Democrats impeached President Donald Trump for putting his own political fortunes ahead of the national interest in dealing with Ukraine. But it’s Joe Biden who should be in the hot seat for that.
Trump is criticized for a July 25 phone call, when he asked the president of Ukraine for help investigating what Joe Biden did, as vice president, to get a prosecutor there fired. Biden’s son was on the payroll of a corrupt Ukrainian energy company, Burisma, targeted by authorities.
Democrats claim it was wrong to ask for the investigation. Trump’s defense lawyers say there was every reason to ask. The evidence backs them up.
It’s not just the $1 million a year that Burisma paid Biden’s son Hunter, with no energy or Ukrainian expertise. That’s small potatoes.
The question is what did Burisma get in return? The Obama administration forked over $53 million in American taxpayer money to assist the Ukrainian energy industry. The public should know how much Burisma and its related ventures may have gotten.
Biden should also have to answer for the $20 million in taxpayer-funded loans that went to his Delaware pal John Hynansky to launch a luxury car dealership in Ukraine selling Porsches, Land Rovers and other high-ticket vehicles. None were made in the U.S. Hynansky had made large donations to Biden’s campaigns. Later he would loan $500,000 to Biden’s brother James, who was behind on mortgage payments and owed more than $590,000 in back taxes.
Democrats and media allies are adamant that Joe Biden’s dealings in Ukraine are irrelevant to Trump’s impeachment. Not so, if Biden used taxpayer money as his personal piggy bank to help his son and his car dealer pal.
On that July 25 call, Trump did the right thing asking about Burisma, especially when $391 million more in taxpayer-funded aid to Ukraine was about to go out the door.
The chronology of the Bidens’ transactions raises serious questions:
April 15, 2014: Burisma sends Hunter Biden’s business partner, Devon Archer, $112,000.
April 16, 2014: Archer visits Vice President Biden at the White House.
April 21, 2014: Vice President Biden arrives in Ukraine bearing millions in aid for the Ukraine energy industry.
May 12, 2014: Hunter Biden joins Burisma’s board.
February 2015: Ukrainian authorities seize the property of Burisma’s CEO and go after unpaid taxes.
March 2016: Biden demands that Ukraine’s top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, be fired, and threatens to hold up $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees.
Biden even bragged about telling the Ukrainians “if the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money.” That’s the kind of quid pro quo of which Trump is accused, only Biden did it, and it’s on tape.
Biden clip Ukranian prosecutor fired
The Biden campaign claims the vice president demanded Shokin’s dismissal for being soft on corruption, and the media gladly parrot that claim. It defies common sense.
Though accounts vary about how aggressively Shokin investigated Burisma, Shokin himself is clear. In an email to The Washington Post, he blamed Vice President Biden for getting him axed, saying that Biden’s “motives” were “the activities of Hunter Biden, and the investigators on his tail.”
Data from the United States Aid for International Development show that the Obama administration sent $1.28 billion in aid to Ukraine in 2014 to 2016. Biden, the administration’s point person for Ukraine, should be held accountable for how the money was used or misused.
“Profiles in Corruption,” a new book by Peter Schweizer, documents how Biden’s family and friends leveraged his position to cash in with deals in China, Iraq, Kazakhstan and Latin America. Joe Biden’s suspect dealings in Ukraine were not out of character. The Biden motto appears to be that a family that “takes” together stays together.
Democrats insist claims of Biden wrongdoing are “discredited” and “without evidence.” That doesn’t pass the smell test.
Americans have seen the transcripts of Trump’s calls with the Ukrainians. Let’s see Biden’s call records with the Ukrainians.
If the Senators decide to call witnesses, Joe Biden should be on the top of the list.
Betsy McCaughey is a former lieutenant governor of New York state and author of “Government by Choice: Inventing the United States Constitution.” Contact her at email@example.com. To find out more about Betsy McCaughey and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.