Democrats have shown great concern about even the possibility that there are connections between foreign powers and those in seats of power within our federal government. That “concern” has been demonstrated by Democrats going so far as to conduct a thus-far endless stream of investigations, probes, and inquiries that have hung like a shadow over every day of Donald Trump’s presidency. But that concern is pretend, rather than genuine. In this case, the estrangement between “Democrats” and “genuine” is illustrated by the simple fact that their alleged concern does not extend to one of their own, despite his clear connections to a foreign power.
In fact, rather than investigate the apparent shady dealings with Ukraine of former vice president and current presidential hopeful Joe Biden and his son Hunter, Democrats used the scandal to (once again) attempt to turn the tables and dump the whole thing squarely in the lap of President Trump. Blaming Trump for his appropriate response to Biden’s inappropriate actions, Democrats claim that the president’s actions are grounds for impeachment.
As we will demonstrate, all available evidence shows it was not the president’s response that crossed ethical and possibly legal lines. Instead it was actions of both Joe and Hunter Biden that crossed those lines.
Once again, all of this seems more than a bit familiar. Like the Russia collusion narrative that Democrats created out of thin air to take the public eye off Hillary Clinton’s illegal e-mail system and evidence of her accepting bribes by foreign powers, the Ukraine corruption angle is just another example of Democrats manufacturing supposedly illegal behavior.
While there certainly was collusion between Russia and someone in a seat of power within our federal government, it simply wasn’t Donald Trump or anyone associated with his candidacy — unless that association is expanded to include his opponent and former secretary of state, Hillary Clinton.
Considering the rank corruption and quid pro quo of the pay-for-play policies of Hillary Clinton’s State Department during her tenure as secretary of state, “collusion” is definitely an appropriate word to describe the UraniumOne scandal. In that underhanded scheme, a Russian state-owned company acquired between 20 and 25 percent of U.S. uranium reserves while the coffers of the Clinton Foundation were stuffed with $145 million in “donations” (read: bribes) from those involved on the Russian side of the deal.
Four years later, as it became apparent that Donald Trump could give Clinton a run for her money in the 2016 election, Democrats accused him of colluding with Russia, despite lacking any evidence to back up their claims.
This is the same gambit all over again. No investigation of those who were actually involved in wrongdoing, but an all-in approach to investigating Trump.
The Biden/Ukraine Connection
In 2014, while his father was Obama’s vice president, Hunter Biden landed an undeservedly lucrative job with Ukrainian company Burisma Holdings.
Mykola Zlochevsky, a former minister of ecology and natural resources for Ukraine, owned the company that in turn owns Burisma Holdings. Zlochevsky began to be investigated for using his position as minister of ecology and natural resources to illegally issue oil and gas licenses to companies that he owned, including Burisma Holdings, from 2010 to 2012. After the 2014 Ukrainian revolution, Zlochevsky fled the country ahead of charges of corruption and money laundering. He is reported to be living in Monaco and still owns Burisma Holdings.
The charges against Zlochevsky appear well-founded: In April 2018, the Kyiv Post reported on the release of a recording from January 2016, implicating then-Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Zlochevsky in graft related to those oil and gas licenses.
Hunter Biden served on the board of Burisma Holdings from 2014 until his term expired in April 2019. As the New York Times reported, Hunter Biden was paid “as much as $50,000 per month in some months” as a board member of Burisma Holdings. In another report — this one from Breitbart — Peter Schweizer, president of the Government Accountability Institute and senior editor-at-large at Breitbart, revealed that “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.” In fact, those bank records show that over a 14-month period, Burisma Holdings paid $3.1 million into an account for Hunter Biden.
That is a lot of money for someone to be paid for merely sitting on the board of an oil and gas company. Given that Hunter Biden’s professional expertise is in lobbying and investments, with a focus on helping foreign powers make inroads in the United States, his lucrative board position with Burisma Holdings is suspicious. As Schweizer put it, “The bottom line is Joe Biden was the Obama administration’s point-person on policy towards Ukraine. He steered $1.8 billion in aid to that government and while he was doing so, his son got a sweetheart deal with this energy company” in Ukraine.
