No one disputes that when Joe Biden was vice president, he threatened to withhold $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees from the Ukrainian government unless it replaced the state’s lead prosecutor, Viktor Shokin. But the Washington Post is pushing a funny narrative about Biden’s motives. The reason Biden wanted Shokin fired had nothing whatsoever to do with the more than $3.5 million his son Hunter’s consulting firm was paid by a company called Burisma Holdings, which Shokin happened to be investigating at the time.
In the past few days, the Post has published around 30 articles claiming that Burisma had no reason to engineer Shokin’s termination since his investigation was “dormant.” Every single story uses that same phrase. It isn’t just the Post. Do a web search of the words “Shokin” and “dormant,” and you’ll find around 90 entries (and counting) parroting the same claim—verbatim. And all but a handful were published in the course of a week, including at least one from each of the Post’s elite media brethren such as the New York Times, CNN, CBS, and NBC.
If you’re wondering what aside from his powerful father’s influence could have made a dissipated American wastrel like Hunter Biden, a Navy washout with no pertinent experience in the energy sector (or any other business), worth millions to a Ukrainian natural gas company then you’re not just dressed wrong. According to the mainstream press, you’ve got your pants on backward, buddy.
The Post claims Biden strong-armed Ukraine into replacing Shokin because the prosecutor was “soft on corruption,” not to stop him from investigating it. And many other outlets like the Wall Street Journal have gone further, alleging that “Shokin had dragged his feet” in investigating the very company shelling out millions to Hunter Biden! As The Atlantic’s David A. Graham claimed, without a hint of irony: “Biden’s pressure to install a tougher prosecutor probably made it more likely, not less, that Burisma would be in the cross hairs.”
If you’re having a tough time swallowing the idea that Joe Biden was trying to get Shokin fired for not doing enough to investigate a company enriching his son, your gag reflex is in good working order.
The alleged facts about Shokin peddled by the corporate leftist press are at best dubious and the creepily ubiquitous claim that his investigation was “dormant” is an outright falsehood. So are the suggestions that President Trump is spinning fables when he claims, not just that the company paying Hunter Biden millions, but also the man himself, was a subject of interest to Ukrainian prosecutors.
The repeated assertions that Trump is, once again, making things up entirely out of thin air—not surprisingly—are once again being created entirely out of thin air. Projection always being the soup du jour at Café la Résistance.
Presenting One Side, Burying the Other
The avalanche of stories attempting to exonerate Biden was precipitated on May 2, after Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani called for an immediate investigation, claiming that the elder Biden’s conflict of interest when he pushed for Shokin’s dismissal was “too apparent to be ignored.”
Five days later, the first story attempting to exonerate Biden by alleging Shokin’s investigation “had been long dormant” appeared at Bloomberg News. The headline was a direct rebuttal to Giuliani: “Timeline in Ukraine Probe Casts Doubt on Giuliani’s Biden Claim.”
The source for Bloomberg‘s story was one of Shokin’s deputies named Vitaliy Kasko. He alleges that, though he “urged Shokin to pursue the investigations” into Burisma, his boss ignored him.
Bloomberg reports that neither the Bidens nor anyone from Burisma would comment on the story. Strangely, however, Viktor Shokin’s response—or lack thereof—isn’t mentioned alongside that of the other main characters. It’s 900 words in, long past the point where most readers will have moved on to other things, that we learn what the main villain of Bloomberg’s story has to say in his defense:
Shokin has denied any accusations of wrongdoing and declined to provide immediate comment for this article. In an interview with the Ukrainian website Strana.ua . . . Shokin said he believes he was fired because of his Burisma investigation, which he said had been active at the time.
So, though you have to pay close attention and read almost to the end to discover it, the Bloomberg story that suddenly spawned almost a hundred clones—also using the word “dormant” to exonerate Joe Biden of any wrongdoing—essentially boils down to a former Ukrainian lead prosecutor telling a tale that implicates Biden while his subordinate at the time tells another story that seems to exonerate him. Bloomberg simply presents the latter as fact and buries the former.
