On the eve of the South Carolina primary that is viewed as crucial to the presidential candidacy of former Vice President Joe Biden, a new report has revealed that Ukraine is opening an investigation into his conduct in 2016, when he played a role in the dismissal of a Ukrainian prosecutor.
Government investigators have been ordered by a Ukrainian court to investigate the firing of Viktor Shokin as prosecutor general, according to The Washington Post.
Shokin’s dismissal is at the heart of claims by President Donald Trump that Biden, vice president at the time, acted inappropriately in calling for the ouster of Shokin, who was investigating a Ukrainian energy company called Burisma on whose board Biden’s son Hunter served.
Trump raised the issue during a July 25 phone call with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine.
The conversation between the two leaders in which Trump urged an investigation into corruption triggered an impeachment inquiry that eventually resulted in Trump being acquitted of two articles brought against him by House Democrats.
Biden has also faced scrutiny over his actions, with calls for investigations stalking his campaign and — with this announcement — likely to flare up as the Democratic presidential primaries move into the Super Tuesday contests next week.
Every day there is more and more evidence of #BurismaBiden corruption. The Senate should open an investigation into the Bidens’ deeply concerning activities with Burisma in Ukraine. https://t.co/fMnXjeP7Oe
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) February 20, 2020
SBI opens case on Biden’s pressure on Shokin – lawyer. If you subscribe to https://t.co/OGyi1Jsz8j you will see how strong a case it is. And you can see the witnesses, documents and evidence. https://t.co/3TOhZMCMeY
— Rudy W. Giuliani (@RudyGiuliani) February 28, 2020
Rudy Giuliani, now Trump’s personal attorney, has said that his investigations into the former vice president’s activities in Ukraine have revealed a pattern of wrongdoing.
No wonder there was only deterioration & growing corruption in Ukraine under Obama’s admin.
While Biden was POINT MAN, the Audit Chamber revealed in 2017 that $5.3 BILLION was unaccounted for, and the Obama US embassy made sure it was never investigated.
— Rudy W. Giuliani (@RudyGiuliani) February 21, 2020
Biden has never denied calling for Shokin’s ouster, and in fact bragged about it publicly in 2018, but has painted himself as part of an international coalition of partners, including the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, who wanted Shokin fired.
“I said, ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money,'” Biden quoted himself as saying to the Ukrainians.
Oleksandr Teleshetsky, Shokin’s lawyer, said the former prosecutor general had appealed for a review of his case. The Ukrainian court to which he appealed ordered that the investigation be undertaken. The Post reported that Ukraine’s State Bureau of Investigations confirmed a case had been opened.
Shokin has claimed his dismissal in 2016 was unfair.
“They need to investigate this. They have no other alternative. They are required to do this by the decision of the court. If they don’t, then they violate a whole string of procedural norms,” Teleshetsky said.
In October, current Ukrainian prosecutor general Ruslan Ryaboshapka said a review of past cases related to Burisma would be conducted.
“We are now reviewing all proceedings that were closed, fragmented or investigated earlier, in order to make a decision in cases where illegal procedural decisions were made and to review them,” Ryaboshapka said.
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