TOENSING: Forget Democracy — The Washington Post Is Killing Integrity In Darkness


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Forget “Democracy dies in darkness.” The Washington Post editorial board’s motto is more aptly “Damn the facts. Full speed ahead.” In seeking to protect former Vice President Joe Biden, the editors have employed double standards and ignored established facts.

The Post never accuses lawyers who represent the so-called White House “whistleblower” of getting “dirt” on the president. Significantly, the whistleblower’s complaint failed to allege the president committed any criminal conduct. By contrast, witnesses have provided me with an adequate “factual basis” for investigating the Bidens. Yet, I am maligned as wanting to “dig up dirt” on them.

The Post has also given scant coverage to January 2016 Obama White House meetings with Ukrainian embassy officials who allegedly asked for “dirt” on the Trump campaign. One Ukrainian participant, Andrii Telizhenko, reported it was clear during the meetings that the White House “had an interest in reviving a closed investigation” of Paul Manafort. That request was followed a few weeks later by the “discovery” in Ukraine of a black book of questionable origin alleging payments to Manafort.

The paper has also ignored Ukrainian Ambassador Valeriy Chaly’s written response to questions from John Solomon, whose reporting relayed “DNC contractor Alexandra Chalupa sought information from the Ukrainian government” regarding Manafort.

Such are common tactics employed by those with bias: mischaracterize and ignore. Even when confronted with the facts, the Post refuses to issue a full correction.

Another recent leading Post editorial claimed, “Mr. [Rudy] Giuliani dispatched [Lev] Parnas and … Igor Fruman to solicit [my client Dmitry] Firtash’s help in obtaining dirt on Mr. Biden” by “urg[ing] him to hire” my firm, diGenova & Toensing.

When informed that Giuliani never dispatched those persons to “obtain dirt,” and indeed, did not even know that Firtash had hired the law firm, The Post’s editors refused to retract the allegation. They incredibly responded that its “editorial doesn’t say that Giuliani asked Parnas and Fruman to ask Firtash to hire” the firm.

Their editorial also claimed an affidavit from former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin was “shown to be false.” Really? Shokin stated in a sworn affidavit submitted to an Austrian court that then-President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko “forced” him out of his position because he “was leading a wide-ranging corruption probe into Burisma,” the Ukrainian energy company that paid the unqualified Hunter Biden over $80,000 monthly to be a director.

Shokin averred that Poroshenko told him that Biden was “refusing to release” the $1 billion “promised to Ukraine” unless he was gone. Please resign “for the good of our country,” Poroshenko pleaded.

What was the basis for The Post’s claim that Shokin’s statement was “proven to be false”? Without naming the witness or quoting him or her, the editors responded by citing “sworn testimony to the House Intelligence Committee.”

Not one State Department witness who testified to the committee had firsthand knowledge of Shokin’s conversation with Poroshenko. The editors want us to believe that a person who has no personal knowledge of the situation is more credible than the person who actually experienced the situation.

Shokin’s temporary successor, Yuriy Sevruk, also wrote a memo describing his meeting with Burisma’s legal team, which occurred only days after Shokin’s firing. They apologized for “false information” made by “U.S. representatives” and others about Shokin. They wanted to settle the case. Why would Burisma’s legal team meet with the prosecutor if there were no ongoing investigation? The case was settled in January 2017, long after Shokin’s March 2016 firing.

The only false allegation the editors were “willing to work with” us on was this: “Firtash was the source of a $1 million transfer to the wife of Lev Parnas, who was working closely with Mr. Giuliani on the Biden affair.”

Maybe the willingness stemmed from the fact that The Post had been provided — prior to publishing their editorial — with a statement from Ralph Isenegger, a lawyer for Firtash, that he was the source of the money, which was for a home loan, and that Firtash had no knowledge of it.

Editorial integrity dies in darkness.

Victoria Toensing served as deputy assistant attorney general in the Criminal Division of the U.S. Justice Department from 1984-1988, where she established the department’s Terrorism Unit. She is founding partner of the Washington, D.C. law firm diGenova & Toensing, LLP.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.