At best, Bloomberg’s suggestion that its reporting has exonerated Joe Biden is unsubstantiated. But it turns out, in the interview Bloomberg cites, Shokin does more than merely make self-serving claims that contradict equally self-serving ones made by his former deputy Kasko. Though the story fails to mention it, Shokin backs up his account with at least one pertinent fact, which turns out to be verified by Ukrainian media.
Shokin claims that the Ukrainian government pressured him to stop his investigation into Burisma and that Kasko was the one working on their behalf to stifle it. He also says that, when Joe Biden got him fired, he was about to interrogate Hunter:
Shokin: We were going to interrogate Biden, Jr. . . .
Interviewer: What got in the way?
Shokin: [We] did not have enough time. The President told me repeatedly that Biden demanded that they remove me.
Shokin goes on to claim that he took specific actions which, if verified, prove he was actively investigating Burisma.
There were regular ultimatums and discussions about me. I finally crossed the threshold on February 2, 2016, when we went to the courts with motions to re-arrest the property of Burisma. I suppose that then the president received another call from Biden, blackmail by non-allocation of a loan . . . Then [President] Poroshenko surrendered.
Apart from Shokin’s interview with Ukrainian media to which Bloomberg links, his claim that he was preparing to interrogate Hunter Biden has been in the public record since April 1, when The Hill’s John Solomon published the results of his own interview with Shokin. Moreover, among many other revelations suggesting that Biden may have pressured for Shokin’s termination to protect Burisma, Solomon also says:
The general prosecutor’s official file for the Burisma probe—shared with me by senior Ukrainian officials—shows prosecutors identified Hunter Biden, [his] business partner Devon Archer and their firm, Rosemont Seneca, as potential recipients of money.
Why do almost none of the almost 100 articles parroting Bloomberg’s completely worthless attempt to exonerate Biden make any mention at all of Solomon’s vastly more informative and better-sourced story implicating him?
Could it be that the establishment press doesn’t give a damn about uncovering the truth and, instead, is focused solely on advancing a narrative that discredits Trump’s remarks to Ukrainian president Zelensky concerning what Biden was up to when he got Shokin fired and, thus, helping to convince our more gullible citizenry that Trump might be guilty of something justifying impeachment?
Way back on July 22, before anyone imagined that the Biden family’s Ukrainian misadventures would be contrived to impeach Trump, the Washington Post published a quite different take on Joe and Hunter’s probity in an article headlined (you’re going to get a kick out of this): “As vice president, Biden said Ukraine should increase gas production. Then his son got a job with a Ukrainian gas company.”
Almost unbelievably, the Post’s story actually features portions of an email interview they did with Shokin in which he, once again, claims Biden wanted him fired for aggressively investigating “the activities of Burisma and the involvement of his son, Hunter Biden” and that he would have interrogated Hunter had he not been forced out.
Yet the Post mentions its own prior interview with Shokin in only one of the two-dozen-or-so stories about him the paper has published since his answers turned out to be inconvenient for the establishment media’s latest impeachment fantasies.
And that one article is an exercise in deception.
The Post’s entire description of what Shokin had previously told them consists of directly quoting a fragment of a sentence he wrote in English, offering his take on why Biden wanted him fired—which, understandably, given that English isn’t his native tongue, is clunky, barely grammatical, and not easy to decipher. Indeed, without the context provided by the sentence before it—“Are you asking me about the motives of Joseph Biden?”—it takes a bit of work to figure out what Shokin is even talking about.
Then, without even mentioning that Shokin also told the Post he’d planned on interrogating Hunter Biden, the Post attempts to undermine his version of events by—you guessed it—citing Bloomberg that “U.S. and Ukrainian officials have said the probe had long been dormant.”
But, even here, the post is lying about Bloomberg’s sources.
