The public is mostly unaware that a key motive behind the Democrats’ impeachment effort was to criminalize any interest in the Biden family’s shady dealings with the persistently corrupt country of Ukraine. As damaging news coverage of Hunter Biden’s multimillion dollar gig with Burisma, the troubled Ukrainian energy company, escalated in the fall of 2019 and threatened to derail Joe Biden’s third run for the presidency, the Biden campaign declared open season on journalists.
A Biden spokeswoman lashed out at the New York Times for publishing “malicious claims” about her boss and his son; the campaign warned social media companies not to run ads featuring the infamous clip of Biden bragging about trading U.S. foreign aid in exchange for the firing of a prosecutor investigating Burisma. The fervor quickly died down after Democrats successfully changed the subject, building an impeachment case against President Trump that portrayed his brief mention of the Bidens during a phone call with the Ukrainian president as “election interference.”
The gambit has worked so far. Hunter Biden and Burisma effectively disappeared from the pages of the New York Times, the paper that first revealed in 2015 the younger Biden’s ties to Burisma; all major news outlets followed suit. Hidin’ Biden no longer faces even softball questions from the press or the public about his past activities in Kyiv, where he served as Barack Obama’s “point person” and doled out billions in U.S. tax dollars to a grateful regime.
But Team Biden seems worried again. Kate Bedingfield, Biden’s spokeswoman who consistently threatens the media not to publish “disinformation,” a.k.a. facts, about the Bidens and Ukraine, issued another decree last month.
This time, Bedingfield is gunning for Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee; Johnson is pushing ahead with his investigation into Burisma and its influence during the final years of the Obama Administration.
“In the coming weeks, Johnson will attempt to relitigate comprehensively discredited accusations that Donald Trump drove himself into impeachment trying to force others to legitimize,” Bedingfield, copping to the impeachment head-fake, wrote on July 22. “Johnson will strain to provoke Democrats into responding to specific truncated and out of context snippets from documents and bad faith questioning of witnesses.”
To add some much-needed Russian collusion pack to her punch, as I wrote earlier this week, Bedingfield accused the two-term senator from Oshkosh of acting as a Kremlin stooge for allegedly relying on information from a member of the Ukrainian parliament. She claimed Andriy Derkach, who met with Trump lawyer and confidante Rudy Guiliani last December in Kyiv, is the “Ukrainian Putin” and allegedly sent materials to key Republican lawmakers, which makes Johnson part of a “foreign interference operation.”
Derkach, it seems, has the goods on Biden. In May, he released recordings of phone calls that appear to document Biden’s threat to withhold U.S. aid until the Ukrainian prosecutor investigating Burisma was fired. The phone calls involve Biden, former Secretary of State John Kerry, and the Ukrainian president at the time. (Hunter Biden and Kerry’s son-in-law were business partners.) Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has opened up a criminal probe into his predecessor based on the tapes.
But perhaps Team Biden is rattled about more than just bad press right before election day.
While all eyes are focused on U.S. Attorney John Durham’s probe into Crossfire Hurricane, Attorney General William Barr presumably is moving forward with various investigations into Ukraine.
In a February letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), the Justice Department confirmed that two U.S. attorneys are handling “several open matters . . . that in some way potentially relate to Ukraine.”
A spokesman for the Eastern District of New York, one of the offices tasked with the Ukraine-related inquiry, declined to comment on the probe to American Greatness. As of press time late Thursday, neither the main Justice Department nor the U.S. attorney’s office in Pittsburgh responded to a request for comment.
Johnson, bruised after a rough interview this week with Hugh Hewitt (who roasted the senator for the GOP’s lack of action on Obamagate), later had to clarify his remarks, but he seems undeterred in pursuing his investigation.
Johnson announced he would subpoena Jonathan Winer, a former top official in John Kerry’s State Department, which was heavily lobbied by Burisma-paid Democratic operatives in 2015 and 2016. (Winer also was a neighbor of Fusion GPS chief Glenn Simpson and a longtime pal of Christopher Steele; Winer helped circulate the Steele dossier.)
In a lengthy letter defending his work, Johnson posed several questions that both Bidens should be forced to answer.
“Did Burisma, its owner, or representatives receive special access to, or treatment from, U.S. agencies or officials because of Hunter Biden’s role on the board of directors?” Johnson wrote August 10. “Exactly when, and for what reasons, did the U.S. government decide to condition a $1 billion loan guarantee for Ukraine on the termination of Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin? What exactly had Shokin done that caused you to threaten to withhold $1 billion in desperately needed aid from Ukraine if President Poroshenko didn’t fire him?”
Investigative reporter John Solomon also is making inroads on his independent inquiry into the Bidens. State Department memos released under a Freedom of Information Act request confirm Burisma’s successful outreach and use of Biden’s name to gain access.
“They show far more contact between Burisma and the U.S. embassy in [Kyiv] than was acknowledged by witnesses during President Trump’s impeachment proceedings earlier this year,” Solomon reported on August 12. “The memos show Burisma’s lobbying efforts were led by a Democratic firm called Blue Star Strategies and aided by the nonprofit Atlantic Council foreign policy think tank, stretching from the State Department’s executive suite in Washington at the start of the election to the U.S. embassy in [Kyiv] in the waning days of the Obama administration.”
The memos also acknowledge contact between Burisma representatives and key impeachment witnesses including Marie Yovanovitch, former ambassador to Ukraine, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent.
The media, of course, will continue to take its marching orders from Team Biden until Election Day. Johnson is the newest Russian collusion villain; Ukraine, American voters will be told, is old news and a liability for the president, not his Democratic opponent.
But plenty of Biden bombshells could come to light by Johnson’s committee, the Justice Department, and conservative media over the next several weeks; it will be too late for a rushed impeachment trial to save Biden again.