“Suffice to say, Hunter Biden has no background in Ukraine,” stated Schweizer. “He has no background in energy policy. There’s really no legitimate explanation as to why he got this deal with this energy company, other than the fact his father was responsible for doling out money in Ukraine itself.”
It appears Hunter Biden was employed based solely on the basis of his father’s position as vice president and handler of Ukraine foreign relations. And it appears that plan paid off well for his employers when they were under investigation.
In 2016, while Burisma Holdings was being investigated by Ukraine, Joe Biden — in a clear case of abusing his official capacity as vice president of the United States — pressured Ukraine to fire the chief prosecutor who was investigating Burisma Holdings and Zlochevsky. Biden was successful: The Ukrainian prosecutor general, Viktor Shokin, was removed from his position and the investigation went stagnant. The prosecutor was fired because Biden used economic blackmail to force the issue, threatening to withhold U.S. funds if he didn’t get his way.
Biden even boasted of his success in getting Shokin fired. In a video widely available on YouTube, Biden can be seen telling his cohorts in the Council on Foreign Relations that he told Ukrainian officials point-blank that the price of not firing Shokin would be the loss of $1 billion in loan guarantees. “I said, ‘I’m telling you, you’re not getting the billion dollars.’ I said, ‘You’re not getting the billion. I’m going to be leaving here in,’ — I think it was about six hours.” Biden then says the Ukrainians insisted that he lacked the authority to renege on a deal made by then-President Obama. Biden says he responded, “Call him” — implying that President Obama would back his decision to withhold the money unless Shokin were fired.
In the video, Biden goes on to brag, “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 b***h. He got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid, at the time.” As we will show later, that new prosecutor has since lost his “solid” card for failing to do the bidding of Democrats in the Trump witch hunt.
Joe Biden, of course, claimed that he was doing his job and looking out for the interests of the United States and that his actions had nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that Hunter Biden was soon to be questioned as part of the Burisma Holdings scandal.
The facts are in conflict with Biden’s claim that Shokin’s firing was due to international pressure stemming from Shokin’s refusal to pursue corruption among Ukraine’s politicians. In fact, the truth is that Shokin was considered to be a stand-up prosecutor who went after crime with a diligence that is rare. Of course, Biden’s claim is also contradicted by the fact that when he forced Shokin’s firing, Shokin was in the very middle of doing exactly what Biden claims he was fired for not doing: investigating corruption involving government officials. The Hill’s John Solomon reported, “Shokin told me in written answers to questions that, before he was fired as general prosecutor, he had made ‘specific plans’ for the investigation that ‘included interrogations and other crime-investigation procedures into all members of the executive board, including Hunter Biden.’”
Biden’s Lie Comes Unraveled
Biden’s tale is continuing to unravel. Just days before this writing, a source told Sean Davis of the online magazine The Federalist that George Kent, deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, offered testimony to Congress that “directly contradicts claims that the Obama administration was merely following the lead of the so-called international community in demanding the firing” of Shokin.
And The Hill reported in late September that “hundreds of pages of never-released memos and documents — many from inside the American team helping Burisma to stave off its legal troubles — conflict with Biden’s narrative.” Furthermore, those now-disclosed documents “raise the troubling prospect that U.S. officials may have painted a false picture in Ukraine that helped ease Burisma’s legal troubles and stop prosecutors’ plans to interview Hun-ter Biden during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.”
The Hill further reported that the documents show that
Burisma’s American legal representatives met with Ukrainian officials just days after Biden forced the firing of the country’s chief prosecutor and offered “an apology for dissemination of false information by U.S. representatives and public figures” about the Ukrainian prosecutors, according to the Ukrainian government’s official memo of the meeting. The effort to secure that meeting began the same day the prosecutor’s firing was announced.
In short, Joe Biden and others in the Obama administration spread false information about a prosecutor who was about to question Biden’s son — leading to his firing. The information they spread was so patently false that even the American legal team representing the company that prosecutor was investigating felt the need to apologize for it. The Hill also reported that Ukrainian prosecutors say they have tried to get this information to the U.S. Department of Justice since the summer of 2018, believing it might be evidence of possible violations of U.S. ethics laws. After meeting one roadblock after another by the department, the Ukrainians reached out to President Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, bringing the information to President Trump’s attention.
