Simply put: Joe Biden has problems. Like, a lot of them. And some of them don’t even involve women who are creeped out by Biden’s handsiness. In fact, some of them aren’t even in America at all.
I’m not sure if you’re familiar with John Solomon, but you should be. The investigative reporter has forgotten about more political corruption investigations than most other journalists have taken part in.
He’s also been one of the most consistently reliable reporters on the Russia “collusion” story and the attendant corruption and swampiness surrounding that debacle. So, of course, most of the mainstream media didn’t really pay it much mind.
His attention, most recently, has been on Joe Biden and some thorny issues in Ukraine — issues that could yet again throw some shade on Biden’s probable 2020 run for the presidency.
Biden, you may perhaps remember, was given the role as the Obama administration’s point man on Ukraine after the 2014 revolution that ousted the pro-Moscow president at the time, one Viktor Yanukovych.
The then-vice president certainly made some waves in the former Soviet republic. In a 2018 speech before the Council on Foreign Relations, he used some inadvisable bluster to discuss how he threatened Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko with the possibility of quashing $1 billion in loan guarantees from the United States if the country’s Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin wasn’t canned.
“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 recalled of the March 2016 meeting, according to a Solomon piece published Monday by The Hill.
“Well, son of a bitch, he got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time,” Biden said.
Shokin was indeed an unpopular man with both the United States and the Ukrainians for not bringing enough anti-corruption cases, sources told Solomon.
However, Solomon reported, they said Biden’s narrative misrepresents two important facts.
First, according to Solomon, the pressure was applied from late 2015 up to Shokin’s firing, indicating that this was a significant priority for Biden. Second, while Shokin’s unpopularity may have stemmed from the fact that he wasn’t investigating enough corruption, the vice president neglected to mention one anti-corruption probe Shokin actually was undertaking at the time of his firing: A probe of natural gas corporation Burisma Holdings, a company that sported Hunter Biden — the then-veep’s son — as a board member.
“U.S. banking records show Hunter Biden’s American-based firm, Rosemont Seneca Partners LLC, received regular transfers into one of its accounts — usually more than $166,000 a month — from Burisma from spring 2014 through fall 2015, during a period when Vice President Biden was the main U.S. official dealing with Ukraine and its tense relations with Russia,” Solomon noted in the Monday report.
“The general prosecutor’s official file for the Burisma probe — shared with me by senior Ukrainian officials — shows prosecutors identified Hunter Biden, business partner Devon Archer and their firm, Rosemont Seneca, as potential recipients of money.”
The new prosecutor general noted that board members can legally pay themselves for work done under Ukrainian law, but only if that work is beneficial to the company. Prosecutors never determined whether that was the case in the Bursima-Rosemont Seneca arrangement because, well, the prosecutor who was looking into it was fired.
Ukraine officials said Biden was undoubtedly aware of Shokin’s investigation because, as Solomon notes (among other things) “The U.S. embassy in Kiev that coordinated Biden’s work in the country repeatedly and publicly discussed the general prosecutor’s case against Burisma” and that “Biden’s office was quoted, on the record, acknowledging Hunter Biden’s role in Burisma in a New York Times article about the general prosecutor’s Burisma case that appeared four months before Biden forced the firing of Shokin. The vice president’s office suggested in that article that Hunter Biden was a lawyer free to pursue his own private business deals.”
As for the probe being conducted by Shokin, he told Solomon that before his firing, he had “specific plans” that “included interrogations and other crime-investigation procedures into all members of the executive board, including Hunter Biden.”
“I would like to emphasize the fact that presumption of innocence is a principle in Ukraine,” he told Solomon, declining to elaborate on what evidence he had.
“Most of the general prosecutor’s investigative work on Burisma focused on three separate cases and most stopped abruptly once Shokin was fired. The most prominent of the Burisma cases was transferred to a different Ukrainian agency, closely aligned with the U.S. embassy in Kiev, known as the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU), according to the case file and current General Prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko,” Solomon wrote.
“NABU closed that case, and a second case involving alleged improper money transfers in London was dropped when Ukrainian officials failed to file the necessary documents by the required deadline. The general prosecutor’s office successfully secured a multimillion-dollar judgment in a tax evasion case, Lutsenko said. He did not say who was the actual defendant in that case.”
Unfortunately for Biden, Lutsenko — that “solid” prosecutor that Biden took credit for installing — has reopened the case just in time for the 2020 election, Solomon reported.
As he was reviewing the files of the case, the prosecutor general told Solomon, he discovered documents that say “members of the Board obtained funds as well as another U.S.-based legal entity, Rosemont Seneca Partners LLC, for consulting services.”
And part of his investigation includes Biden’s interference in the matter, as well, Solomon reported.
“Unfortunately, Mr. Biden had correlated and connected this aid with some of the HR (personnel) issues and changes in the prosecutor’s office,” Lutsenko told Solomon.
However, Solomon reported, the lead anti-corruption prosecutor under Lutsenko said that “(w)e don’t see any result from this case one year after the reopening because of some external influence,” declining to offer specifics.
So first off, is it “collusion” with a foreign government if you get a prosecutor who is investigating your son fired using American loan guarantees as a carrot and (mostly) stick? Asking for a friend.
That’s the great irony here. When it comes to that amorphous word “collusion” and how it relates to that troublesome area of the world, we can certainly prove plenty of it happened on the other side of the aisle.
Yes, I understand that the government in Ukraine isn’t an enemy of the United States the way that Putin’s Kremlin is, obviously. But if we want to talk about that, what about “colluding” with sketchy Russian intelligence officials to assemble a noisome dossier whose claims have turned out to be mere bunkum, all with money from the Democratic National Committee and the campaign of the 2016 Democrat nominee’s campaign?
Beyond that, it’s probably time to stop referring to Joe Biden as the unqualified favorite for the Democrat nomination. No major polls have been taken, after all, since Lucy Flores, a former Nevada Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, published a New York magazine piece last week charging the former vice president with inappropriate behavior which, depending on your interpretation of it, may or may not have been sexual but was decidedly creepy.
And then there was the slow-motion disaster that was the idea of Biden’s offering the vice presidential spot to failed Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, a clear sop to liberal voters not entirely convinced an old white man with a spotty record on intersectional issues is the proper choice for the party going forward.
The media might ignore the Ukraine investigation at first. After all, CNN and MSNBC devoted zero minutes of coverage to Flores’ charge on the day it was levied, and Solomon’s report is likely to meet the same fate for now.
However, it’s not something his adversaries in the Democrat field are going to ignore, which means even the liberal media will have to address it at some point.
And it’s yet another sign that the nomination process is going to be anything but smooth sailing for the former vice president.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.