The Jury Talks Back

9/29/2019

So Was Shokin Still Investigating Biden When He Was Fired, Or Not?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 10:09 am

There are a lot of different narratives floating out there about Viktor Shokin.

Washington Post:

Trump has claimed that Joe Biden in 2015 pressured the Ukrainian government to fire Shokin because he was investigating Burisma.

But the investigation had already been set aside when Biden acted. Yuri Lutsenko, a former Ukrainian prosecutor general who succeeded the fired prosecutor, told Bloomberg News that there was no evidence of wrongdoing by Joe or Hunter Biden.

But Shokin has submitted an affidavit, obtained by John Solomon, saying that the investigation was still active. Here’s Solomon:

In a newly sworn affidavit prepared for a European court, Shokin testified that when he was fired in March 2016, he was told the reason was that Biden was unhappy about the Burisma investigation. “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,” Shokin testified.

“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,” Shokin added.

Shokin has reason to have a grudge against Biden, who has boasted about getting Shokin fired (although aspects of Biden’s story seem characteristically fanciful).

Other folks besides just Biden wanted Shokin gone. The New York Times reported in 2016:

The United States and other Western nations had for months called for the ousting of Mr. Shokin, who was widely criticized for turning a blind eye to corrupt practices and for defending the interests of a venal and entrenched elite. He was one of several political figures in Kiev whom reformers and Western diplomats saw as a worrying indicator of a return to past corrupt practices, two years after a revolution that was supposed to put a stop to self-dealing by those in power.

As the problems festered, Kiev drew increasingly sharp criticism from Western diplomats and leaders. In a visit in December, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. said corruption was eating Ukraine “like a cancer.” Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, which props up Ukraine financially, said last month that progress was so slow in fighting corruption that “it’s hard to see how the I.M.F.-supported program can continue.”

. . . .

Foreign donors had complained about rot in the prosecutor’s office, not least because much of the money suspected of being stolen was theirs.

In one high-profile example, known in Ukraine as the case of the “diamond prosecutors,” troves of diamonds, cash and other valuables were found in the homes of two of Mr. Shokin’s subordinates, suggesting that they had been taking bribes.

But the case became bogged down, with no reasons given. When a department in Mr. Shokin’s office tried to bring it to trial, the prosecutors were fired or resigned. The perpetrators seemed destined to get off with claims that the stones were not worth very much.

For many Ukrainians, the case encapsulated a failure to follow through on the sweeping promises made during the heady days of the revolution to root out corruption and establish a modern, transparent state. Instead, there has seemed to be a return to business-as-usual horse-trading and compromise among the tightly knit Ukrainian oligarchic and business elite.

Since his appointment a year ago, Mr. Shokin had been criticized for not prosecuting officials, businessmen and members of Parliament for their roles in corrupt schemes during the government of former President Viktor F. Yanukovych.

The notion that this was just Biden is a partisan lie. But the fact that Shokin makes this accusation that he was still investigating Biden — while that accusation may be the dishonest grumbling of a disgruntled corruptocrat — should be more widely reported by the media. The fact that it isn’t fuels the suspicions of those who follow conspiracy theory Web sites.

I don’t know for sure what to make of all this, although when I read the NYT story from 2016, Shokin sure seems dirty. This is another complication in a story that Republicans hope to make as messy as possible, to give the widest latitude for conspiracy theories to take hold and save the hide of their corrupt leader.

P.S. If you’re upset about Hunter Biden’s $50k per month position and thinks that sounds corrupt, you’re right. I assume you’re also upset about the way Trump’s children take advantage of their father’s position for personal gain. Right?

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