So Obama’s vice president used his position to strong-arm a foreign power by threatening to withhold loan guarantees unless it fired the prosecutor who was investigating the illegal activities of a company that employed that vice president’s son. This happened right at a time when that prosecutor’s team wanted to interview the vice president’s son. Then, that vice president openly bragged about it on camera to his globalist buddies, despite the fact that Burisma’s American legal representatives had met already with Ukrainian officials to apologize for “dissemination of false information by U.S. representatives and public figures” (which included Vice President Biden) about that prosecutor. And Trump is the one being accused of wrongdoing for making a phone call and allegedly pressuring Ukraine to investigate this?
The Infamous Phone Call
Against the backdrop of Biden’s Ukraine meddling — and likely prodded by the Russia collusion witch hunt — President Trump made the phone call that Democrats are now using as the cause du jour in their impeachment hearings. After all, since the Russia collusion narrative fell apart under its own bloated weight, they have to find something they can try to pin on him.
In July, President Trump called Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky to congratulate him on his party’s victory in the Ukrainian parliament. In that conversation President Trump asked Zelensky to launch an investigation into allegations of Russian hacking of the DNC’s servers during the 2016 election cycle. In the summer of 2016, a trove of embarrassing and damning DNC and Clinton campaign e-mails were leaked and were then published by WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks claimed that the e-mails were given to them by someone inside the DNC who had legitimate access to them. The DNC claimed the servers were hacked by Russian operatives.
The official investigation was handled largely by a company called Crowdstrike, which concluded that two groups affiliated with the Russian government were responsible for the attack. President Trump has repeatedly voiced his suspicions that the DNC withheld one server that may have had information about who was actually responsible for the leaked e-mails. President Trump also asked Zelensky to speak to some people here in the United States about the investigation into Burisma Holdings and the firing of Shokin.
Here is the relevant portion of that phone call, from the official transcript:
Trump: I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike... I guess you have one of your wealthy people... The server, they say Ukraine has it. There are a lot of things that went on, the whole situation. I think you’re surrounding yourself with some of the same people. I would like to have the attorney general call you or your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of it. As you saw yesterday [a reference to the end of the Mueller probe], that whole nonsense ended with a very poor performance by a man named Robert Mueller, an incompetent performance, but they say a lot of it started with Ukraine. Whatever you can do, it’s very important that you do it if that’s possible.
Zelenskyy [this is the way his name is spelled in the transcript]: Yes it is. Very important for me and everything that you just mentioned earlier. For me as a president, it is very important, and we are open for any future cooperation. We are ready to open a new page on cooperation in relations between the United States and Ukraine. For that purpose, I just recalled our ambassador from United States and he will be replaced by a very competent and very experienced ambassador who will work hard on making sure that our two nations are getting closer. I would also like and hope to see him having your trust and your confidence and have personal relations with you so we can cooperate even more so. I will personally tell you that one of my assistants spoke with Mr. Giuliani just recently and we are hoping very much that Mr. Giuliani will be able to travel to Ukraine and we will meet once he comes to Ukraine. I just wanted to assure you once again that you have nobody but friends around us. I will make sure that I surround myself with the best and most experienced people. I also wanted to tell you that we are friends. We are great friends and you, Mr. President, have friends in our country so we can continue our strategic partnership. I also plan to surround myself with great people and in addition to that investigation, I guarantee as the president of Ukraine that all the investigations will be done openly and candidly. That I can assure you.
Trump: Good because I heard you had a prosecutor who was very good and he was shut down and that’s really unfair. A lot of people are talking about that, the way they shut your very good prosecutor down and you had some very bad people involved. Mr. Giuliani is a highly respected man. He was the mayor of New York City, a great mayor, and I would like him to call you. I will ask him to call you along with the attorney general. Rudy very much knows what’s happening, and he is a very capable guy. If you could speak to him that would be great. The former ambassador from the United States, the woman, was bad news and the people she was dealing with in the Ukraine were bad news so I just want to let you know that. The other thing, there’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the attorney general would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it... It sounds horrible to me.