Kasko is Bloomberg’s only source for claiming that Shokin’s investigation was dormant and their story contains no information obtained from any U.S sources. They do allege that certain unspecified U.S. officials criticized Shokin. But their source is some unspecified set of “internal documents from the Ukrainian prosecutor’s office” they claim to have seen by some completely mysterious process. And they never suggest that the mysterious Ukrainian documents portray the unknown American officials as believing the Burisma investigation was “dormant,” using that or any other expression.
But the Washington Post’s flagrant deceit gets worse.
The paper has published at least three stories claiming “there is no evidence” for Trump’s assertion that Hunter Biden was a target of Ukrainian prosecutors.
In other words, the Washington Post has repeatedly suggested that Trump is just making it all up even though their own article from just two months ago directly quotes the head Ukrainian prosecutor during the time in question as explicitly saying he was investigating Hunter Biden and reports that he also intended to interrogate Hunter.
Shokin’s Story Gets Some Corroboration
If that’s all there was, it would be bad enough. It’s already clear that Bloomberg, the rest of the corporate leftist press—and especially the Washington Post—engaged in willful dishonesty by presenting Kasko’s story as if it were fact, while completely burying Shokin’s detailed and damning counter-tale.
If the corporate press had presented both sides of the story properly, at best we’d have a case of two Ukrainian officials contradicting each other without any sound basis for deciding which of them to believe. No one without prejudice could claim that the Bidens were definitely innocent of any wrongdoing and, as Mayor Giuliani suggested, an investigation would clearly be in order. But researcher extraordinaire Stephen McIntyre has unearthed corroboration from the Ukrainian press for Shokin’s assertion that he went to court to seize Burisma’s property.
Interfax-Ukraine published an article on April 2, 2016, which verifies that “[t]he movable and immovable property” of Burisma’s owner “Mykola Zlochevsky . . . has been seized” and that “the court satisfied the petition on February 2, 2016,” two weeks before Shokin was forced to resign and, in fact, on the exact date he claimed to have “crossed the threshold” that caused his termination because of Biden’s demands.
It’s still possible that Shokin was stifling the investigation into Burisma and simply failed to stop Kasko’s efforts to have its owner’s property confiscated. Though one wonders, if that’s so, why Kasko’s efforts haven’t been mentioned. Without further official inquiry, we’ll never be certain of the full story.
But Bloomberg’s assertion that the investigation into Burisma was dormant under Shokin, which is the lynchpin of the mainstream press’s attempt to convince people that Joe Biden’s Ukrainian ultimatum had nothing to do with his son’s multi-million-dollar gig with Burisma, simply isn’t true. And the fact that Shokin turns out to be the honest one here lends at least a little credence to his claim that Hunter Biden was indeed a target of his investigation.
Moreover, the story that Shokin was the one protecting Burisma doesn’t make a whole lot of sense given what happened in the aftermath of his dismissal. Not only was Burisma not prosecuted, but the investigations were also completely terminated after Biden got his way and Shokin was out of the picture.
The Bloomberg article that got the disinformation campaign to exonerate Joe Biden going mentions towards the very end that:
In October 2017, Burisma issued a statement saying Ukrainian prosecutors had closed all legal and criminal proceedings against it.
Bloomberg apparently counted on most people not reading that far and the rest not noticing that Shokin’s replacement went further in exonerating Burisma than the man they suggest was corrupt for failing to pursue the case did.
Bloomberg also missed—or thought we wouldn’t notice—that the end result of Joe Biden’s arrogant and aggressive meddling in another nation’s domestic politics was that a company paying his good-for-nothing son millions of dollars was let off the hook even though his own administration claimed it had engaged in illegal activity deserving of serious punishment.
Bottom line: Well over 50 news articles are trying to convince Americans of Biden’s innocence by claiming that Burisma had absolutely no reason to want Viktor Shokin fired. And every single one of those news articles is a deceitful insult to the intelligence of the reader. As Thomas Jefferson said in response to the fake news of his day: “The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.”