Patterico's Pontifications


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

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:08 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?

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 75, Part 1

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 12:01 am

It is the sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost. Today’s Bach cantata is the first part of the cantata “Die Elenden sollen essen” (The miserable shall eat):

Today’s Gospel reading is Luke 16:19-31:

The Rich Man and Lazarus

“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.

“The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’

“But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’

“He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’

“Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’

“‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’

“He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

The text of today’s piece is available here. It contains these words:

The wretched shall eat until they are satisfied, and those who ask after the Lord, shall praise Him. Your hearts shall live forever.

What good is the majesty of royalty
when it passes away?
What good is the greatest abundance,
since everything that we see
must disappear?
What good is the tickling of vain thoughts,
since our bodies themselves must be gone?
Ah, how quickly it happens,
that riches, pleasure, grandeur
send the spirit to hell!

. . . .

God topples and exalts
in time and in eternity.
Whoever seeks heaven in the world,
will be cursed hereafter.
But whoever overcomes hell here,
will be overjoyed hereafter.

I take my sorrows upon me with joy.
Whoever bears Lazarus’ torments
the angels will take to themselves.

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

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