Zelenskyy: I wanted to tell you about the prosecutor. First of all I understand and I’m knowledgeable about the situation. Since we have won the absolute majority in our Parliament; the next prosecutor general will be 100 percent my person, my candidate, who will be approved by the parliament and will start as a new prosecutor in September. He or she will look into the situation, specifically to the company that you mentioned in this issue. The issue of the investigation of the case is actually the issue of making sure to restore the honesty so we will take care of that and will work on the investigation of the case. On top of that, I would kindly ask you if you have any additional information that you can provide to us, it would be very helpful for the investigation to make sure that we administer justice in our country with regard to the ambassador to the United States from Ukraine as far as I recall her name was Ivanovich. It was great that you were the first one who told me that she was a bad ambassador because I agree with you 100 percent. Her attitude towards me was far from the best as she admired the previous president and she was on his side. She would not accept me as a new president well enough.
Trump: Well, she’s going to go through some things. I will have Mr. Giuliani give you a call and I am also going to have Attorney General Barr call, and we will get to the bottom of it. I’m sure you will figure it out. I heard the prosecutor was treated very badly and he was a very fair prosecutor so good luck with everything. Your economy is going to get better and better, I predict. You have a lot of assets. It’s a great country. I have many Ukrainian friends, they’re incredible people.
Feel free to read over that again. Did you find the “smoking gun”? Neither did anyone else. Because it’s not there. Like the Russia collusion narrative, the only people who believe there is anything here are those who decided ahead of time to project their dark wishes into this.
Cause for Impeachment?
For instance, Nancy Pelosi — before even seeing the transcript — called it grounds for impeachment. Adam Schiff — who has a propensity to shoot off his mouth without first loading it with anything resembling facts — said Trump’s call “may very well have crossed the Rubicon” and claimed that “reports that Trump in the July 25 call asked President Volodymyr Zelensky to reopen an investigation into a company tied to Joe Biden’s son could lead to congressional action,” according to a report by Newsmax. Other Democrats and their accomplices in the liberal mainstream media described it as a “crime” and an example of quid pro quo.
When a “whistleblower” claimed in late September that the president attempted “to press Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden’s son ahead of the 2020 presidential election,” according to the Washington Times, Democrats went apoplectic. The White House was accused of a coverup, the director of national intelligence (DNI) was accused of a crime for “preventing” that “whistleblower” from presenting his “complaint” to Congress, and President Donald Trump was accused of impeachable crimes.
Of course, none of those claims had a shred of merit. The “whistleblower” was nothing of the sort. As the transcript shows, the account of that phone call offered by the whistleblower bears little resemblance to the actual phone call. The DNI did not prevent anyone from doing anything. He simply followed his job description and the law, and did not — could not — “bring the information to Congress because the White House cited executive privilege over the phone call,” according to a report by the Washington Times. And there was no White House “coverup,” since even though Trump cited executive privilege (which is within his power), he never “instructed” DNI Joseph Maguire “to withhold the information,” according to a report by the Washington Times.
Then, at the height of the Democrats’ frenzy, President Trump released the transcript, and the proverbial excrement hit the rotating blades. Because, as seen above, there simply is no quid pro quo to be found anywhere in the conversation. There is nothing more than a head of state asking another head of state to investigate crimes that affect both of their countries.
Compared to Biden’s actions, President Trump’s call to Zelensky stands out in sharp contrast. Biden’s manipulation of Ukraine’s internal policies certainly smacks of quid pro quo. After all, Biden — by his own boastful admission — held a $1 billion payout against Ukraine and forced his will over Ukraine’s legitimate interests to protect his son’s employer from being investigated. Donald Trump acted with diplomacy for the better interests of both countries. He demanded nothing. He threatened nothing. He promised nothing.
Alright for Us, Impeachable Crime for You
And — just to put in the for-what-it’s-worth column — Democrats have done exactly what they claim Trump has done and for which they are seeking impeachment. The difference is that they actually did it and there is no evidence that he did.
