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Old 10-09-2019, 11:11 AM
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Arrow Removed U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine wanted prosecutor

Removed U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine wanted prosecutor who says he was investigating Burisma-Bidengate fired, too

By Robert Romano

Former Vice President Joe Biden was not the only U.S. official getting prosecutors fired in Ukraine.

Now-recalled U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch to Ukraine — removed from her post in May — attempted to have anti-corruption prosecutor Nazar Kholodnytskyi fired in March.

In a March 5 speech to the Ukraine Crisis Media Center, Yovanovitch said, “To ensure the integrity of anticorruption institutions, the Special Anticorruption Prosecutor must be replaced,” accusing Kholodnytskyi of being “recorded coaching suspects on how to avoid corruption charges” and that he could no longer “be trusted to prosecute those very same cases.”

“Those responsible for corruption should be investigated, prosecuted, and if guilty, go to jail. And in order for that to happen, all of the elements of the anti-corruption architecture must be in place and must be working effectively,” Yovanovitch declared.

On March 20, perhaps in response, then-Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko in a recorded interview with The Hill’s John Solomon told him that rooting out corruption in Ukraine was difficult because, in his words, “Unfortunately, from the first meeting with the U.S. ambassador in Kiev, [Yovanovitch] gave me a list of people whom we should not prosecute.”

In Ukraine, this was a massive scandal at the time for then-President Petro Poroshenko who was facing reelection in a few short weeks and came amid more allegations that the Poroshenko administration had helped the Hillary Clinton campaign in 2016 by digging up dirt on then Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort.

Lutsenko also said that the State Department was withholding $4 million of foreign aid that was supposed to go to his office, which the State Department denied, with a spokesperson telling The Hill that “The United States is not currently providing any assistance to the Prosecutor General's Office (PGO), but did previously attempt to support fundamental justice sector reform, including in the PGO, in the aftermath of the 2014 Revolution of Dignity. When the political will for genuine reform by successive Prosecutors General proved lacking, we exercised our fiduciary responsibility to the American taxpayer and redirected assistance to more productive projects.”

Here, again, the State Department appears to have made funding contingent on firing prosecutors, this time Kholodnytskyi.

A couple of weeks later, on April 1, Solomon reported Kholodnytskyi had reopened the office’s investigation of Burisma Holdings following Biden’s Jan. 2018 comments to the Council on Foreign Relations about having the former Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin, Lutsenko’s predecessor, fired in March 2016.

Biden told the Council on Foreign Relations at the Jan. 2018 event he threatened $1.2 billion of loan guarantees to get Shokin fired: “I said, ‘You’re not getting the billion.’ I’m going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money.’ …Well, son of a bitch, he got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time.”

Here, Biden was referring to Lutsenko, the same Prosecutor General that later accused U.S. Ambassador Yovanovitch of giving him a do-not-prosecute list, calling him “someone who was solid.”

Viktor Shokin, Lutsenko’s predecessor who Biden bragged about firing also told The Hill’s John Solomon, prior to the election of the new Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, that he was removed in 2016 because of his investigation of Burisma, which Biden’s son, Hunter, served on the Board of Directors of. Shokin told Solomon he had “specific plans” to investigate including “interrogations and other crime-investigation procedures into all members of the executive board, including Hunter Biden.”

Apparently, the Ukrainian officials were not happy with Biden’s admission to the Council on Foreign Relations about getting Shokin fired. “Unfortunately, Mr. Biden had correlated and connected this aid with some of the HR (personnel) issues and changes in the prosecutor’s office,” Lutsenko told Solomon.

Kholodnytskyi, referring to the Burisma investigation, said, “We were able to start this case again… [But] we don’t see any result from this case one year after the reopening because of some external influence.”

Lutsenko told Solomon he wanted to give the information to Attorney General William Barr. The U.S. and Ukraine signed a mutual legal assistance treaty in 1998.

Then, on April 21, comedian Volodymyr Zelensky trounced Poroshenko in the election on an anti-corruption platform and promising to help end the civil war in Ukraine that began in 2014, garnering 73 percent of the vote.

