Former vice president Joe Biden’s extraordinary campaign memo this week imploring U.S. news media to reject the allegations surrounding his son Hunter’s work for a Ukrainian natural gas company makes several bold declarations.
The memo by Biden campaign aides Kate Bedingfield and Tony Blinken specifically warned reporters covering the impeachment trial they would be acting as “enablers of misinformation” if they repeated allegations that the former vice president forced the firing of Ukraine’s top prosecutor, who was investigating Burisma Holdings, where Hunter Biden worked as a highly compensated board member.
Biden’s memo argues there is no evidence that the former vice president’s or Hunter Biden’s conduct raised any concern, and that Prosecutor-General Viktor Shokin’s investigation was “dormant” when the vice president forced the prosecutor to be fired in Ukraine.
The memo calls the allegation a “conspiracy theory.”
From John Solomon:
Here are the facts, with links to public evidence:
Fact: Joe Biden admitted to forcing Shokin’s firing in March 2016.
It is irrefutable, and not a conspiracy theory, that Joe Biden bragged in this 2018 speech to a foreign policy group that he threatened in March 2016 to withhold $1 billion in U.S. aid to Kiev, if then Ukraine’s president Petro Poroshenko didn’t immediately fire Shokin.
“I said, ‘You’re not getting the billion.’ I’m going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money,’” Biden told the 2018 audience in recounting what he told Poroshenko
“Well, son of a bitch, he got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time,” Biden told the Council on Foreign Relations event.
Fact: Shokin’s prosecutors were actively investigating Burisma when he was fired.
While some news organizations cited by the Biden memo have reported the investigation was “dormant” in March 2016, official files released by the Ukrainian prosecutor general’s office, in fact, show there was substantial investigative activity in the weeks just before Joe Biden forced Shokin’s firing.
The corruption investigations into Burisma and its founder began in 2014. Around the same time, Hunter Biden and his U.S. business partner Devon Archer were added to Burisma’s board, and their Rosemont Seneca Bohais firm began receiving regular $166,666 monthly payments, which totaled nearly $2 million a year. Both bank records seized by the FBI in America and Burisma’s own ledgers in Ukraine confirm these payments.
To put the payments in perspective, the annual amounts paid by Burisma to Hunter Biden’s and Devon Archer’s Rosemont Seneca Bohais firm were 30 times the average median annual household income for everyday Americans.
Fact: Burisma’s lawyers in 2016 were pressing U.S. and Ukrainian authorities to end the corruption investigations.
Burisma’s main U.S. lawyer John Buretta acknowledged in this February 2017 interview with a Ukraine newspaper that the company remained under investigation in 2016 until he negotiated for one case to be dismissed and the other to be settled by payment of a large tax penalty.
Documents released under an open records lawsuit show Burisma legal team was pressuring the State Department in February 2016 to end the corruption allegations against the gas firm and specifically invoked Hunter Biden’s name as part of the campaign.
Fact: There is substantial evidence Joe Biden and his office knew about the Burisma probe and his son’s role as a board member.
Fact: Federal Ethics rules require government officials to avoid taking policy actions affecting close relatives.
Office of Government Ethics rules require all government officials to recuse themselves from any policy actions that could impact a close relative or cause a reasonable person to see the appearance of a conflict of interest or question their impartiality.
Fact: Multiple State Department officials testified the Bidens’ dealings in Ukraine created the appearance of a conflict of interest.
In House impeachment testimony, Obama-era State Department officials declared the juxtaposition of Joe Biden overseeing Ukraine policy, including the anti-corruption efforts, at the same his son Hunter worked for a Ukraine gas firm under corruption investigation created the appearance of a conflict of interest.
Fact: Hunter Biden acknowledged he may have gotten his Burisma job solely because of his last name.
Fact: Ukraine law enforcement reopened the Burisma investigation in early 2019, well before President Trump mentioned the matter to Ukraine’s new president Vlodymyr Zelensky.
This may be the single biggest under-reported fact in the impeachment scandal: four months before Trump and Zelensky had their infamous phone call, Ukraine law enforcement officials officially reopened their investigation into Burisma and its founder.
The effort began independent of Trump or his lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s legal work. In fact, it was NABU – the very agency Joe Biden and the Obama administration helped start – that recommended in February 2019 to reopen the probe.
NABU director Artem Sytnyk made this announcement that he was recommending a new notice of suspicion be opened to launch the case against Burisma and its founder because of new evidence uncovered by detectives.
Ukrainian officials said that new evidence included records suggesting a possible money laundering scheme dating to 2010 and continuing until 2015. (Read more: JohnSolomonReports, 1/21/2020) (Archive)