Hunter Biden’s Wild Ukrainian Ride

Democrats threw the country into turmoil this week announcing their intention to proceed with the impeachment of President Donald Trump.

They just have a few problems. Chief among them, their narratives keep collapsing. First, there was the “coverup” both of the call with the President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, and of the whistleblower’s report. Then the White House, in an unprecedented step, released the transcript of the call with the Ukrainian president, and the entirety of the whistleblower’s report. And the Acting Director of National Intelligence openly testified before the House Intelligence Committee, explaining that the delay in turnover had been the result of the unprecedented nature of the report—that it may have had executive privilege ramifications—not an effort to delay turnover because of its contents.

Then it came out that Rep. Adam Schiff (D.-Calif.), who made a big public issue of the report from the White House being delayed, had advance notice of the whistleblower’s allegations before they were even filed. Such a consultation by the whistleblower was provided only to the Democrat-led House Intelligence Committee, not its Republican-led Senate counterpart, raising questions about the political motivations of the whistleblower.

Then, finally, there is the issue of Joe Biden, his son Hunter, and Ukraine. This pesky bit of narrative has been swatted away by Democrats as a distraction, but it’s far from anything like that.

Rather, the role of Joe Biden—and particularly that of his son, Hunter Biden, and Devon Archer, a confidant of former Secretary of State John Kerry—goes directly to the allegations that Democrats have levied against the president. If Democrats want their allegations of the misuse of office to be credible, they also need to have a serious problem with Hunter Biden’s uncanny ability to make millions in profits in a place where his father also happened to be making policy as vice president.

Democrats are trying desperately to make this go away, to pretend like it doesn’t matter. But the actions of Hunter Biden—and the complicity of the Washington establishment—go directly to the heart of the question that Democrats are posing to the president.

Democrats allege that President Trump used his position to leverage political benefit, and they want that to be an impeachable crime. But in the same breath, they want to claim it is completely above board for Joe Biden’s children to have used the weight of his office to leverage millions in personal profits.

Bidens in Ukraine

The yeomen’s work of reporting on Hunter Biden’s activities in Ukraine was done a year ago by Peter Schweizer in his book, Secret Empires. I pull from a lot from his research for this article.

But it is important to realize that prior to the breaking of this Ukraine/Trump narrative, the New York Times, the New Yorker, and the Washington Post all reported on Hunter Biden’s activities, and openly questioned them—at least, they did until it became politically unpopular with Democrats to do so.

The details surrounding the Bidens and Ukraine center on two key areas. The first is the role of Joe Biden as both the vice president and the key architect of the nearly $3 billion the Obama administration spent in U.S. foreign aid to Ukraine. The second is the role of Hunter Biden and Devon Archer on the board of a Ukrainian natural gas company called Burisma.

It’s worth pointing out that Ukraine continues to rank as one of the most corrupt countries with which to do business in the world. As one Reuter’s journalist put it, “Corruption in Ukraine is so bad, a Nigerian prince would be embarrassed.” And, indeed, Ukraine ranks as more corrupt than Nigeria on Transparency International’s metric.

This didn’t stop the Obama administration and the international community from pouring billions into the country following the political upheaval and Russian incursion in 2014. It also didn’t stop over $1 billion in U.S. taxpayer backed loan guarantees from straight up disappearing.

And it did not stop Hunter Biden and Devon Archer from looking to make a profit with one of the most corrupt companies in an already corrupt country. Their involvement with the Ukrainian natural gas company, Burisma, began in 2014. But the company’s dubious origins were already fully established.

Burisma was created in 2006 by Mykola Zlochevsky, a Ukrainian government minister who assigned himself the rights to develop Ukraine’s ample natural gas reserves. A few years later, the company was transferred to Ihor Kolomoisky, an infamous Ukrainian oligarch whose deep connections to Ukrainian politics flow from his base of operations in Switzerland, where he is known for violent, brutal, and criminal business practices. At some point prior to 2014, Kolomoisky raised enough eyebrows in the United States that he was put on a visa ban list, precluding his entry to the country.

