- Jul 13, 2005
Really, you have evidence of this? Please, i'd like to see it.
Trump has claimed Biden forced out Ukraine's top prosecutor in order to benefit his son. Former diplomats say the prosecutor wasn't doing his job.
Explainer: Biden, allies pushed out Ukrainian prosecutor because he didn't pursue corruption cases
read it and weep…….
WASHINGTON – A whistleblower complaint centering on President Donald Trump's phone call with the Ukrainian president has spurred a number of allegations and counterallegations as Republicans and Democrats jockey for position amid an impeachment inquiry.
At the heart of Congress' probe into the president's actions is his claim that former Vice President and 2020 Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden strong-armed the Ukrainian government to fire its top prosecutor in order to thwart an investigation into a company tied to his son, Hunter Biden.
But sources ranging from former Obama administration officials to an anti-corruption advocate in Ukraine say the official, Viktor Shokin, was ousted for the opposite reason Trump and his allies claim.
It wasn't because Shokin was investigating a natural gas company tied to Biden's son; it was because Shokin wasn't pursuing corruption among the country's politicians, according to a Ukrainian official and four former American officials who specialized in Ukraine and Europe.
Shokin's inaction prompted international calls for his ouster and ultimately resulted in his removal by Ukraine's parliament.
Without pressure from Joe Biden, European diplomats, the International Monetary Fund and other international organizations, Shokin would not have been fired, said Daria Kaleniuk, co-founder and executive director of the Anti Corruption Action Centre in Kiev.
"Civil society organizations in Ukraine were pressing for his resignation," Kaleniuk said, "but no one would have cared if there had not been voices from outside this country calling on him to go."
In a July phone call, Trump asked the president of Ukraine to investigate Biden's actions. That prompted a whistleblower to accuse Trump of asking a foreign government to interfere in the 2020 presidential election, which is now the subject of an impeachment inquiry.
Trump's assertion contradicted
The actions at the center of Trump's allegation occurred in late 2015 and early 2016, when U.S. aid was critical to Ukraine. Russia had seized control of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula and was supporting separatists who were fighting Ukrainian forces in the eastern part of the country.
Biden took an interest in Ukraine, said Steven Pifer, a William J. Perry fellow at Stanford University and former ambassador to Ukraine under President Bill Clinton.
"You saw the vice president begin to emerge as really sort of the senior policy lead on Ukraine," Pifer said. "It's good to have attention at that level."
At one point, Biden withheld $1 billion in aid to Ukraine to pressure the government to remove Shokin from the Prosecutor General's Office.
Trump and his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani claim Biden did this to quash Shokin's investigation into Ukraine's largest gas company, Burisma Holdings, and its owner, oligarch Mykola Zlochevsky.
They say this benefited Biden's son, Hunter Biden, who served on Burisma's board of directors – for which he was paid $50,000 a month.
Their assertion is contradicted by former diplomatic officials who were following the issue at the time.
Burisma Holdings was not under scrutiny at the time Joe Biden called for Shokin's ouster, according to the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine, an independent agency set up in 2014 that has worked closely with the FBI.
Shokin's office had investigated Burisma, but the probe focused on a period before Hunter Biden joined the company, according to the anti-corruption bureau.
The investigation dealt with the Ministry of Ecology, which allegedly granted special permits to Burisma between 2010 and 2012, the agency said. Hunter Biden did not join the company until 2014.