Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters
On Tuesday, new evidence was released in the impeachment inquiry involving President Donald Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine to open a sham investigation into Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. The evidence includes a trove of documents from indicted Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas which appear to show Ukrainian prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko sought to have former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch removed in exchange for information on Biden.
At the center of the scandal lies former The Hill columnist and current Fox News contributor John Solomon. It has been known that Solomon used his Hill columns as a conduit for Trump personal attorney Giuliani’s conspiracy theories, but the new evidence further reveals the extent to which Solomon was involved. Vox’s Andrew Prokop broke down the timeline and details surrounding Solomon’s involvement:
The newly released documents show that Lutsenko complained to Parnas about Yovanovitch in March 2019, claiming that he wanted her removed. Parnas spoke to Solomon by phone in mid-March, and within a few days, Solomon wrote his first column featuring an interview with Lutsenko, who said that Yovanovitch had presented him with a “do not prosecute” list of Ukrainian citizens. (Yovanovitch denied the existence of such a list under oath, and no evidence has ever emerged that this list existed.)
Days later, Lutsenko urged Parnas to make a decision about “Madam” — likely a reference to Yovanovitch — or else his information on “B,” seemingly referring to Biden, would be called into question. On March 26, Lutsenko informed Parnas that the matters surrounding Burisma and Biden were progressing, but he again complained about Yovanovitch, to which Parnas replied that “she’s not getting away.” On April 1, Solomon wrote his first piece for The Hill linking Biden to Ukraine, interviewing Lutsenko and featuring the information he had been digging up.
The newly released documents further reveal the extent to which Solomon utilized his position as a columnist at The Hill to launder disinformation from Giuliani, Lutsenko, and others to bolster anti-Biden conspiracy theories and slander Yovanovitch, all in order to accomplish Trump’s goal of a corrupt, sham investigation into his potential political rival in 2020.
In addition to writing for The Hill, Solomon frequently appeared on Sean Hannity’s prime-time Fox show Hannity to launder his “reporting” on Ukraine. When Solomon ultimately left The Hill in late 2019 — leaving behind lasting damage due to his Ukraine columns — he was welcomed by Fox News with open arms, earning a contract as a Fox News contributor as a result of his conspiracy theory-ridden columns.