Top Senate Democrats are pushing Ukrainian officials to explain allegations that they’re not cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation because they fear President Trump.
The three senators — Robert Menendez of New Jersey, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Richard Durbin of Illinois and Patrick Leahy of Vermont — wrote a letter Friday to Ukraine Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko, expressing concern about a recent New York Times report quoting Ukrainian government officials saying its relationship with the U.S. and Trump administration is too valuable to jeopardize in any way.
“As strong advocates for a robust and close relationship with Ukraine, we believe that our cooperation should extend to such legal matters, regardless of politics,” the senators wrote. “Blocking cooperation with the Mueller probe potentially cuts off a significant opportunity for Ukrainian law enforcement to conduct a more thorough inquiry into possible crimes committed during the Yanukovich era.”
Viktor Yanukovych served as Ukraine’s president from 2010 to 2014, when he was removed from power during the Ukrainian revolution. He is currently in exile in Russia.
“This reported refusal to cooperate with the Mueller probe also sends a worrying signal — to the Ukrainian people as well as the international community — about your government’s commitment more broadly to support justice and the rule of law,” the senators wrote.
The letter also includes questions the senators have about Mr. Lutsenko’s office allegedly preventing the issuing of subpoenas to collect evidence and interview witnesses in four open cases related to former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
As part of the Mueller probe, Mr. Manafort has pleaded not guilty to conspiracy, money laundering and tax and bank fraud charges related to his lobbying work for Mr. Yanukovych.