A former Ukraine prosecutor said during an interview with Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney, that he had been told to back off an investigation into the natural gas firm where Hunter Biden served on the board of directors.
Viktor Shokin told Giuliani in January 2019 that pressure from the United States, which had threatened to withhold military aid unless Shokin was fired, was responsible for his dismissal.
The State Department inspector general handed documents over to several House committees containing the interview, but the Biden campaign and Democrats immediately tried to discredit it.
“The substance of President Trump and Rudy Giuliani’s claims has been roundly discredited,” Biden Deputy Campaign Manager Kate Bedingfield said last week. “This is not a claim from the campaign or Joe Biden. This is an irrefutable fact.”
Meanwhile, the interview with Shokin contained some very interesting information:
“Mr. Shokin attempted to continue the investigations but on or around June or July of 2015, the U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey R. Pyatt told him that the investigation has to be handled with white gloves, which according to Mr. Shokin, that implied do nothing,” the notes from the interview stated. The notes also claimed Shokin was told Biden had held up U.S. aid to Ukraine over the investigation.
Indeed, Biden apparently bragged about getting Shokin fired at the time:
Biden, who has been seeking to unseat President Trump in 2020, once famously boasted on camera that when he was vice president and spearheading the Obama administration’s Ukraine policy, he successfully pressured Ukraine to fire Shokin who was the top prosecutor at the time. He had been investigating the founder of Burisma Holdings, where Hunter Biden had a lucrative role on the board.
Allies of the Democrat, though, maintained that his intervention prompting the firing of Shokin had nothing to do with his son, but rather was tied to the corruption concerns. The Biden campaign has also slammed Giuliani and blasted media outlets for giving him air time. The campaign wrote to NBC News, CBS News, Fox News and CNN to voice “grave concern that you continue to book Rudy Giuliani on your air to spread false, debunked conspiracy theories on behalf of Donald Trump.”
Of course his actions in getting Shokin fired had nothing to do with his son. Why would he care if his son went to jail?
The behavior of the State Department IG in this matter has been curious, indeed. Inspector General Steve Linick briefed several congressional committees in a super-secret, soundproof room in the Capitol building. But he received the interview last May and since it didn’t involve State Department personnel, he turned it over to the FBI:
Linick told aides in the meeting that he received the package of information in the spring but did not know the sender. Linick sent it to the FBI because it included allegations of improper activities in Ukraine that were outside of his jurisdiction, according to sources familiar with the meeting. Last week, though, Linick was given permission by the FBI to share the files with Congress and said they were relevant to the congressional interviews being conducted, according to sources.
Except they’re only “relevant” if Congress wants to listen. Democrats want this story to go away. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) and Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) released a statement claiming the documents were “propaganda”:
“The documents provided by the inspector general included a package of disinformation, debunked conspiracy theories, and baseless allegations in an envelope marked ‘White House’ and containing folders labeled ‘Trump Hotel.’ These documents also reinforce concern that the president and his allies sought to use the machinery of the State Department to further the president’s personal political interests.”
Shokin also stated that the U.S. military aid to Ukraine was being held up, specifically by Vice President Joe Biden, because of the Burisma investigation.
“There were requests for information on Hunter Biden to which nothing was received,” Shokin said, according to the notes. “It is believed that Hunter Biden receives a salary, commission plus one million dollars. There were no documents or information on Hunter Biden, and Mr. Shokin stated he was warned to stop by Ambassador Geoffrey R. Pyatt.”
The notes add that “President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko told Mr. Shokin not to investigate Burisma as it was not in the interest of Joe and/or Hunter Biden. Mr. Shokin was called into Mr. Poroshenko’s office and told that the investigation into Burisma and the Managing Director where Hunter Biden is on the board, has caused Joe Biden to hold up one billion dollars in U.S. aid to Ukraine.”
Shokin then told Giuliani, according to the notes, that “in or around April of 2016” Poroshenko “told him he had to be fired as the aid to the Ukraine was being withheld by Joe Biden.”
Everyone involved in this story has a personal agenda or ax to grind. I find it interesting, however, that Shokin was pushing a narrative that accuses Joe Biden of threats of withheld military aid and a quid pro quo — exactly the impeachable offense that Democrats are accusing Donald Trump of.
But the Shokin information was given to Giuliani months before the whistleblower’s accusations came to light. So even before Trump was trying to defend himself, Shokin volunteered information that seems to confirm Trump’s interest in trying to find high-level corruption in the U.S.
Of course, it didn’t hurt that the information would have damaged Biden’s campaign too.
Most major media is echoing Democrats’ charges of “propaganda” about the information. How very incurious our media is. You expect the Democrats to try and downplay the revelations but the media seem strangely oblivious to the implications contained in the story.
I wonder why that is?