We’ve all seen the clip at least a hundred times. Speaking at a Council on Foreign Relations event in January 2018, former Vice President Joe Biden boasted that in the spring of 2016, he threatened to withhold $1 billion in U.S. aid to Ukraine unless then-President Petro Poroshenko fired the prosecutor who was investigating Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma Holdings in the next six hours.
“I said, ‘you’re not getting the billion’ … 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 b****, he got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time.”
Hunter Biden was appointed to Burisma’s board of directors in 2014 shortly after Joe Biden became President Obama’s point man for Ukraine and was paid $83,000 per month. In March 2016, Burisma and its owner/founder Mykola Zlochevsky were under investigation by Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin. Shokin was about to question Hunter Biden when his father delivered his now-famous ultimatum.
Unfortunately for Biden, Shokin refused to go quietly into the night.
French media outlet Les Crises reported in January that Shokin filed a federal complaint with Ukraine’s National Bureau of Investigation (NABU) which accuses Biden of abusing his power. At that time, Ukrainian District Court Judge S. V. Vovk ordered the Prosecutor General’s Office and the State Bureau of Investigations to review Shokin’s claim.
In April, Just the News’ John Solomon reported that Vovk ordered the country’s law enforcement services to formally list the fired prosecutor, Victor Shokin, as the victim of an alleged crime.
Still, Ukraine’s law enforcement agencies “refused to name Biden as the alleged perpetrator of the crime, instead listing the potential defendant as an unnamed American.”
All of that has recently changed. Vovk ruled that “anonymous listing was improper and ordered the law enforcement agencies to formally name Biden as the accused perpetrator.” Vovk’s ruling states:
A competent person of the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine who conducts procedural management in criminal proceedings No. 62020000000000236 dated February 24, 2020 to enter information into the Unified register of pre-trial investigations … a summary of facts that may indicate the commission of a criminal offense under Paragraph 2 of Article 343 of the Criminal procedure code of Ukraine on criminal proceedings No. 62020000000000236 dated February 24, 2020, namely: information on interference in the activities of the former Prosecutor General of Ukraine Shokin, Viktor Mykolaiovych performed by citizen of the United States of America Joseph Biden, former U.S. Vice President…
The order of the court may not be appealed.
(Ukraine Court Ruling (English Translation): 4-21-20 Shokin Case)
Solomon later confirmed the story with Shokin’s attorney, Oleksandr Ivanovych Teleshetskyi. He told Solomon that Ukraine officials have not yet complied.
Teleshetskyi said, “Viktor Shokin publicly appealed to the president of Ukraine with a request to properly respond to illegal inaction in the investigation of criminal cases that are open against Joseph Biden. Let me remind you that they were discovered precisely as a result of the statement of Viktor Shokin.”
Biden freely admits he pressured Poroshenko to fire Shokin, however, he continues to deny the firing had anything to do with his son’s position on Burisma’s board. He claims that Shokin was corrupt.
Shokin, however, has alleged in a court affidavit he was told he was fired because he refused to stand down his investigation of alleged corruption by Burisma and after he planned to call Hunter Biden as a witness to question him about millions of dollars in payments his American firm received from the Ukraine gas company.
Shokin has also disputed Democrats’ claims he was fired because he was incompetent or corrupt, producing among other pieces of evidence a letter from the U.S. State Department in summer 2015 that praised his anti-corruption plan as Ukraine’s chief prosecutor.
While the Biden-Shokin factual dispute remains unresolved, the impeachment trial last year generated testimony from State Department witnesses who said they believed Hunter Biden’s role at Burisma while his father oversaw U.S.-Ukraine policy created an uncomfortable appearance of a conflict of interest.
Both Bidens have denied wrongdoing but acknowledged they wished they had handled the matter differently.
Shokin’s continued pursuit of a case in the Ukraine courts could prompt new disclosures this summer as Biden readies for the fall election against Trump.
Solomon interviewed Shokin who claims he has evidence that “Ukraine officials were satisfied with his performance” and that he was fired only because of Biden’s threat.
On Tuesday, an audio recording of an alleged telephone conversation between Biden and Poroshenko leaked by Ukraine Member of Parliament Andrii Derkach. No one has confirmed if the tapes are authentic at this point. My colleague, Streiff, posted on this story here.
In the recording, Poroshenko tells Biden he has fired Shokin. Biden is heard saying, “And I’m a man of my word. And now that the new Prosecutor General is in place, we’re ready to move forward to signing that one billion dollar loan guarantee.”
Listen to their conversation in the clip below.