Weeks later on May 7, Yovanovitch was recalled from her post amid allegations that she was undermining U.S. policy in Ukraine. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo supported the move, according to a senior administration official in an Oct. 3 report by the Wall Street Journal.

This is what the House Democrats’ impeachment is all about: Yovanovitch.

This is not about the July 25, 2019 conversation by President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Zelensky, where Zelensky confirmed the Burisma investigation, which the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s office said in April before Zelensky was even elected was being pursued since 2018.

Zelensky told Trump he knew all about the investigation, “I understand and I’m knowledgeable about the situation [of Biden]... Since we have won the absolute majority in … our Parliament, the next prosecutor general will be 100% my person, my candidate, who will be approved by the parliament and will start as new prosecutor in September. He or she will look into the situation, specifically to the company that you mentioned in this issue.... The issue of the investigation of the case is actually the issue of making sure to restore the honesty so we will take care of that and work on the investigation of the case...”

Zelensky even asked Trump for assistance, saying, “On top of that, I would kindly ask you if you have any additional information that you can provide to us, it would be very helpful for the investigation to make sure that we administer justice in our country…”

No, this is about one disgruntled ambassador who had lost the faith of Ukrainian officials, President Trump and Secretary of State Pompeo amid allegations said she was obstructing Ukraine’s anti-corruption efforts long before Zelensky even won the election. Now, she’s coming to testify to Congress.

Ukraine says it has been investigating corruption including at Burisma in 2018 before Zelensky was even standing for election , and was looking for U.S. help to root it out, not the other way around. Where is the quid pro quo to investigate Biden? In a time machine?

Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited Government.
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Old 10-09-2019, 02:57 PM
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Arrow Does a C-SPAN Video Show Joe Biden ‘Confessing to Bribery’?

Does a C-SPAN Video Show Joe Biden ‘Confessing to Bribery’?
By: Bethania Palma - Per Report by Snoops on - 10- 9-19

The U.S. may have pushed for the firing of a Ukrainian prosecutor, but not for the reasons implied in a video clip.

A C-SPAN video shows former Vice President Joe Biden confessing that he "bribed" Ukraine to drop the Burisma investigation.

Per Shoop's: This is FALSE -

As an impeachment inquiry into U.S. President Donald Trump’s actions commenced in October 2019, so did partisan invocations of whataboutism — a logical fallacy that involves “a reversal of accusation, arguing that an opponent is guilty of an offense just as egregious or worse than what the original party was accused of doing, however unconnected the offenses may be.”

One example of such was a video clip posted to C-SPAN’s website on Sept. 21, 2019 under the title “Joe Biden Confesses to Bribery.” The video was accompanied by a caption reading “Former Vice President Joe Biden confesses to being in charge of Ukraine for the Obama Administration, and withholding $1 billion in loan guarantees from the USA to force Ukraine to fire prosecutor who was looking into the company that Hunter Biden was receiving $83,000+ PER MONTH from”:

Video link:

The user-created clip fostered a false impression by pairing a misleading caption with an excerpt from a much longer video with no context. (The video carries a statement from C-SPAN noting that “This clip, title, and description were not created by C-SPAN.”)

President Trump has been accused by a whistleblower, and is under a House-led impeachment inquiry, for allegedly attempting to coerce Ukraine into provide damaging information on Trump political rival Joe Biden by withholding crucial military aid from that country. The video on C-SPAN’s website attempted to show Biden, a potential political rival for the presidency in 2020, admitting to a parallel wrongdoing during a trip to Ukraine in 2016:

And I went over, I guess, the 12th, 13th time to Kiev. And I was supposed to announce that there was another billion-dollar loan guarantee. And I had gotten a commitment from Poroshenko and from Yatsenyuk that they would take action against the state prosecutor. And they didn’t.

So they said they had — they were walking out to a press conference. I said, nah, I’m not going to — or, we’re not going to give you the billion dollars. They said, you have no authority. You’re not the president. The president said — I said, call him. I said, I’m telling you, you’re not getting the billion dollars. I said, you’re not getting the billion. I’m going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money. Well, son of a bitch. (Laughter.) He got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time.

