Lies That Went Unanswered

The Republicans were relatively successful in knocking down some of the lies told during the impeachment hearings, but they missed a few. At one point Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, under oath, asserted all the factual elements in John Solomon’s columns at The Hill about Ukraine were false, except maybe the grammar. John Solomon posted an article at his website yesterday disputing that assertion.

The article lists the following facts:

Fact 1: Hunter Biden was hired in May 2014 by Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian natural gas company, at a time when his father Joe Biden was Vice President and overseeing US-Ukraine Policy. Here is the announcement. Hunter Biden’s hiring came just a few short weeks after Joe Biden urged Ukraine to expand natural gas production and use Americans to help. You can read his comments to the Ukrainian prime minister here. Hunter Biden’s firm then began receiving monthly payments totaling $166,666. You can see those payments here.

Fact 2: Burisma was under investigation by British authorities for corruption and soon came under investigation by Ukrainian authorities led by Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin.

Fact 3: Vice President Joe Biden and his office were alerted by a December 2015 New York Times article that Shokin’s office was investigating Burisma and that Hunter Biden’s role at the company was undercutting his father’s anticorruption efforts in Ukraine.

Fact 4: The Biden-Burisma issue created the appearance of a conflict of interest, especially for State Department officials. I especially refer you to State official George Kent’s testimony here. He testified he viewed Burisma as corrupt and the Bidens as creating the perception of a conflict of interest. His concerns both caused him to contact the vice president’s office and to block a project that State’s USAID agency was planning with Burisma in 2016. In addition, Ambassador Yovanovitch testified she, too, saw the Bidens-Burisma connection as creating the appearance of a conflict of interest. You can read her testimony here.

Fact 5: The Obama White House invited Shokin’s prosecutorial team to Washington for meetings in January 2016 to discuss their anticorruption investigations. You can read about that here. Also, here is the official agenda for that meeting in Ukraine and English. I call your attention to the NSC organizer of the meeting.

Fact 6: The Ukraine investigation of Hunter Biden’s employer, Burisma Holdings, escalated in February 2016 when Shokin’s office raided the home of company owner Mykola Zlochevsky and seized his property. Here is the announcement of that court-approved raid.

Fact 7: Shokin was making plans in February 2016 to interview Hunter Biden as part of his investigation. You can read his interview with me here, his sworn deposition to a court here and his interview with ABC News here.

Fact 8: Burisma’s American representatives lobbied the State Department in late February 2016 to help end the corruption allegations against the company, and specifically invoked Hunter Biden’s name as a reason to intervene. You can read State officials’ account of that effort here

Fact 9: Joe Biden boasted in a 2018 videotape that he forced Ukraine’s president to fire Shokin in March 2016 by threatening to withhold $1 billion in U.S. aid. You can view his videotape here.

Fact 10: Shokin stated in interviews with me and ABC News that he was told he was fired because Joe Biden was unhappy the Burisma investigation wasn’t shut down. He made that claim anew in this sworn deposition prepared for a court in Europe. You can read that here.

Fact 11:  The day Shokin’s firing was announced in March 2016, Burisma’s legal representatives sought an immediate meeting with his temporary replacement to address the ongoing investigation. You can read the text of their emails here.

Fact 12: Burisma’s legal representatives secured that meeting April 6, 2016 and told Ukrainian prosecutors that “false information” had been spread to justify Shokin’s firing, according to a Ukrainian government memo about the meeting. The representatives also offered to arrange for the remaining Ukrainian prosecutors to meet with U.S  State and Justice officials. You can read the Ukrainian prosecutors’ summary memo of the meeting here and here and the Burisma lawyers’ invite to Washington here.

Fact 13: Burisma officials eventually settled the Ukraine investigations in late 2016 and early 2017, paying a multimillion dollar fine for tax issues. You can read their lawyer’s February 2017 announcement of the end of the investigations here.

Fact 14: In March 2019, Ukraine authorities reopened an investigation against Burisma and Zlochevsky based on new evidence of money laundering. You can read NABU’s February 2019 recommendation to re-open the case here, the March 2019 notice of suspicion by Ukraine prosecutors here and a May 2019 interview here with a Ukrainian senior law enforcement official stating the investigation was ongoing. And here is an announcement this week that the Zlochevsky/Burisma probe has been expanded to include allegations of theft of Ukrainian state funds.  

Fact 15: The Ukraine embassy in Washington issued a statement in April 2019 admitting that a Democratic National Committee contractor named Alexandra Chalupa solicited Ukrainian officials in spring 2016 for dirt on Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort in hopes of staging a congressional hearing close to the 2016 election that would damage Trump’s election chances. You can read the embassy’s statement here and here. Your colleague, Dr. Fiona Hill, confirmed this episode, testifying “Ukraine bet on the wrong horse. They bet on Hillary Clinton winning.” You can read her testimony here.

Fact 16: Chalupa sent an email to top DNC officials in May 2016 acknowledging she was working on the Manafort issue. You can read the email here.

