The Biden problem


 

Vanity Fair calls the Biden nepotism as a 2020 scandal

Vanity Fair recognizes the political-dynasty-wrecking potential of the Biden problem.

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Hunter Biden at V.P. Joe Biden’s lectern

In a move sure to trigger 2016 P.T.S.D., The New York Times has published a nearly 3,000-word tale of intrigue involving the Biden family’s various entanglements in Ukraine. In short, the story is this: in the final year of the Obama presidency, Vice President Joe Biden “threatened to withhold $1 billion in United States loan guarantees if Ukraine’s leaders did not dismiss the country’s top prosecutor”—Viktor Shokin—“who had been accused of turning a blind eye to corruption in his own office and among the political elite.” The pressure campaign also just so happened to benefit Biden’s younger son, Hunter, who was then getting paid as much as $50,000 to sit on the board of Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian energy company that was in Shokin’s sights. The question the Times raises, but does not answer, is: were Joe’s and Hunter’s overlapping interests in Ukraine coincidental, or corrupt?

The Bidens say Joe acted “without any regard” for the impact on his son, and that Hunter never discussed private business with his father. But of course, that seems unlikely to put this story to rest. The current Ukrainian prosecutor general recently decided to reopen the investigation into Burisma, which could unearth new details about Hunter’s work. No surprise, the story is also being heavily promoted by Donald Trump and his allies, including lawyer Rudy Giuliani. According to the Times, Giuliani has met repeatedly with both the ousted Ukrainian prosecutor and the new prosecutor, and has discussed his findings with Trump—who then suggested he would like Attorney General William Barr to look into the matter. (Perhaps that is why Barr was at a loss for words on Wednesday, when Senator Kamala Harris asked whether “the president or anyone at the White House ever asked or suggested that you open an investigation of anyone.”)

Times reporter Ken Vogel, presumably seeking to pre-empt accusations of water-carrying, explained on Twitter that the paper’s interest in the subject predates Trump. “TO BE CLEAR: Independent of @RudyGiuliani’s efforts, the intersection of @JoeBiden & HUNTER BIDEN in Ukraine warrants scrutiny,” he said, noting that the Times had begun reporting on the Burisma story in 2015. Some within the Obama State Department, too, were concerned with the appearance of impropriety, or the possibility that Hunter’s business could complicate his father’s diplomatic efforts. (“I have had no role whatsoever in relation to any investigation of Burisma, or any of its officers,” Hunter Biden told the Times in a statement. “I explicitly limited my role to focus on corporate governance best practices to facilitate Burisma’s desire to expand globally.”)

Nevertheless, the Times report dovetails with Trumpworld efforts to get the Biden-Ukraine story in the news. The Hill reported in April on Joe Biden’s 2020 Ukrainian nightmare. More recently, the right-wing American Greatness and conservative-leaning Fox News both highlighted stories about the Biden family’s entanglements in Ukraine. MAGA-friendly outlets Breitbart and The Daily Wire made hay of the story on Thursday, leveraging the journalistic credibility of the Times.

The Burisma affair—whether coincidence or scandal—may be just the first volley in what is likely to become a broader war over Joe Biden’s conduct and record. Past speculation about Biden family drama has centered on Hunter’s documented struggle with drug use and his recently ended relationship with his late brother’s widow. But the bigger threat might actually be Hunter’s past business enterprises. Already, there’s another attack line looming on the horizon: in his latest book, Secret Empires: How the American Political Class Hides Corruption and Enriches Family and Friends, Breitbart editor-at-large Peter Schweizer describes how a private-equity firm managed by Hunter Biden, Rosemont Seneca Partners LLC, negotiated a $1.5 billion investment deal with the state-owned Bank of China at the same time that his father, then the vice president, was conducting high-level diplomacy with Beijing. (On one of his trips, Hunter allegedly made use of Air Force Two.) Whether or not the Chinese hoped to curry favor with Hunter’s father, Trump allies are sure to make note of the issue, especially given Joe Biden’s controversial remark this week downplaying China as an economic competitor. (A spokesman for Hunter Biden disputed Schweizer’s claims to the Journal.)

(Watch the normally-liberal media rip Biden a new one at Vanity Fair)

The central part of the Biden problem is Joe Biden

Much as Joe Biden did much to deep-six race relations by fighting for segregation in the 1970’s and by stumbling verbally around his 2008 running mate (when he called Obama “the first sort of mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy“), Joe Biden has worked as his own worst enemy. Whether we consider the corruption centering on Crowdstrike (the Democrats’ private online investigators) or just his stumbling comments on the campaign trail, Joe Biden continually does more to destroy his campaign than his opponents could ever hope to do.

Giuliani Promises To Release Incriminating Evidence On Biden

A 23 September 2019 article in the Daily Caller describes some of the steps former Mayor Giuliani has promised to take in dealing with the Biden problem.

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Former NYC Mayor Giuliani

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani said Monday that he has “a lot more evidence” on Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s dealings with Ukraine, adding in that Biden’s son Hunter is “drug challenged.”

After telling CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Thursday that he asked Ukraine to look into Biden, Trump’s personal lawyer went after Biden for multiple alleged offenses related to Ukraine. He tweeted Monday that Ukraine paid Hunter $3 million in laundered money while his father and Obama looked the other way.

Giuliani told Fox Business anchor Maria Bartiromo on Monday that he would continue to unearth evidence against the Bidens.

“There’s a lot more evidence I’m going to put out,” Giuliani said on “Mornings with Maria.” “I put one out today — money-laundering. I’ve got a bigger one for tomorrow, a bigger one for the day after.”

Trump’s personal attorney added that the situation is a positive for Trump because it puts the spotlight on Biden.

“It’s the only way you can get this out,” Giuliani said. “The only way that they [the media] would cover this story is by punching the president in the face, and then the president deflects the punch — which he’s done — the story’s come way down from where it was, and then he hits ’em with a right hand that’s more powerful.”

During the conversation about Biden’s alleged conversations with Ukraine, Giuliani took a hit at Hunter, saying he is “drug challenged,” adding in that Joe Biden “fails at everything.” Hunter has struggled with drug and alcohol addiction throughout his life, according to an interview published in The New Yorker in July.

As the criminals who beleaguered New York would know, Giuliani does not make idle threats

Although I cannot tell you what the surprise might be, if Giuliani tells us that Biden has a surprise coming, then you can make book on that surprise appearing.

Biden’s Nepotism and Hypocrisy in Ukraine

Canada Free Press provided an op-ed comment by James A. Lyons, Jr. Admiral, USN (ret.) on the problem of nepotism created by Joe Biden.

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With no oilfield experience, Hunter Biden got a job at a Ukrainian oil company paying $50K/month for years

U.S. relations with Ukraine have dramatically flourished under President Trump, in contrast to the poor state of the Washington-Kiev strategic alliance under former President Obama. While the Trump national security team approved the sale of Javelin anti-tank missile systems and sniper rifles to Ukraine, the Obama administration vetoed similar sales of lethal weapons, leaving Ukraine to face Russia alone. An equally important aspect of U.S. support for Ukraine has been in reforms and the fight against corruption, which the Obama administration also undermined by nepotism and hypocrisy.

Former CIA Director and Defense Secretary Robert Gates famously wrote in his memoir that Joe Biden “has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.” Now that the former vice president is considering yet another presidential run, voters should always remember some of Amtrak Joe’s golden oldies, including: dismissing North Korea as a “paper tiger”, stating that the Taliban is not America’s enemy, and embracing China’s one-child policy. But, it would be hard to name another sitting vice president whose reckless nepotism impacted another country, as Biden did with Ukraine.

Vice President Biden routinely complained about “backsliding” over Ukraine’s fight against corruption, while at the same time, his son, Hunter, with no background in the gas industry, earned a huge salary as a consultant to gas mogul Mykola Zlochevsky’s Burisma Holdings, which is mired in allegations of corruption. This example of nepotism is, as reported in The Washington Post, a problem for U.S. soft power as Hunter Biden’s appointment “looks nepotistic at best, nefarious at worst.” Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Steven Pifer said the lack of due diligence in the Vice President’s office was surprising as Hunter Biden’s employment by Burisma “undercut that message of anti-corruption.”

Prior to Burisma, Hunter Biden teamed up with his Yale roommate, Devon Archer to create Rosemont Capital and Rosemont Seneca*. Their first forays were in China, including in a nuclear company under FBI investigation. But the good times did not last, as Archer was charged in May 2016 with “conspiracy to commit securities fraud” against Native Americans.

(Read more about he mafia-like Burisma at the Canada Free Press)

Everybody knows that governments do not hire drugged-out, inexperienced sons for no reason

If it looks like nepotism and smells like nepotism and tastes like nepotism and feels like nepotism, it is probably nepotism.

Joe Biden bragged about getting the Ukrainian prosecutor who investigated his son fired

The Hill reported in a 1 April 2019 article that Joe Biden really stuck his foot in his mouth by bragging on the way he got a Ukrainian prosecutor fired. To magnify the situation, he did it in front of the world’s power players (all surrounded by cameras and recorders).

Two years after leaving office, Joe Biden couldn’t resist the temptation last year to brag to an audience of foreign policy specialists about the time as vice president that he strong-armed Ukraine into firing its top prosecutor.

In his own words, with video cameras rolling, Biden described how he threatened Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in March 2016 that the Obama administration would pull $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees, sending the former Soviet republic toward insolvency, if it didn’t immediately fire Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin.

“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.

BidenAdmits“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.

But Ukrainian officials tell me there was one crucial piece of information that Biden must have known but didn’t mention to his audience: The prosecutor he got fired was leading a wide-ranging corruption probe into the natural gas firm Burisma Holdings that employed Biden’s younger son, Hunter, as a board member.

(Read more at The Hill)

When you hear the Vice President say this, what else needs be heard?

With this bragging on tape, what other proof do we need?

Trump to release whistleblower complaint to Congress: report

According to a 24 September 2019 article at The Hill detailed how President Trump planned to release the whistleblower report to Congress.

The White House is expected to give Congress the whistleblower complaint at the heart of a brewing scandal that has led to a formal House impeachment inquiry against President Trump, a source confirmed to The Hill on Tuesday.

reportPolitico first reported that both the whistleblower complaint and Inspector General report will be released to Congress by the end of the week. The decision marks a reversal for the White House, which had previously declined to provide the documents to lawmakers, even as Trump decried the impeachment inquiry sparked by the controversy as a “witch hunt.”

The official emphasized to Politico that the decision and timing could change, but that the president has agreed to the move.

The White House declined to comment on the record about the matter.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Tuesday announced the House would launch an official impeachment inquiry amid concerns that the president sought to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a July talk to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter by threatening to withhold military aid.

Trump admitted this week that he mentioned Biden during the call and that he cut off aid to Ukraine days before the conversation. However, he has maintained that there was no quid pro quo discussed during their conversation.

Trump and Republican allies have claimed Biden abused his power during his time as vice president when he pressed Kiev to dismiss a prosecutor who was investigating a natural gas company owned by a Ukrainian oligarch, whose board members included Biden’s son. No evidence has emerged that Biden was acting to protect his son.

The president has already promised to release the official transcript of his phone call with Zelensky, saying it will reveal a “very friendly and totally appropriate call.” However, congressional Democrats say the transcript is insufficient and that the whistleblower complaint, which first expressed alarm over the phone call, is needed to fully flesh out the details of the discussion.

(Read more at The Hill)

Another Democrat scheme bites the dust

The President has placed the information out where it can be seen, has been open to answering questions, and has gone to the public with the President of Ukraine. How will the Democrats deny this in light of the many things they have done (via Biden, as mentioned above, and via a set of senators, mentioned below).

Democrats Wrote to Ukraine in May 2018, Demanding It Investigate Trump

Breitbart points out in a 24 September 2019 article how three Democrats demanded that the Ukrainian government investigate Trump. (Hat tip to the Chris Salcedo Show)

Democrats wrote to the Ukrainian government in May 2018 urging it to continue investigations into President Donald Trump’s alleged collusion with Russia in the 2016 presidential campaign — collusion later found not to exist.

Durbin-Leahy-MenendezThe demand, which came from U.S. Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Patrick Leahy (D-VT), resurfaced Wednesday in an opinion piece written by conservative Marc Thiessen in the Washington Post.

Ironically, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) declared Tuesday that the mere possibility that President Trump had asked Ukraine to continue an investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden — even without a quid pro quo — was enough to trigger an impeachment inquiry. (Biden boasted in 2018 that he had forced Ukraine to remove its prosecutor by threatening to withhold $1 billion in U.S. aid; he did not tell his audience at the Council on Foreign Relations that the prosecutor was looking into a firm on whose board his son, Hunter Biden, was serving.)

Thiessen observed (original links):

It got almost no attention, but in May [2018], CNN reported that Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) and Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) wrote a letter to Ukraine’s prosecutor general, Yuriy Lutsenko, expressing concern at the closing of four investigations they said were critical to the Mueller probe. In the letter, they implied that their support for U.S. assistance to Ukraine was at stake. Describing themselves as “strong advocates for a robust and close relationship with Ukraine,” the Democratic senators declared, “We have supported [the] capacity-building process and are disappointed that some in Kyiv appear to have cast aside these [democratic] principles to avoid the ire of President Trump,” before demanding Lutsenko “reverse course and halt any efforts to impede cooperation with this important investigation.”

The Democrats’ letter is available online here. In it, Menendez, Durbin, and Leahy demanded that the Ukrainian government answer their questions about the Mueller probe, and issued an implied threat: “This reported refusal to cooperate with the Mueller probe also sends a worrying signal — to the Ukrainian people as well as the international community — about your government’s commitment more broadly to support justice and the rule of law.”

(Read more at Breitbart)

If demanding investigation from Ukraine of political opposition is impeachable, these senators must be impeached

Senators Leahy, Durbin, and Menendez must be impeached if, as the accusers of President Trump are correct. If using the United States governmental power to compel a foreign government to investigate a political opponent is impeachable — then impeach them.

If it is not an impeachable offense, please bug off.