Shokin: “Therefore, I was forced to leave office, under direct and intense pressure from Joe Biden and the US administration.”
John Solomon, the executive VP at The Hill, downloaded explosive documents on Thursday that contradict Vide President Joe Biden’s story on Ukraine.
Biden insists he pressured then-Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to fire top prosecutor Viktor Shokin because of allegations of corruption.
However, Shokin swore in a statement that Biden’s true motive lied in his investigation into Burisma Holdings. Biden’s son Hunter sat on the company’s board.
I covered the Ukraine/Russia war at Breitbart from 2013 when Ukrainians spawned Euromaidan until I left in May 2016 to join Legal Insurrection.
I have kept up with Ukraine, which remains dear to my heart.
Everyone who covered the beat knew of Shokin’s supposed corruption. It is true that other European leaders also wanted Shokin out. They all viewed Shokin as a hindrance to Ukraine’s path to a straight and narrow government.
In 2012, the then-Ukrainian prosecutor began an investigation into Mykola Zlochevsky, the owner of Burisma Holdings. Zlochevsky is a close ally of former Ukrainian Viktor Yanukovych, the man ousted in February 2014 due to his closeness with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The investigation occurred due to allegations of money laundering, tax evasion, and corruption:
Mr. Zlochevsky was removed from the post in April 2012 and appointed deputy secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, a role he held until Mr. Yanukovych’s government collapsed in late February. During his tenure as a government minister, Burisma and entities associated with the firm received a large number of permits for oil and gas exploration in Ukraine and stepped up their output considerably, according to Ukrainian press reports.
In 2014, Biden’s son Hunter and then-Secretary of State John Kerry’s family friend Devon Archer joined Burisma’s board of directors. This happened right after President Barack Obama appointed Biden to oversee the relationship between America and the new Ukrainian government.
Hunter believed his appointment could weed out the corruption within Burisma:
“Burisma’s track record of innovations and industry leadership in the field of natural gas means that it can be a strong driver of a strong economy in Ukraine,” Hunter Biden said in the statement on Burisma’s website. “As a new member of the Board, I believe that my assistance in consulting the Company on matters of transparency, corporate governance and responsibility, international expansion and other priorities will contribute to the economy and benefit the people of Ukraine.”
President Barack Obama’s administration vowed there was no conflict of interest.
Shokin became prosecutor general in 2015 and continued the investigation. But as I said above, Obama’s administration plus other European leaders did not think Shokin showed enough effort into the Burisma and Zlochevsky investigation.
Obama’s administration became so frustrated that they wanted to launch their own investigation into Burisma and Zlochevsky.
Ukraine’s parliament dismissed Shokin in 2016.
Fast Forward to 2019
Back in April, Solomon wrote that Biden supposedly bragged that he drove Poroshenko to fire Shokin. That pressure included a threat to withhold $1 billion in aid:
“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 telling Poroshenko.
“Well, son of a bitch, he got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time,” Biden told the Council on Foreign Relations event, insisting that President Obama was in on the threat.
Interviews with a half-dozen senior Ukrainian officials confirm Biden’s account, though they claim the pressure was applied over several months in late 2015 and early 2016, not just six hours of one dramatic day. Whatever the case, Poroshenko and Ukraine’s parliament obliged by ending Shokin’s tenure as prosecutor. Shokin was facing steep criticism in Ukraine, and among some U.S. officials, for not bringing enough corruption prosecutions when he was fired.
Solomon’s report did not catch much steam when it came out. It has shot into the spotlight due to President Donald Trump’s phone call with new Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Before the transcript came out, the left claimed Trump threatened Zelensky he would withhold aid if he did not investigate Biden.
Instead, Trump suggested to Zelensky he investigate Biden without threatening any negative action towards Ukraine.
Some have tried to remind the left and the media about Biden’s brag over Shokin. Many media outlets have tried to deny this happened, but video captured Biden’s statements:
Do you know what else I find hilarious? Media outlets pointed out a conflict of interest with Biden’s appointment to Burisma Holdings. Max Seddon at BuzzFeed admitted it raised “serious conflict of interest questions for Western countries’ Ukraine policy.” Others felt the same way:
US foreign policy is often perceived abroad as a selfish exercise to further economic interests, largely driven by a huge energy demand, and Biden’s commitment to Burisma – Ukraine’s largest private gas supplier – seems to confirm the suspicion.
The Washington Post article described Biden’s behavior as “nefarious.” Observers’ tweets cited in the piece argued the situation “looks really bad. What are they thinking?” while others were simply “speechless.” According to the Wall Street Journal, meanwhile, Burisma is controlled by a confidant of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.
Before I start with this section, I have to say that it is hard who to believe: Biden or Shokin. There are red flags over Biden, but the fact is Shokin is corrupt. He even disgusted me and he would have a grudge over his firing.
Ukrainian prosecutors say they have tried to get this information to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) since the summer of 2018, fearing it might be evidence of possible violations of U.S. ethics laws. First, they hired a former federal prosecutor to bring the information to the U.S. attorney in New York, who, they say, showed no interest. Then, the Ukrainians reached out to President Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.
Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Zelensky, told Trump in July that he plans to launch his own wide-ranging investigation into what happened with the Bidens and Burisma.
“I’m knowledgeable about the situation,” Zelensky told Trump, asking the American president to forward any evidence he might know about. “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.”
As you can tell that backs up Zelensky’s statement. It looks like Ukraine really did want to get to the bottom of the Burisma investigation.
Here is the key point in the document:
Solomon left a key point out of his op-ed. Shokin said he made “this statement at the requests of lawyers acting for Dmitry Firtash (“DF”), for use in legal proceedings in Austria.” It looks like Shokin provided the statement to explain why he did not, as general prosecutor, pursue Firtash for alleged crimes in Ukraine or America in an effort to stop Austria from extraditing Firtash to America. You can read about those allegations in this report at Reuters.
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