Fact 17: Ukraine’s ambassador to Washington, Valeriy Chaly, wrote an OpEd in The Hill in August 2016 slamming GOP nominee Donald Trump for his policies on Russia despite a Geneva Convention requirement that ambassadors not become embroiled in the internal affairs or elections of their host countries. You can read Ambassador Chaly’s OpEd here and the Geneva Convention rules of conduct for foreign diplomats here. And your colleagues Ambassador Yovanovitch and Dr. Hill both confirmed this, with Dr. Hill testifying this week that Chaly’s OpEd was “probably not the most advisable thing to do.”

Fact 18: A Ukrainian district court ruled in December 2018 that the summer 2016 release of information by Ukrainian Parliamentary member Sergey Leschenko and NABU director Artem Sytnyk about an ongoing investigation of Manafort amounted to an improper interference by Ukraine’s government in the 2016 U.S. election.  You can read the court ruling here. Leschenko and Sytnyk deny the allegations, and have won an appeal to suspend that ruling on a jurisdictional technicality.

Fact 19: George Soros’ Open Society Foundation issued a memo in February 2016 on its strategy for Ukraine, identifying the nonprofit Anti-Corruption Action Centre as the lead for its efforts. You can read the memo here.

Fact 20: The State Department and Soros’ foundation jointly funded the Anti-Corruption Action Centre. You can read about that funding here from the Centre’s own funding records and George Kent’s testimony about it here.

Fact 21: In April 2016, US embassy charge d’affaires George Kent sent a letter to the Ukrainian prosecutor general’s office demanding that Ukrainian prosecutors stand down a series of investigations into how Ukrainian nonprofits spent U.S. aid dollars, including the Anti-Corruption Actions Centre. You can read that letter here. Kent testified he signed the letter here.

Fact 22: Then-Ukraine Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko said in a televised interview with me that Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch during a 2016 meeting provided the lists of names of Ukrainian nationals and groups she did want to see prosecuted. You can see I accurately quoted him by watching the video here.

Fact 23: Ambassador Yovanovitch and her embassy denied Lutsenko’s claim, calling it a “fabrication.” I reported their reaction here.

Fact 24: Despite the differing accounts of what happened at the Lutsenko-Yovanovitch meeting, a senior U.S. official in an interview arranged by the State Department stated to me in spring 2019 that US officials did pressure Lutsenko’s office on several occasions not to “prosecute, investigate or harass” certain Ukrainian activists, including Parliamentary member Leschenko, journalist Vitali Shabunin, the Anti-Corruption Action Centre and NABU director Sytnyk. You can read that official’s comments here. In addition, George Kent confirmed this same information in his deposition here.

Fact 25: In May 2018, then-House Rules Committee chairman Pete Sessions sent an official congressional letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asking that Yovanovitch be recalled as ambassador to Ukraine. Sessions and State confirmed the official letter, which you can read here.

Fact 26: In fall 2018, Ukrainian prosecutors, using a third party, hired an American lawyer (a former U.S. attorney) to proffer information to the U.S. government about certain activities at the U.S. embassy, involving Burisma and involving the 2016 election, that they believed might have violated U.S. law. You can read their account here. You can also confirm it independently by talking to the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan or the American lawyer representing the Ukrainian prosecutors’ interests.

Fact 27: In May 2016, one of George Soros’ top aides secured a meeting with the top Eurasia policy official in the State Department to discuss Russian bond issues. You can read the State memos on that meeting here.

Fact 28: In June 2016, Soros himself secured a telephonic meeting with Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland to discuss Ukraine policy. You can read the State memos on that meeting here.

In the article John Solomon asks Lt. Col. Vindman to provide any information that contradicts these facts. If Lt. Col. Vindman is not able to do that, he needs to correct his testimony.

Don’t Look For This Name On The Witness List

Yesterday The New York Post posted an article about Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko.

The article reports:

Badly undermining Democrats’ impeachment narrative, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko told the press in Kiev on Thursday, “I have never seen a direct relationship between investigations and security assistance.”

That is, between the investigations President Trump wanted into 1) Ukrainian interference in the 2016 campaign and 2) Joe and Hunter Biden and the Ukrainian firm Burisma, on the one hand, and US aid that Trump put on hold this summer, on the other.

He specified that he didn’t hear that message from Trump’s top envoy, Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland, who “did not tell us, and did not tell me exactly, about the relation between the assistance and the investigations.”

In summary: “Yes, investigations were mentioned, you know, in a presidential conversation. But there was no clear connection between these events.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has also made it plain he never felt undue pressure to investigate the Bidens. And he never did, yet the aid went through anyway.

If you were paying close attention to the circus in Washington, you probably noticed that the charges against President Trump have suddenly changed from quid pro quo to bribery. That is the result of focus groups engaged by the Democrats that showed that the concept of bribery carried more impact that the idea of quid pro quo. When bribery doesn’t resonate the way they want it to, they will move on to something else. Meanwhile we have trade deals that need to be approved and infrastructure that is crumbling. Hopefully, the voters will replace the ‘resistance’ leaders in the House of Representatives in the next election.

All Of These People Have Histories

I haven’t watched the impeachment hearings today. It annoys me that they are even happening. I am sure I will hear about them later from various news sources. I am also sure that what I hear will depend on the news source I choose. That is one of the reasons America is so divided right now–we can’t even agree on basic facts and the mainstream media is reporting opinion–not facts. Just for the record, rightwinggranny is an opinion blog that deals in facts.

