Friends and supporters of Joe Biden insist that his involvement in Ukraine, while he served as VP to Barack Obama, was intended to ensure that the country’s top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, who was widely accused of corruption, was forced to resign. It had nothing to do with the fact that Shokin was investigating a company in which his son Hunter had major financial investments, he insists.
But once-secret documents tell a different story.
In a column published in the Hill newspaper on September 27th, investigative journalist John Solomon, who has obtained some of those secret documents and is suing the US government for the remainder, writes that Shokin has already testified under oath that Biden’s intervention was intended to stifle his investigation of the Ukrainian company, Burisma Holdings, and its founder, a notorious shady dealer.
“The truth is that I was forced out because I was leading a wide-ranging corruption probe into Burisma Holdings, a natural gas firm active in Ukraine and Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, was a member of the Board of Directors,” Shokin testified in a sworn affidavit prepared for the European Court in 2017.
The New York Times first reported on financial corruption problems in Burisma Holdings back in December 2015 before Hunter Biden joined the firm’s board and his father intervened.
Despite strong evidence that Burisma was bad news, Hunter Biden decided to join the firm’s board, largely because US aid officials were preparing to fund a multi-million dollar development project with the company.
In fact, two days after the Times story appeared, young Biden and his business partner Devon Archer met with US State Department officials to fashion a strategy to salvage Burisma’s reputation so that the planned US aid deal could move forward unimpeded, Solomon reports.
In an interview with Shokin after his firing, the former prosecutor told Solomon that he was planning to question Hunter Biden about the $3 million in fees that Biden and his partner, Archer, collected from Burisma through their own private equity firm. Documents seized by the FBI in an unrelated case confirm the payments, which totaled more than $166,000, Solomon notes.
The circumstances surrounding Biden’s involvement in Ukraine will likely come under greater scrutiny as the recently announced House Democratic impeachment inquiry moves forward.
For reasons that remain unclear, Obama named Biden as a special envoy for US-Ukrainian relations, which placed him in a position to exercise extraordinary authority for fashioning US government policy toward a country deemed to be a critical US ally in the fight to contain Russian expansionism in Europe.
In fact, Ukraine was not the only part of the world where Hunter Biden and his father teamed up to pursue family financial interests under the cover of implementing US foreign and defense policy.
Another example that looms even larger is China, where Hunter Biden walked away with $1.5 billion from a Chinese businessman that donated to Biden’s private equity company. The payment occurred just a few days after Biden senior flew to China to discuss pending US-China trade deals.
Interestingly, in neither of these two cases did Hunter Biden offer foreign countries much expertise. Biden, who has struggled for years with a cocaine addiction, has no special financial management skills or knowledge of global mining operations. He doesn’t speak a foreign language. But he does possess one key asset: His last name.
Biden senior and his allies insist that the timing of the financial deals involving his son and his own political interventions is pure coincidence. Solomon’s investigations thus far suggest otherwise.
The Democrats’ Ukraine connections also extend to political skullduggery. During the 2016 election, while most media attention was focused on Russian interference on behalf of Trump, Ukrainian officials covertly intervened to boost the prospects of his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton, according to documented reports.
According to the news magazine Politico, The Democratic National Committee paid a Ukrainian consultant to dig up dirt on Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and to lay the groundwork for charges that Russia was “colluding” with Trump to “steal” the 2016 election. This collusion narrative dominated the first year of the Trump administration and was a key part of the Democrats’ strategy to try to drive Trump from office.
Biden and Clinton are now trying to launch a pre-emptive strike on Trump by suggesting that his phone call last July with the current Ukrainian president constitutes a threat to US national security – and grounds for impeachment.
But the impeachment narrative is already wearing thin. The current Ukrainian president has denied that Trump pressured him to look into the Bidens and their business dealings as a condition for receiving US military aid.
Of course, Clinton knows a lot about such quid pro quos. As Secretary of State under Obama, she cut aid innumerable deals with some of the world’s worst human rights violators in order to secure large donations from those same governments to the Clinton Foundation she co-founded with her husband Bill.
Apparently, squeaky clean Joe Biden may have been up to something similar. Wherever he traveled, his son seemed to prosper. One can only imagine what other countries the Bidens set their sights on.
Having plunged recklessly into an impeachment inquiry, more sordid details about the Bidens, Clinton, and Ukraine will likely emerge in the months ahead. Further investigation could well doom the political prospects of the Democrats’ current front-runner – perhaps the only candidate with a decent chance of defeating Trump in 2020.
The Ukraine investigation may just be the worst political blunder to befall the Democrats since nominating Clinton as their candidate in 2016. And in the end, it could prove to be a huge boon to Trump and the GOP.