A new report for The Hill by award-winning investigative reporter John Solomon presents details from “hundreds of pages of never-released memos and documents,” many from inside the American team helping the company at the center of the Biden-Ukraine controversy, that “conflict” with Joe Biden’s claim that he pressured Ukraine to remove its top prosecutor because he was failing to weed out corruption, rather than the prosecutor’s investigation into the company paying Hunter Biden some $600,000 a year.
While Biden maintains that he only strong-armed Ukraine to replace its chief prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, because of allegations of his corruption and mishandling of his job — not because of Shokin’s investigation into Burisma Holdings, which hired Biden’s son just weeks after President Obama appointed Biden to oversee U.S.-Ukraine relations — Solomon found that previously undisclosed documents “conflict with Biden’s narrative.”
“Hundreds of pages of never-released memos and documents — many from inside the American team helping Burisma to stave off its legal troubles — conflict with Biden’s narrative,” Solomon reported Thursday. “And they raise the troubling prospect that U.S. officials may have painted a false picture in Ukraine that helped ease Burisma’s legal troubles and stop prosecutors’ plans to interview Hunter Biden during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.”
For instance, Burisma’s American legal representatives met with Ukrainian officials just days after Biden forced the firing of the country’s chief prosecutor and offered ‘an apology for dissemination of false information by U.S. representatives and public figures’ about the Ukrainian prosecutors, according to the Ukrainian government’s official memo of the meeting. The effort to secure that meeting began the same day the prosecutor’s firing was announced.
In addition, Burisma’s American team offered to introduce Ukrainian prosecutors to Obama administration officials to make amends, according to that memo and the American legal team’s internal emails.
“If the Ukraine prosecutor’s firing involved only his alleged corruption and ineptitude, why did Burisma’s American legal team refer to those allegations as ‘false information?'” Solomon asks. “If the firing had nothing to do with the Burisma case, as Biden has adamantly claimed, why would Burisma’s American lawyers contact the replacement prosecutor within hours of the termination and urgently seek a meeting in Ukraine to discuss the case?”
According to Solomon, Ukrainian prosecutors say they have tried to get this information to the Department of Justice since the summer of 2018 because they believe it “might be evidence of possible violations of U.S. ethics laws,” but the DOJ “showed no interest.” In response, the prosecutors contacted Trump’s personal lawyer and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
In their famous July 25 call, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told Trump that he is “knowledgeable” about the Burisma-Biden situation and that investigating the case is important in “making sure to restore the honesty” between the countries, Solomon notes.
Solomon also highlights a “newly sworn affidavit prepared for a European court,” in which Shokin testified that he was informed when he was fired in March 2016 that it was because of his investigation into Burisma.
“The truth is that I was forced out because I was leading a wide-ranging corruption probe into Burisma Holdings, a natural gas firm active in Ukraine and Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, was a member of the Board of Directors,” said Shokin. “On several occasions President Poroshenko asked me to have a look at the case against Burisma and consider the possibility of winding down the investigative actions in respect of this company but I refused to close this investigation.”
Solomon stresses that Shokin “certainly would have reason to hold a grudge over his firing,” but the newly revealed documents seem to align with his account.
Solomon goes on to summarize the history of the Burisma-Biden controversy, starting with The New York Times‘ initial report on the suspicious decision by the company to hire Hunter Biden weeks after his father was tasked with overseeing relations with Ukraine.
“Documents I obtained this year detail an effort to change the narrative after the Times story about Hunter Biden, with the help of the Obama State Department,” Solomon writes. (Read Solomon’s full report here.)