The Gateway Pundit posted an article today about one of the witnesses in the hearing. It seems that George Kent has an interesting history.

The article reports:

Adam Schiff and the media will likely not touch on his controversial past in Ukraine.
According to Rudy Giuliani Kent was the official behind the dismissal of the Ukrainian government investigation of George Soros’s AntAC organization.

Rudy Giuliani tore into the Schiff show trials and their empty case against President Trump.

Rudy Giuliani: Also George Kent has a problem of his own. George Kent wrote a letter in which he asked that a case be dismissed by Lutsenko. And it was a case against Soros’s NGO AntAC and that company AntAC was right in the middle of gathering the dirty material on Trump, on Donald Trump Jr. It worked with Fusion GPS. The dismissal of that case has cost the government a lot of evidence that could be very, very damning in regard to collusion. But there’s enough left. There’s enough evidence left of collusion so that you got a very, very strong case that the DNC and Hillary Clinton were paying for and gathering information for Ukraine. In fact some of it is even documentary evidence… I would like to cross-examine George Kent. George Kent was her deputy, Marie Yovanovitch’s deputy. He was also the guy who set up the two so-called anti-corruption bureaus in the Ukraine that turned out to be Soros protection bureaus.

The article continues:

Kent is not a first-hand witness and much of his testimony is based off of second-hand knowledge. [Page 206-207]

Kevin Bacon has fewer degrees of separation to the Trump Zelensky call than George Kent.

That being said, his closed-door testimony revealed far more devastating pushback on the Democrat narrative than anything else.

Kent testified that it is appropriate for the State Department to look at the level of corruption in a country when evaluating foreign aid. [Page 103]

(Reminder: The Trump administration sent Ukraine lethal aid.)

Kent also testified that Hunter Biden being on the board of Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma while Joe Biden was VP was a conflict of interest. [Page 226-227]

And according to his testimony, when he raised corruption concerns with the Obama White House, he was rebuffed and was told “There was no further bandwidth to deal” with Hunter. [Page 226-227]

It really does look like we are investigating the wrong people.

Following The Money

We don’t pay our national leaders a lot of money, yet many of them become millionaires while in office or shortly after leaving office. It happens on both sides of the aisle, and I believe it is time we looked into how this occurs. Meanwhile, in one instance someone has.

The Ukraine News Agency is reporting today that Burisma Group, a Ukrainian energy company, paid former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden received $900,000 for lobbying activities. This was reported by Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada member Andriy Derkach, who cited investigation materials.

The article reports:

Derkach publicized documents which, as he said, “describe the mechanism of getting money by Biden Sr.” at a press conference at Interfax-Ukraine’s press center in Kyiv on Wednesday.

“This was the transfer of Burisma Group’s funds for lobbying activities, as investigators believe, personally to Joe Biden through a lobbying company. Funds in the amount of $900,000 were transferred to the U.S.-based company Rosemont Seneca Partners, which according to open sources, in particular, the New York Times, is affiliated with Biden. The payment reference was payment for consultative services,” Derkach said.

He also publicized sums that were transferred to Burisma Group representatives, in particular Hunter Biden, a son of the former U.S. vice president.

“According to the documents, Burisma paid no less than $16.5 million to [former Polish President, who became an independent director at Burisma Holdings in 2014] Aleksander Kwasniewski, [chairman of the Burisma board of independent directors] Alan Apter, [Burisma independent director] Devon Archer and Hunter Biden [who joined the Burisma board of directors in 2014],” Derkach said.

“Using political and economic levelers of influencing Ukrainian authorities and manipulating the issue of providing financial aid to Ukraine, Joe Biden actively assisted closing criminal cases into the activity of former Ukrainian Ecology Minister Mykola Zlochevsky, who is the founder and owner of Burisma Group,” he said.

The article concludes:

It was reported earlier that Derkach publicized correspondence between the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) and officers of the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv. According to publicized correspondence, starting from July 14, 2017, the lists of criminal proceedings undertaken by NABU officers were sent from the electronic mailbox of Polina Chyzh, an assistant to NABU first deputy head Gizo Uglava, to the electronic mailbox of Hanna Yemelianova, a legal specialist of the anti-corruption program of the U.S. Justice Department at U.S. Embassy in Ukraine.

Derkach also said that NABU-leak materials will be published on his Facebook account and materials that he got from investigating journalists have already been passed to Ukraine’s State Bureau of Investigations and the Prosecutor’s General Office.

He also said he will initiate the creation of an ad hoc parliamentary investigative commission and has already requested launching a criminal case against Ukrainian officials into interference into U.S. elections. The court session is scheduled for October 21, he said.

Burisma Holdings is a Cyprus-registered gas producing company holding assets in Ukraine. It is one of Ukraine’s top-three independent gas producers headquartered in Kyiv. Zlochevsky is the founder and the ultimate beneficiary owner of the company.

It may be a blessing to the Democrats that Joe Biden is no longer their leading presidential candidate.