The video clip was taken from a portion of a talk Biden gave in January 2018 at a Council on Foreign Relations meeting in Washington, D.C., which was held in conjunction with the publication of the January/February issue of Foreign Affairs magazine. Biden had co-authored an article for that month’s issue with former White House official Michael Carpenter, titled “How to Stand Up to the Kremlin: Defending Democracy Against Its Enemies.”

In the excerpted portion of the clip, Biden was discussing his efforts on behalf of the Obama administration to pressure Ukraine into to prosecuting corruption and firing Viktor Shokin, an ineffective prosecutor. That effort by Biden has been used by Trump supporters to argue, inaccurately, that Biden single-handedly had Shokin fired because Shokin was investigating Burisma, a Ukrainian group of energy exploration and production companies of which Biden’s son Hunter was a board member.

However, Shokin was not fired for investigating Burisma, but for his failure to pursue corruption investigations — including investigations connected to Burisma. And Biden wasn’t alone in the effort to push Shokin out, but rather was spearheading the Obama administration’s policy, which represented a consensus among diplomats, officials from various European countries, and the International Monetary Fund that Shokin was an impediment to rooting out corruption in his country, according to Bloomberg:

Per Snoops:

Shokin became prosecutor general in February 2015. Over the next year, the U.S. and the International Monetary Fund criticized officials for not doing enough to fight corruption in Ukraine …

The U.S. plan to push for Shokin’s dismissal didn’t initially come from Biden, but rather filtered up from officials at the U.S. Embassy in Kiev, according to a person with direct knowledge of the situation. Embassy personnel had called for U.S. loan guarantees to Ukraine to be tied to broader anti-corruption efforts, including Shokin’s dismissal, this person said.

Biden’s threat to withhold $1 billion [in U.S. loan guarantees] if Ukraine didn’t crack down on corruption reportedly came in March [2016]. That same month, hundreds of Ukrainians demonstrated outside President Petro Poroshenko’s office demanding Shokin’s resignation, and he was dismissed.

Moreover, among the reasons the U.S. and others sought Shokin’s ouster was his failure to assist with or pursue an investigation of Burisma Holdings’ owner:

SNOOP'S: Hunter Biden joined [Burisma’s] board in April 2014, two months after U.K. authorities requested information from Ukraine as part of a probe against [Burisma Holdings owner Mykola] Zlochevsky related to money laundering allegations. Zlochevsky had been minister of environmental protection under then-President Viktor Yanukovych, who fled to Russia in February 2014 after mass protests.

After the U.K. request, Ukrainian prosecutors opened their own case, accusing Zlochevsky of embezzling public funds. Burisma and Zlochevsky have denied the allegations.

The case against Zlochevsky and his Burisma Holdings was assigned to Shokin, then a deputy prosecutor. But Shokin and others weren’t pursuing it, according to the internal reports from the Ukrainian prosecutor’s office reviewed by Bloomberg.

In a December 2014 letter, U.S. officials warned Ukrainian prosecutors of negative consequences for Ukraine over its failure to assist the U.K., which had seized Zlochevsky’s assets, according to the documents.

Shokin took no action to pursue cases against Zlochevsky throughout 2015, said [Vitaliy] Kasko, who was Shokin’s deputy overseeing international cooperation and helping in asset-recovery investigations. Kasko said he had urged Shokin to pursue the investigations.

“There was no pressure from anyone from the U.S. to close cases against Zlochevsky,” Kasko said in an interview. “It was shelved by Ukrainian prosecutors in 2014 and through 2015.”

That’s not to say the former vice president’s 2018 commentary at the Council on Foreign Relations meeting was worded well. Before his remarks morphed into “evidence” for claims that Biden ordered Ukraine to fire Shokin for investigating Burisma, they were picked up by Russian government-controlled outlets such as RT and Sputnik to levy accusations that the Obama administration was engaged in heavy-handed meddling in Ukraine’s affairs.

Biden’s Foreign Affairs Issue Launch with Joe Biden - his remarks can bee seen in full in the video below:

Video link:

O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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