In the 2016 election cycle, the Clinton campaign and DNC hired Christopher Steele to gather “intelligence” from foreign sources as part of an opposition research initiative. For the sake of this article, this writer will set aside the fact that the Steele “dossier” turned out to be a fabrication with no basis in fact. The point is that Clinton and her cronies used information ostensibly gathered from Russian intelligence agents to drum up the Trump/Russia collusion narrative.
And — closer to this article’s subject matter — in May 2018, three Democrat senators — Bob Menendez (N.J.), Dick Durbin (Ill.) and Patrick Leahy (Vt.) — sent a letter to Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko (Biden’s “solid, at the time” prosecutor) pressing his office to cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the bogus allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. That letter sounds eerily like Biden’s statement that got Lutsenko’s predecessor fired. The letter begins by reminding Lutsenko of all the United States has done for Ukraine in the form of foreign aid and then implies that for that aid to continue, it would be a good idea for Ukraine to assist in the Mueller investigation. Citing an article in the New York Times that Lutsenko’s office “effectively froze investigations into four open cases in Ukraine” that Democrats believed would help their case against Trump, the letter states, “If these reports are true, we strongly encourage you to reverse course and halt any efforts to impede cooperation with this important investigation.”
The Steele “dossier,” this letter, and Biden’s bragging on camera about getting Shokin fired show that Democrats use foreign powers for their own political purposes and are not above using threats connected to American foreign aid to force their will. The official transcript of the call between Trump and Zelensky shows that — at least in this case — Trump did not do any of that. And despite investigations spanning his entire presidency, nothing else shows that he has. Period.
If You Can’t Beat Him, Impeach Him
One might expect that the release of the transcript of Trump’s call would have silenced the droning demands for Trump’s impeachment over the call to Zelensky, but that would be expecting reasonableness from people who have shown that they have not even a passing acquaintance with reason.
Instead, Democrats have doubled down in a full-court press for impeachment. And little wonder — a report by Moody Analytics, a national research firm, shows that Trump is headed for another landslide victory in 2020. The report states: “The 2020 election looks like Trump’s to lose,” owing largely to the improved economy under his policies. The report goes on to say, “If voters were to vote primarily on the basis of their pocketbooks, the president would steamroll the competition.” Democrats seem to be caught between a rock and a hard place. The previously unattractive prospect of spending what little political capital they have left to attempt an impeachment against President Trump has now become their best bet. In essence, the new Democrat mantra appears to be, “If you can’t beat him, impeach him.”
Except that the Democrats’ impeachment gambit is very likely to backfire on them. First of all, they don’t have a case. The Constitution lays out very specific criteria for impeachment — and nothing the Democrats have cooked up against Trump even comes close to reaching that standard. Second, even if the Democrat-majority House votes for impeachment, driven by its hatred of the president and party politics, it is highly unlikely the Republican-majority Senate would vote to convict. Trump would still be president and would benefit from a backlash against the Democrats’ abuse of the impeachment power. The entire ugly episode will likely end up being an exercise in futility and an illustration of the desperation of a party that knows it is beat and simply won’t admit it.
Part of that refusal to face the facts and admit the truth arises from the assist Democrats are receiving from their partners in crime in the liberal mainstream media. The media’s constant din of impeachment reporting — mostly depicting impeachment as a foregone conclusion — is both deafening and mind-numbing. As part of that, that same liberal media has been almost universal in downplaying Hunter Biden’s connections to a corrupt former Ukrainian politician and his father’s improper and likely illegal intervention.
One notable exception to that rule has been Joan Vennochi, who writes a column for the Boston Globe. Even as her comrades in politics and media continue to pretend that President Trump’s appropriate response to the Bidens’ inappropriate actions should be grounds for impeachment, Vennochi — who has never attempted to hide her disdain for Trump — wrote, “What exactly was Biden’s son Hunter doing in that foreign country and why was he hired to do it? These are fair questions, which the media would never stop asking if the son under scrutiny happened to be Donald Trump, Jr.”
This article originally appeared in the November 18, 2019 print edition of The New American. The New American publishes a print magazine twice a month, covering issues such as politics, money, foreign policy, environment, culture, and technology. To subscribe, click here.