That was not enough to deter Biden and Archer from deciding Kolomoisky would make a great new colleague. After meeting privately with Vice President Biden on April 16, 2014, Devon Archer joined the board of Burisma on April 22. On May 13, it was announced that Hunter Biden would join the board as well. Biden and Archer were placed on the board in positions rumored to pay $50,000 (other suggest it was closer to $83,000) per month, while neither of them possessed any experience in the oil or natural gas business.

On April 21, the day before Burisma announced it was appointing Archer, Biden was in Ukraine for a series of meetings to discuss United States Agency for International Development (USAID) programs to assist the Ukrainian natural gas industry. He also gave remarks urging the company to increase its natural gas production.

By June, four Democratic senators had sent a letter to President Obama requesting greater U.S. aid for the Ukrainian energy industry.

By 2015, Kolomoisky was suddenly allowed to travel to the United States.

The Biden Quid Pro Quo

When Democrats accused President Trump of a quid pro quo with Ukraine—withholding aid in exchange for an investigation of the Bidens—a video surfaced of then-Vice President Biden bragging about withholding a billion dollars of U.S. aid in exchange for the firing of Ukraine’s prosecutor general Viktor Shokin, who was tasked with rooting out corruption. Viktor Shokin, as it turns out, was investigating Burisma—the very company that employed Joe Biden’s son.

Many in the media immediately rushed to Biden’s defense, stating that the firing of Shokin had nothing to do with investigation of Burisma. His firing was justified, they said, because the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, and other U.S. allies were also supportive of his firing.

The media also claims that at the time of Shokin’s termination, the investigation into Burisma was “dormant.”

But this “fact” is not established, it is only something claimed by interested parties. Shokin has sworn in an affidavit that the investigation was not dormant—that he was fired for investigating Burisma. His successor, Yuri Lutsenko, says there was no “there” there.

So, someone is lying, but it’s unclear who it is. Either way, it’s disingenuous of the media to report this as settled simply because they personally prefer it to be the case.

The Raging Double Standard

The reality is that the vice president’s son secured a questionable and lucrative career opportunity for which he wasn’t at all qualified, in an economically unstable region that played a key role in U.S foreign policy while heavily dependent on the foreign aid directed by his father. And he made a fortune.

The flashing red lights here are obvious—and prohibited by law.

And it’s not like people didn’t notice. It’s that greater Washington just didn’t care, because they liked Joe Biden.

As far back as 2015, flags were being raised. Edward Chow, of the Center for Strategic and International Studies was quoted in the New York Times saying,

Now you look at the Hunter Biden situation, and on one hand you can credit the father for sending the anticorruption message. But I think it unfortunately sends the message that a lot of foreign countries want to believe about America, that we are hypocritical about these issues.

Robert Weissman of Public Citizen, a progressive watchdog, has acknowledged that “It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that Hunter’s foreign employers and partners were seeking to leverage Hunter’s relationship with Joe, either by seeking improper influence or to project access to him.”

It’s a damning indictment of the Washington establishment that the Joe and Hunter Biden were allowed to persist with abject conflicts of interests to absolutely no condemnation or investigation. Rather, they were defended.

But now, Democrats want to bring down onto President Trump the weight of the republic for similar allegations, but ones they can’t even prove happened.

This is what shatters the faith of every-day Americans in our political process. This is the double standard that exists in Washington and the media for people who believe the “right” things. And it is the punitive, non-nuanced, destroy-now-and-wait-for-evidence-later standard that is applied to the rest of us.

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About Rachel Bovard

Rachel Bovard is senior director of policy at the Conservative Partnership Institute and Senior Advisor to the Internet Accountability Project. Beginning in 2006, she served in both the House and Senate in various roles including as legislative director for Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and policy director for the Senate Steering Committee under the successive chairmanships of Senator Pat Toomey (R-Penn.) and Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah), where she advised Committee members on strategy related to floor procedure and policy matters. In the House, she worked as senior legislative assistant to Congressman Donald Manzullo (R-Il.), and Congressman Ted Poe (R-Texas). She is the former director of policy services for the Heritage Foundation. Follow her on Twitter at @RachelBovard.

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