Republican Senator Rand Paul is asking the question nearly every conservative voter has been asking over the past few days: “Shouldn’t Congress investigate?”
As its Democratic members are looking into President Trump and his phone conversation with the president of Ukraine, Republicans want to look back into the origins of the whole controversy.
Why was Trump telling Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden?
Biden, in his own words, bragged that he used his office as vice president to strong-arm the Ukrainian government to fire a prosecutor investigating his son. The Hill reports:
In his own words, with video cameras rolling, Biden described how he threatened Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in March 2016 that the Obama administration would pull $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees, sending the former Soviet republic toward insolvency, if it didn’t immediately fire Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin.
“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,’” Biden said per the report, recalling his conversation with Poroshenko.
“Well, son of a b***h, he got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time,” Biden continued.
See Biden’s full interview below:
Here’s more from the Hill:
Interviews with a half-dozen senior Ukrainian officials confirm Biden’s account, though they claim the pressure was applied over several months in late 2015 and early 2016, not just six hours of one dramatic day. Whatever the case, Poroshenko and Ukraine’s parliament obliged by ending Shokin’s tenure as prosecutor. Shokin was facing steep criticism in Ukraine, and among some U.S. officials, for not bringing enough corruption prosecutions when he was fired.
But Ukrainian officials tell me there was one crucial piece of information that Biden must have known but didn’t mention to his audience: The prosecutor he got fired was leading a wide-ranging corruption probe into the natural gas firm Burisma Holdings that employed Biden’s younger son, Hunter, as a board member.
U.S. banking records show Hunter Biden’s American-based firm, Rosemont Seneca Partners LLC, received regular transfers into one of its accounts — usually more than $166,000 a month — from Burisma from spring 2014 through fall 2015, during a period when Vice President Biden was the main U.S. official dealing with Ukraine and its tense relations with Russia.
So—Should all this be investigated?
Rand Paul asked the same question in a tweet on Wednesday morning.
“Did Biden threaten US AID to Ukraine to enrich his son? Shouldn’t Congress investigate?” Paul tweeted with a Fox News op-ed which details “7 essential facts” concerning Biden’s dealings with Ukraine.
Did Biden threaten US AID to Ukraine to enrich his son? Shouldn’t Congress investigate? https://t.co/ZFVc3WpBQm
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) September 25, 2019
In the op-ed, Peter Schweizer, president of the Government Accountability Institute, said he and his company spent “three years investigating former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter and their dealings in the Ukraine and China.”
The op-ed details a money trail connecting Hunter Biden’s business to the Ukrainian energy board Bursinma:
Over a 16-month period, Burisma paid $3.1 million to a bank account associated with Hunter’s business.
Joe Biden led the Obama administration’s policy toward Ukraine when he served as vice president. Biden helped shape Ukraine’s energy and anti-corruption policies, issues that directly impact Burisma.
And, from the op-ed: “Burisma sought to capitalize Hunter Biden’s name and relationships.”
As Burisma continued to expand its legal team—which now consisted of American attorneys and a former Obama Justice Department official thanks to Hunter Biden’s professional connections—it began to face legal pressure from outside countries including a $23 million freeze of Burisma oligarch Mykola Zlochevsky’s assets.
Financial records from Morgan Stanley show numerous lines of money going into the account of “Robert H. Biden.” The funds originated from oligarchs and anonymous LLCs in Ukraine, China, Kazakhstan and elsewhere.
In 2013, then-Vice President Biden and his son Hunter flew aboard Air Force Two to China. Ten days later, Hunter Biden’s firm scored a $1.5 billion deal with a subsidiary of the Chinese government’s Bank of China.