Documents cast Biden’s Ukraine trip in whole new light; For questioning this, Trump was impeached?

by WorldTribune Staff, August 22, 2023

Newly uncovered documents undercut the narrative Democrats used at President Donald Trump’s first impeachment trial that Joe Biden’s action in withholding a $1 billion U.S. loan guarantees to Ukraine had nothing to do with his son Hunter’s role at Burisma and that officials in the West and inside the U.S. government wanted the prosecutor investigating Burisma fired because he was deemed corrupt.

Vice President Joe Biden meets with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Dec. 7, 2015 in Kyiv.

“The real issue to my mind was that someone in Washington needed to engage VP Biden quietly and say that his son Hunter’s presence on the Burisma board undercut the anti-corruption message the VP and we were advancing in Ukraine b/c Ukrainians heard one message from us and then saw another set of behavior with the family association with a known corrupt figure whose company was known for not playing by the rules,” embassy official George Kent wrote to then-U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch in a Nov. 22, 2016, email marked “confidential” that was obtained by Just the News.

At the time, Ukraine Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin was investigating Burisma for corruption. The energy company was paying Hunter Biden and Devon Archer $83,333 a month as board members.

Biden recounted his 2015 trip to Ukraine in a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations: “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.’ Well, son of a bitch, he got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time.”

The disclosure prompted Trump to ask Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Zelensky, to investigate in a letter that Democrats used as the primary source to eventually impeach Trump in late 2019.

Just weeks before then-Vice President Biden in 2015 had called for the loan guarantee to be withheld if Shokin was not fired, a task force of U.S. State, Treasury and Department of Justice officials determined that Ukraine had made adequate progress on anti-corruption reforms and deserved the $1 billion, according to government memos viewed by Just the News.

“Ukraine has made sufficient progress on its reform agenda to justify a third guarantee,” reads an Oct. 1, 2015 memo summarizing the recommendation of the Interagency Policy Committee (IPC) – a task force created to advise the Obama White House on whether Ukraine was cleaning up its rampant corruption and deserved more Western foreign aid.

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The memos obtained by Just the News show:

• Senior State Department officials sent a conflicting message to Shokin before he was fired, inviting his staff to Washington for a January 2016 strategy session and sent him a personal note saying they were “impressed” with his office’s work.

• U.S. officials faced pressure from Burisma emissaries in the United States to make the corruption allegations go away and feared the energy firm had made two bribery payments in Ukraine as part of an effort to get cases settled.

• A top U.S. official in Kyiv blamed Hunter Biden for undercutting U.S. anticorruption policy in Ukraine through his dealings with Burisma.

State Department officials had testified at Trump’s first impeachment trial that Hunter Biden’s acceptance of a job at Burisma at a time when his father was vice president created the appearance of a conflict of interest but did not materially impact U.S. policy in Ukraine.

But the Kent memo to Yovanovitch sent near the end of the Obama administration showed that Hunter Biden had, in fact, impacted the U.S. anti-corruption agenda in Ukraine.

Lawyers who worked on Trump’s impeachment defense as well as some of the GOP House impeachment members told Just the News they did not recall ever seeing the documents uncovered by Just the News and said they would have made a significant difference to the impeachment case.

“This new evidence being uncovered and reported by Just The News is incredibly significant,” said former New York Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin. “It directly undercuts multiple false narratives that were being pushed by Congressional Democrats, some of their key impeachment witnesses, and Democrat allies in the media.”

Jay Sekulow, a lawyer who helped lead Trump’s legal team during the impeachment, said he did not believe the defense had access to such memos.

“The fact of the matter is none of these documents were handed over to us,” he said. “Our legal team never received documents from the House impeachment. So of course, they’re not obligated to in the sense of like in a courtroom. But when you have exculpatory documents, you would think that under just a good faith standards of the House of Representatives would have said, ‘You know, here’s what we’ve got.'”

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