On Monday, former Florida attorney general and Trump defense lawyer Pam Bondi laid out the case that President Donald Trump was right to be concerned that Hunter Biden and his father engaged in corruption with the Ukrainian gas firm Burisma. Burisma hired Hunter Biden to its board as Joe Biden was the Obama point man on Ukraine, paying him handsomely. Later, Joe Biden pressured Ukraine’s president to fire a prosecutor who was investigating Burisma at the time. The Democrat House impeachment managers referenced Hunter Biden and Burisma hundreds of times but insisted there was no scandal.
“When the House managers gave you their presentation when they submitted their brief, they repeatedly referenced Hunter Biden and Burisma. They spoke to you for over 21 hours and they referenced Biden or Burisma over 400 times,” Bondi explained. “And when they gave these presentations, they said there was nothing, nothing to see, it was a sham.”
“This is fiction,” the former Florida AG declared. “In their trial memorandum, the House managers describe this as ‘baseless.’ Why did they invoke Biden or Burisma over 400 times? The reason they needed to do that is because they’re here saying that the president must be impeached and removed from office for raising a concern.”
— CBS News (@CBSNews) January 27, 2020
Indeed, the Democrats’ impeachment case rests on the claim that Trump abused his power by asking Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Hunter Biden and Burisma in order to gain a political advantage in the 2020 election against former Vice President Joe Biden. Democrats insist the president engaged in a corrupt quid pro quo, withholding military aid and a White House meeting until Zelensky agreed to investigate Biden.
Central to this argument is the idea that there is nothing to see in the Burisma caper. Indeed, in his infamous fake quotes “parody” of the July 25 phone call between Trump and Zelensky, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) characterized Trump’s request as pressuring Zelensky to “make up dirt” on Trump’s “political opponent.”
Yet Bondi went on to explain that Trump was far from alone in being concerned about the Bidens’ conflict of interest. She quoted exhaustively from impeachment witnesses and news outlets, noting that Hunter Biden’s hiring at the firm “raised eyebrows the world over.”
The timeline of Hunter Biden’s hiring at Burisma seems particularly damning. Bondi noted that Joe Biden began leading Ukraine policy in early 2014, around March. His son took the lucrative job in April 2014. Hunter Biden, Chris Heinz, and Devon Archer had all started a firm together.
“Public records show that April 16, 2014, Devon Archer meets with Vice President Biden at the White House. Just two days later, on April 18, 2014, is when Hunter Biden quietly joins Burisma, according to public reporting,” Bondi noted. “Remember, this is just one month after the United Kingdom’s Serious Fraud Office opened a money-laundering case into Burisma, Hunter Biden joins the board.”
“And not only 10 days after Hunter Biden joins the board, British authorities seize $23 million in British bank accounts connected to the oligarch Zlochevsky, the owner of Burisma. Did Hunter Biden leave the board then? No,” the former Florida AG continued. “Then, only then, did the company choose to announce that Hunter Biden had joined the board. After the assets of Burisma and its oligarch owner Zlochevsky, were frozen and a criminal investigation had begun.”
She quoted from the German broadcaster Deutsche-Welle that the hiring “has raised eyebrows the world over,” and noted BuzzFeed’s reporting that the Burisma appointment “created a conflict of interest for Joe Biden.”
WATCH: Trump legal team member Pam Bondi lays out Hunter Biden’s “nefarious” dealings with #Burisma (as WaPo wrote at the time), validating @realDonaldTrump’s request to investigate corruption. pic.twitter.com/JjmvkSpvaI
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) January 27, 2020
Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testified — during the impeachment inquiry — that the Obama State Department was so concerned about Hunter Biden’s hiring at Burisma that they raised the issue while prepping Yovanovitch for confirmation.
Other impeachment witnesses also testified that it seemed Hunter Biden lacked the credentials for the Burisma job and that the hiring created an “appearance of conflict of interest” at the very best.
Vindman & Williams agree that Hunter Biden & Burisma have "appearance of conflict of interest” pic.twitter.com/nc1bnULQw3
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) January 27, 2020
Bondi went on to play the clip of Joe Biden bragging about his quid pro quo pressuring then-Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko to fire Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin in 2016. While Joe Biden has claimed that his desire to see Shokin fired had to do with the prosecutor’s weak stance in fighting corruption, the Ukrainian investigation into Burisma was dropped after Shokin’s ouster.
THREAD: Pam Bondi just completely exposed the Biden connection to corrupt Ukrainian Gas Company Burisma. pic.twitter.com/dh9kIN1WvW
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) January 27, 2020
Central to Democrats’ claim that Trump abused his power is the idea that the Hunter Biden-Burisma caper does not stink to high heaven — that there’s nothing to see here. Pam Bondi’s testimony ripped that idea to shreds.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.