A top U.S. diplomat shot down a favorite anti-Trump talking point yesterday when he told Congress that the Obama administration, led by then–Vice President Joe Biden, orchestrated the firing of the controversial Ukrainian prosecutor who was investigating a notoriously corrupt energy firm connected to the Biden family.
Never-Trumpers on the right and left have repeated ad-naseam for weeks that the entire international community was pushing to have Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin fired.
The Atlantic Council, a globalist think-tank headquartered in Washington D.C., was one of the entities pushing this narrative.
“Everyone in the Western community wanted Shokin sacked,” said Anders Aslund, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council last month. “The whole G-7, the IMF, the EBRD, everybody was united that Shokin must go, the spokesman for this was Joe Biden.”
However, the testimony of George Kent, deputy assistant secretary in the State Department’s Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, directly contradicts the “international community” narrative, the Federalist’s Sean Davis reported on Wednesday, based on tips from congressional sources.
“Kent told lawmakers on Tuesday that the Obama administration spearheaded the efforts to have Shokin removed from his position as the top federal prosecutor in Ukraine,” Davis reported. “Kent said the international community — namely the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Western nations within the European Union — were deferential to U.S. directives on the matter.”
Allies of Biden, who is currently vying for the Democratic presidential nomination, have defended the former vice president from charges of improperly taking official actions that could financially benefit his son by claiming that the international community, rather than Biden and the Obama administration, were behind the efforts to get rid of Shokin. Kent’s testimony, however, indicates it was Biden and the Obama administration who were running the show, not the so-called international community.
Shokin was reportedly investigating Burisma Holdings, a global energy company long suspected of corruption and money laundering when he was forced out of his position. From April 2014, when he joined the board of Burisma, until early 2019, Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden reportedly received compensation of up to $50,000 a month.
The younger Biden had no experience in the natural gas industry when he joined the firm and has admitted to being addicted to cocaine and alcohol, as well as frequenting prostitutes.
Kent, whose testimony was supposed to be helpful to the Democrat’s impeachment effort, also told lawmakers that concerns about corruption within Burisma “were openly voiced long before Trump became president,” according to the Federalist.
According to Kent, he personally raised red flags about a 2016 initiative between the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Burisma due to concerns the company was tied to government corruption in the country. Kent testified that USAID was gearing up for an event with Burisma that involved children, and that he felt uncomfortable seeing children used as photo op props for a company with a reputation for corruption and graft.
According to Democrat leaks, Kent also told impeachment inquisitors that “he and others who typically handled U.S.-Ukraine policy affairs” felt like they had been “effectively sidelined by the Trump administration.”
Those officials were replaced by the so-called “three amigos” according to the recounting of Kent’s testimony by Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., who sits on the House Oversight committee. As NPR reported, Connolly told reporters Tuesday that the personnel moves were agreed upon after a May 23 meeting called by acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.
The three amigos consisted of U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland; Kurt Volker, an envoy to Ukraine who has since resigned; and Energy Secretary Rick Perry.
Of course, President Trump can assemble whatever team he wants to handle U.S.-Ukraine policy affairs, so there’s no scandal there whatsoever.
But if Joe Biden was leading the Obama administration and the international community to go along with a scheme to fire a prosecutor who was about to uncover corruption involving his family—that’s a scandal. And the media’s refusal to cover that scandal is a scandal in and of itself.