The U.S. State Department revoked the visa of a former Ukrainian diplomat Andriy Telizhenko who has worked with Republicans to spread "baseless conspiracy theories" about Donald Trump rival Joe Biden's family and foreign meddling in 2016, CNN has learned from American and Ukrainian officials.
A U.S. official said there are also conversations within the U.S. government about potentially sanctioning that individual and identifying him as a Russian agent, CNN reports.
Read also Ukraine does not interfere in U.S. presidential elections – Zelensky Democrats have accused Telizhenko of intentionally spreading Russian disinformation.
In mid-September, the U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned another ally of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani – Ukrainian MP Andriy Derkach – and accused him of being an "active Russian agent" who is part of Moscow's interference in the 2020 campaign.
A source familiar told CNN that Telizhenko was denied boarding a flight from Kyiv to New York.
"The guy fully deserved it," Ukrainian Ambassador to the U.S. Volodymyr Yelchenko told CNN, speaking about Telizhenko's visa revocation.
A State Department spokesperson declined to comment, telling CNN, "Visa records are confidential under U.S. law;therefore, we cannot discuss the details of individual visa cases."
Telizhenko is a stalwart Giuliani ally who has traveled with the former mayor and has promoted the conspiracy theory that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election to weaken Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and defeat President Donald Trump.
That theory flies in the face of the unanimous assessment from U.S. intelligence agencies that it was the Russian government who interfered in the 2016 election, and their goal was to elect Trump.
Giuliani did not respond to a request for comment on the visa revocation.
Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who was a top White House adviser on Ukraine and had regular contacts with the Ukrainian embassy, testified in the impeachment inquiry that Telizhenko is "not a credible individual." David Holmes, a top U.S. diplomat, also cast doubt on Telizhenko, telling lawmakers, "I don't think we found his perspective to be always credible and useful."
Derkach sanctions: Background
The U.S. intelligence community has warned about Russian efforts to interfere in next month's presidential election, and the Treasury Department's decision to sanction Derkach was an extraordinary step by the U.S. government to publicly condemn Russia's ongoing interference in the 2020 election.
The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv on Monday warned against doing business with Derkach, noting he "maintains close connections with the Russian Intelligence Services and has served as an active Russian agent for over a decade, employing manipulation and deceit to attempt to influence elections in the United States and elsewhere around the world."