Donald Trump may have failed to coerce Ukraine into investigating Joe Biden to give him an election talking point, but impeachment is giving him exactly what he wanted–the smearing of his chief political rival.
During extensive debate before the House Judiciary Committee, on Fox News shows and in the halls of Congress, Republican lawmakers have repeatedly smeared Biden with allegations he corruptly intervened in Ukraine during his term as vice president.
At issue is the fact that his son, Hunter Biden, served on the board of Burisma Holdings Limited during his father’s tenure as vice president.
The Ukrainian holding company was an umbrella for a group of energy exploration and production companies It paid Hunter Biden a princely sum for his participation on its board.
While it’s not a pretty picture, his role with the company was legal. What’s more, no evidence of wrongdoing or influence peddling has ever surfaced involving his father.
Republicans point to a videotape of speech where the elder Biden “brags” about withholding aid until Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin was ousted.
Republicans and Trump have insinuated that Biden intervened to block and investigation of Burisma as a favor to his son. But nothing could be further from the truth.
Shokin was ultimately ousted because he wasn’t pursuing corruption among the country’s politicians and oligarchs, USAToday reported, citing a Ukrainian official and four former American officials who specialized in Ukraine and Europe.
Getting Shokin removed was a policy priority of the United States and its European allies. Biden was simply carrying out the official policy of the United States government.
In a 2016 letter, several Republican senators joined Biden and Democrats to urge then-Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to “press ahead with urgent reforms to the Prosecutor General’s office and judiciary,” according to CNN.
Without pressure from Biden, European diplomats, the International Monetary Fund and other international organizations, Shokin would not have been fired, said Daria Kaleniuk, co-founder and executive director of the Anti Corruption Action Centre in Kiev, according to the paper.
In fact, at the time, Joe Biden called for Shokin’s ouster in 2016, Burmisa was not under investigation, according to the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine, an independent agency set up in 2014 that has worked closely with the FBI.
Shokin’s Burisma investigation focused on allegations between 2010 and 2012. Hunter Biden joined the company in 2014, according to the anti-corruption bureau.
But Republicans have managed to ignore the facts while making unfounded allegations that a corrupt relationship existed.
In contrast, Trump went outside official channels in an effort to bring pressure on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Trump lawyer and bagman Rudy Giuliani orchestrated the effort in apparent conjunction with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo,acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and Attorney General William Barr.
But an unnamed whistleblower brought the scheme to a halt in its tracks by filing a complaint with the intelligence community’s Inspector General on Aug. 12.
Following that, Trump and key members of his administration began a concerted effort to cover up their effort, including concealing the transcript of a July 25th telephone call on a secret, classified server.
Trump has also blocked every administration official from testifying before Congress, which makes up the basis for the second impeachment article.
“Instead of addressing the substance of the allegations you want to attack Joe Biden and his family,” said Democratic Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of Brooklyn, during today’s hearing (Dec. 12)
Listen to what they talked about today… it’s all the Bidens,” added Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen of Tennessee.
Check out the video below: