nationalist media outlets have attacked Soros as being behind a plan to destabilize the country.”
The report referenced a meeting of “populist activists” at a March conference in Budapest, where they “adopted the name of the Macedonian group ‘Stop Operation Soros.'”
The report cited Macedonian journalists Ljupcho Zlatev, who told OCCRP that “Soros was picked as a target because he personifies a liberal, globalist threat to traditional nationalism.”
“George Soros is not the only one, but he is a symbol,” Zlatev said in the report. “You can’t go and protest against the British Council or the Swiss development agency, you know.”
OCCRP describes itself as a “non-profit media organization providing an investigative reporting platform” which links “45 non-profit investigative centers in 34 countries, scores of journalists and several major regional news organizations across Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America.”
“We work to turn the tables on corruption and build greater accountability through exposing the abuse of power at the expense of the people,” OCCRP states. “We serve all people whose lives are affected by organized crime and corruption.”
Besides Soros-linked funding, OCCRP also receives support from the U.S. government, which has made sizeable contributions to the organization via the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), providing over $2 million in revenue in 2017, according to a financial report (pdf).
Private institutions in the same year contributed just over $2.3 million combined.
‘Not a Direct Witness’
The whistleblower, who in the complaint admits, “I was not a direct witness to most of the events described,” relied on second-hand information from numerous sources to allege that Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.
The transcript of the call shows no evidence of pressure, however, nor does it show that Trump’s requested investigation of the Bidens was floated as a quid pro quo condition of releasing a tranche of military aid to Ukraine, as has been alleged in some media reports.
Trump has denied putting pressure on Zelensky and has called the allegations the work of a partisan operative. The Ukrainian president has also dismissed suggestions of pressure, saying that “nobody pushed me” nor that he had pressured Ukrainian prosecutors to investigate the Bidens.
The complaint claims several key members of the State Department either listened in on Trump’s July 25 call with Zelensky or interacted with Ukrainian officials to “contain the damage” to U.S. national security, and that “senior White House officials had intervened to ‘lock down’ all records of the phone call.”
Despite not having first-hand knowledge of the call, the whistleblower said in the complaint that he or she found “accounts of these events to be credible because, in almost all cases, multiple officials recounted fact patterns that were consistent with one another.”
The whistleblower notes in one part of the complaint that “multiple U.S. officials told me that Mr. Giuliani had reportedly privately reached out to a variety of other Zelensky advisers, including Chief of Staff Andriy Bohdan and Acting Chairman of the Security Service of Ukraine Ivan Bakanov.”
It is in the context of Giuliani’s alleged efforts to investigate Biden that the OCCRP report is referenced in the whistleblower’s complaint.
Footnote #4 of the complaint reads: “In a report published by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) on 22 July, two associates of Mr. Giuliani reportedly traveled to Kyiv in May 2019 and met with Mr. Bakanov and another close Zelensky adviser, Mr. Serhiy Shefir.”
Footnote #9 reads: “In May, Attorney General Barr announced that he was initiating a probe into the ‘origins’ of the Russia investigation. According to the above-referenced OCCRP report (22 July), two associates of Mr. Giuliani claimed to be working with Ukrainian officials to uncover information that would become part of this inquiry.”
Footnote #10 reads: “See, for example, the above-referenced articles in Bloomberg (16 May) and OCCRP (22 July).” This footnote relates to the claim in the report that “Mr. Giuliani had met on at least two occasions with Mr. Lutsenko: once in New York in late January and again in Warsaw in mid-February. In addition, it was publicly reported that Mr. Giuliani had spoken in late 2018 to former Prosecutor General Shokin, in a Skype call arranged by two associates of Mr. Giuliani.”
Footnote #11 reads: “I do not know whether these associates of Mr. Giuliani were the same individuals named in the 22 July report by OCCRP, referenced above.”
Hannity Guests Link OCCRP to Soros
Guests on Fox News’ Hannity show have also pointed out that the whistleblower relied on information provided by a Soros-linked organization.
On a Sept. 26 episode of Hannity, attorneys Joe diGenova and Victoria Toensing criticized the whistleblower, saying the person “doesn’t need to be feted, he needs to go to prison.”
Toensing then claimed, “The whistle-blower sprinkles throughout his document’s footnotes referring to a publication with the initials ‘OCCRP.’ One guess, Sean, who funds OOCRP? George Soros.”
“That was George Soros-funded NGOs who were also in bed with the State Department,” Toensing said. “They were in bed with each other during that time, in the name of anti-corruption and it really means that Soros goes after his competitors.”
DiGenova added: “Soros’ dirty money is all over this story from day one.”
The former attorney for the District of Columbia also claimed that the whistleblower complaint was a scheme devised by the Democrats to deflect attention away from the Bidens’ alleged corruption.
In 2016, Biden pressured then Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to fire Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin, who had led a criminal probe into Bursima Holdings, a Ukrainian energy company on whose board his son, Hunter Biden, sat. Bloomberg reported that the prosecutor’s termination was prompted by foot-dragging on unrelated corruption probes and that no evidence has been found of any connection to Biden’s son. Ukraine’s new prosecutor general told Bloomberg the investigation into tax evasion at Bursima had been dormant for over a year before Biden pushed for Shokin to be fired.
Shokin said in the affidavit that while the official reason for his dismissal was failing to secure the public trust, the actual reason had to do with the Burisma probe.
“The truth is that I was forced out because I was leading a wide-ranging corruption probe into Burisma Holdings, a natural gas firm active in Ukraine, and Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, was a member of the Board of Directors,” Shokin wrote.
“I assume Burisma, which was connected with gas extraction, had the support of the of the US Vice-President Joe Biden because his son was on the Board of Directors.”
Shokin said Poroshenko, Ukraine’s president at the time, came to him multiple times and asked him to close down the probe into Burisma but the prosecutor refused.
“In my conversations with Poroshenko at the time, he was emphatic that I should cease my investigations regarding Burisma. When I did not, he said that the U.S. (via Biden) were refusing to release the USD$1 billion promised to Ukraine. He said that he had no choice.”
Declassified and Released Complaint About Trump
The complaint made against Trump that spurred Democrats to launch an impeachment inquiry has been declassified and released.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, and Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, released the complaint to the public on Sept. 26.
See the full whistleblower complaint below: