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Politics Live – and the Biden scandal

I appeared on BBC TV’s Politics Live, which those with access to BBC iPlayer can view here.

Among the issues we discussed was the impeachment hearings in the US Congress, concerning allegations that President Trump pressured the Ukrainian government to investigate the commercial dealings of the former US Vice-President and potential Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

I observed how odd it was that there was no similar concern over the report that, when he was Vice-President, Biden pressured the Ukrainian government to fire the prosecutor who was investigating his son’s company, Burisma Holdings. Presenter Andrew Neill asked me for the evidence to back up this observation. Well, here it is.

Joe Biden actually boasted about this.

At a meeting of the Council of Foreign Relations in January 2018, he was videoed saying that in March 2016, when he was Vice-President, he threatened Ukraine President Poroshenko that the Obama administration would not come through with $1 billion in loan guarantees unless he immediately fired prosecutor Viktor Shokin. If those loan guarantees were pulled, the country would become insolvent.

The official CFR transcript of Biden speaking during this part of the panel discussion reads:

“I went over, I guess, the 12th, 13th time to Kiev. And I was supposed to announce that there was another billion-dollar loan guarantee. I had gotten a commitment from Poroshenko and from Yatsenyuk that they would take action against the state prosecutor. They didn’t.

“They said they had—they were walking out to a press conference. I said, nah, I’m not going to—or, we’re not going to give you the billion dollars. They said, you have no authority. You’re not the president. The president … I said, call him. (Laughter.) I said, I’m telling you, you’re not getting the billion dollars. 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. Well, son of a bitch. (Laughter.) He got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time.”

Viktor Shokin, the Ukrainian prosecutor who was fired and who had been leading a wide-ranging corruption investigation of Burisma at the time, said afterwards: “[We had plans that] included interrogations and other crime-investigation procedures into all members of the executive board, including Hunter Biden.”

Rather than the Potemkin impeachment hearings, isn’t this the real scandal that should be investigated?

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