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#1 User is offline   Liz 

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  Posted 26 September 2019 - 11:00 PM

These Once-Secret Memos Cast Doubt On Joe Biden's Ukraine Story

The Hill
By John Solomon, Opinion Contributor
09/26/19 06:00 PM EDT

The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the view of The Hill

Excerpt:

Former Vice President Joe Biden, now a 2020 Democratic presidential contender, has locked into a specific story about the controversy in Ukraine.

He insists that, in spring 2016, he strong-armed Ukraine to fire its chief prosecutor solely because Biden believed that official was corrupt and inept, not because the Ukrainian was investigating a natural gas company, Burisma Holdings, that hired Biden's son, Hunter, into a lucrative job.

There’s just one problem.

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.

And they 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 Hunter Biden during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

For instance, 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 addition, Burisma’s American team offered to introduce Ukrainian prosecutors to Obama administration officials to make amends, according to that memo and the American legal team’s internal emails.

The memos raise troubling questions:

1.) If the Ukraine prosecutor’s firing involved only his alleged corruption and ineptitude, why did Burisma's American legal team refer to those allegations as “false information?"

2.) If the firing had nothing to do with the Burisma case, as Biden has adamantly claimed, why would Burisma’s American lawyers contact the replacement prosecutor within hours of the termination and urgently seek a meeting in Ukraine to discuss the case?

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.”

Biden has faced scrutiny since December 2015, when the New York Times published a story noting that Burisma hired Hunter Biden just weeks after the vice president was asked by President Obama to oversee U.S.-Ukraine relations. That story also alerted Biden’s office that Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin had an active investigation of Burisma and its founder.

Documents I obtained this year detail an effort to change the narrative after the Times story about Hunter Biden, with the help of the Obama State Department.

Hunter Biden’s American business partner in Burisma, Devon Archer, texted a colleague two days after the Times story about a strategy to counter the “new wave of scrutiny” and stated that he and Hunter Biden had just met at the State Department. The text suggested there was about to be a new “USAID project the embassy is announcing with us” and that it was “perfect for us to move forward now with momentum.”

I have sued the State Department for any records related to that meeting. The reason is simple: There is both a public interest and an ethics question to knowing if Hunter Biden and his team sought State’s assistance while his father was vice president.

The controversy ignited anew earlier this year when I disclosed that Joe Biden admitted during a 2018 videotaped speech that, as vice president in March 2016, he threatened to cancel $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees, to pressure Ukraine’s then-President Petro Poroshenko to fire Shokin.

At the time, Shokin’s office was investigating Burisma. Shokin told me he was making plans to question Hunter Biden about $3 million in fees that Biden and his partner, Archer, collected from Burisma through their American firm. Documents seized by the FBI in an unrelated case confirm the payments, which in many months totaled more than $166,000.

Some media outlets have reported that, at the time Joe Biden forced the firing in March 2016, there were no open investigations. Those reports are wrong. A British-based investigation of Burisma's owner was closed down in early 2015 on a technicality when a deadline for documents was not met. But the Ukraine Prosecutor General's office still had two open inquiries in March 2016, according to the official case file provided me. One of those cases involved taxes; the other, allegations of corruption. Burisma announced the cases against it were not closed and settled until January 2017.

After I first reported it in a column, the New York Times and ABC News published similar stories confirming my reporting.

Joe Biden has since responded that he forced Shokin’s firing over concerns about corruption and ineptitude, which he claims were widely shared by Western allies, and that it had nothing to do with the Burisma investigation.

Some of the new documents I obtained call that claim into question.

*snip*

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#2 User is offline   NH Populist 

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Posted 27 September 2019 - 01:55 AM

Looks like the latest impeachment inquiry may be the smoke screen some people are claiming it to be, eh? One thing about Donald Trump, he doesn't throw around accusations without the ability to back them up. G' bye Joe...
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#3 User is offline   Liz 

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Posted 27 September 2019 - 02:09 AM

View PostNH Populist, on 27 September 2019 - 01:55 AM, said:

Looks like the latest impeachment inquiry may be the smoke screen some people are claiming it to be, eh? One thing about Donald Trump, he doesn't throw around accusations without the ability to back them up. G' bye Joe...

I also wonder about the implications to the Obama administration, although as usual, I'm not expecting much. :shrug:
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#4 User is offline   NH Populist 

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Posted 27 September 2019 - 02:14 AM

View PostLiz, on 27 September 2019 - 02:09 AM, said:

I also wonder about the implications to the Obama administration, although as usual, I'm not expecting much. :shrug:

Yeah, it's probably safe to label Obama's people The Untouchables, Lois Lerner's a perfect example.
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#5 User is offline   Liz 

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Posted 27 September 2019 - 02:19 AM

View PostNH Populist, on 27 September 2019 - 02:14 AM, said:

Yeah, it's probably safe to label Obama's people The Untouchables, Lois Lerner's a perfect example.

Yes, she and so many others.
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#6 User is offline   gravelrash 

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Posted 27 September 2019 - 09:09 AM

View PostLiz, on 26 September 2019 - 11:00 PM, said:

These Once-Secret Memos Cast Doubt On Joe Biden's Ukraine Story


Open letter to Mr. John Solomon:

Thank you for this well-researched and insightful article. However, you do yourself no favor with the clickbait headline. Please choose words that are less sensational or fire your editor.

Thank you,

Serious Reader
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