Chuck Grassley

United States Senator from Iowa

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Grassley, Johnson Want Details of FBI Interactions with 2016 DNC Contractor

Nov 22, 2019
Agents reportedly interviewed Alexandra Chalupa as she sought dirt on Trump from Ukraine
 
WASHINGTON – Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and Ron Johnson, (R-Wis.), chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, are requesting investigative records related to a Democratic Party consultant who sought dirt from Ukraine on the Trump campaign in 2016. Alexandra Chalupa reportedly met with Ukrainian Embassy officials during the campaign to develop a coordinated strategy to undermine then-candidate Trump’s electoral prospects.
 
Around that same time, other reports revealed that Chalupa suspected she was the target of a state-sponsored cyberattack while working at the Democratic National Committee (DNC). The FBI interviewed her about the attack and took computer forensic images of her laptop and smartphone.
 
“If this reporting is accurate, it appears that the DOJ and FBI have in their possession material relevant to our Committees’ ongoing investigation into collusive actions Chalupa and the DNC took to use foreign government sources to undermine the Trump campaign during the 2016 election,” the senators wrote in a letter to Attorney General William Barr and FBI Director Christopher Wray.
 
The senators requested records related to the FBI’s investigation, including copies of all interview notes and material related to the forensic images of Chalupa’s devices.
 
Grassley first raised concerns in 2017 about Chalupa’s activity on behalf of the DNC to coordinate with a foreign government to sabotage the Trump campaign. In September, the senators asked the Justice Department whether it was investigating coordination between the Ukrainian government and individuals associated with the DNC or Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.
 
Earlier today, the senators requested records from the National Archives related to White House visitor log records showing meetings between Chalupa, Ukrainians, and Obama administration officials.
 
Text of the letter to the FBI and DOJ follows:
 
November 22, 2019
 
VIA ELECTRONIC TRANSMISSION
The Honorable William Barr
Attorney General
Department of Justice
 
The Honorable Christopher A. Wray
Director
Federal Bureau of Investigation
 
Dear Attorney General Barr and Director Wray:
 
On September 27, 2019, we wrote a letter to the Justice Department based on Senator Grassley’s July 20, 2017, letter which highlighted brazen efforts by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary Clinton campaign to use the government of Ukraine for the express purpose of finding negative information on then-candidate Trump in order to undermine his campaign.[1]  That letter also highlighted news reports that, during the 2016 presidential election, “Ukrainian government officials tried to help Hillary Clinton and undermine Trump” and did so by “disseminat[ing] documents implicating a top Trump aide in corruption and suggest[ing] they were investigating the matter[.]”[2]  Ukrainian officials also reportedly “helped Clinton’s allies research damaging information on Trump and his advisers.”[3] 
 
At the center of this plan was Alexandra Chalupa, described by reports as a Ukrainian-American operative “who was consulting for the Democratic National Committee” and who reportedly met with Ukrainian officials during the presidential election for the express purpose of exposing alleged ties between then-candidate Donald Trump, Paul Manafort, and Russia.[4] Another Ukrainian embassy official, Andrii Telizhenko, told Politico that Oksana Shulyar, a senior Ukrainian government official, instructed him to assist Chalupa with research to connect Trump, Manafort, and the Russians.  He reportedly said, “[t]hey were coordinating an investigation with the Hillary team on Paul Manafort with Alexandra Chalupa” and that “Oksana [Shulyar] was keeping it all quiet…the embassy worked very closely with” Chalupa.[5]  In a May 2019 article, Telizhenko was quoted as saying,
 
[Chalupa] said the DNC wanted to collect evidence that Trump, his organization and Manafort were Russian assets, working to hurt the U.S. and working with [Russian President Vladimir] Putin against the U.S. interests. She indicated if we could find the evidence they would introduce it in Congress in September and try to build a case that Trump should be removed from the ballot, from the election.[6]
 
According to an October 24, 2016, news article, while working for the DNC, Chalupa noticed that she had potentially been subject to a “state sponsored cyberattack.”[7]  The report indicates that it was an “early sign” of the reported cyberattack on the DNC.[8]  The alleged cyberattack against her happened while she was reportedly trying to find dirt on Manafort and Trump in order to undermine his presidential campaign.[9]  After the reported cyberattack, reports indicate that “FBI agents [] questioned Chalupa – and imaged her laptop and smartphone – as part of a wide-ranging investigation into the Russian cyberattacks.”[10]
 
If this reporting is accurate, it appears that the DOJ and FBI have in their possession material relevant to our Committees’ ongoing investigation into collusive actions Chalupa and the DNC took to use foreign government sources to undermine the Trump campaign during the 2016 election.  Accordingly, no later than December 9, 2019, please provide the following:
  1. All records[11] relating to the DOJ’s or FBI’s interview of Chalupa, including all 1A notes and 302s.
  2. All records relating to the imaging of Chalupa’s laptop and smartphone.
 
We anticipate that most of the responsive documents will be unclassified. Please send all unclassified material directly to the Committees. In keeping with the requirements of Executive Order 13526, if any of the responsive documents do contain classified information, please segregate all unclassified material within the classified documents, provide all unclassified information directly to the Committees, and provide a classified addendum to the Office of Senate Security.  The Committees comply with all laws and regulations governing the handling of classified information.  The Committees are not bound, absent their prior agreement, by any handling restrictions or instructions on unclassified information unilaterally asserted by the Executive Branch.
 
Thank you for your prompt attention.  Should you have any questions, please contact Joshua Flynn-Brown of Chairman Grassley’s staff at 202-224-4515 and Brian Downey or Scott Wittmann of Chairman Johnson’s staff at 202-224-4757. 
 
Sincerely,
 
 
Charles E. Grassley
Chairman
Committee on Finance
 
Ron Johnson
Chairman
Committee on Homeland Security
     and Governmental Affairs
 
-30-
 

[1] Letter from Hon. Charles E. Grassley, Chairman, Sen. Comm. on the Judiciary, to Hon. Rod J. Rosenstein, Attorney Gen., U.S. Dep’t of Justice (July 20, 2017), https://www.grassley.senate.gov/sites/default/files/constituents/2017-0720%20CEG%20to%20DOJ%20%28Ukraine%20DNC%20FARA%29.pdf.
[2] Id.
[3] Kenneth P. Vogel & David Stern, Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump backfire, Politico (Jan. 11, 2017), https://www.politico.com/story/2017/01/ukraine-sabotage-trump-backfire-233446.
[4] Id.
[5] Id.
[6] John Solomon, Ukrainian Embassy confirms DNC contractor solicited Trump dirt in 2016, The Hill (May 2, 2019), https://thehill.com/opinion/white-house/441892-ukrainian-embassy-confirms-dnc-contractor-solicited-trump-dirt-in-2016.
[7] Michael Isikoff, 16 people who shaped the 2016 election: Alexandra Chalupa, Yahoo News (Oct. 24, 2016), https://www.yahoo.com/news/16-people-who-shaped-the-2016-election-alexandra-chalupa-171541199.html.
[8] Id.
[9] Id.
[10]Id.
[11] “Records” include any written, recorded, or graphic material of any kind, including letters, memoranda, reports, notes, electronic data (emails, email attachments, and any other electronically-created or stored information), calendar entries, inter-office communications, meeting minutes, phone/voice mail or recordings/records of verbal communications, and drafts (whether or not they resulted in final documents).