The mainstream media is reviewing former Vice President Joe Biden’s biography, What’s Eating Gilbert Grope?, and most of the reviews are defending the possible 2020 presidential candidate’s actions. From calling the creepiness factor “affectionate” to describing it as a “physical style,” the press is going to bat for the former senator, seemingly because he has the best shot of kicking President Donald Trump out of the Oval Office. And we all know this is the Fourth Estate’s primary objective heading into election season.
Ostensibly, the punditry class glanced over an important chapter of his memoir: Ukraine. His involvement in the Eastern European country could be the real scandal that injects his potential campaign into oblivion, not women with political motives coming forward years later.
Like an airplane peanuts joke, what’s the deal with Ukraine?
Our Man in Kiev
In December 2015, Biden visited Ukraine for several meetings with the nation’s top leaders, discussing how the government can enhance its fight against corruption and prevent the power grab from its oligarchs. Biden was the point man in handling U.S.-Ukraine affairs. If these officials were not so terrified of Washington’s power and scope, they would have laughed at Biden’s face and produced memes poking fun of his creepy uncle status.
Hunter Biden, the vice president’s youngest son and former lobbyist, joined Burisma Holdings, one of the country’s largest oil and natural gas companies, in April 2014. He was paid $166,000 a month, despite zero background or expertise in Ukrainian affairs or energy. It was owned by Mykola Zlochevsky, the former ecology minister under ousted and exiled President Viktor Yanukovych.
Burisma had been accused of corruption and money laundering, leading Viktor Shokin, Ukraine’s Prosecutor General, to file an investigation into the energy company. According to The Hill, Shokin had “specific plans” for the probe, such as interrogations and a diverse array of “other crime-investigation procedures” into all board members, including Biden.
This apparently did not please the Obama administration.
In the months following, Kiev faced immense pressure to fire Shokin. Biden admitted in a speech at a January 2018 Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) event that he helped facilitate his termination by threatening to pull $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees, which would have bankrupted the former Soviet satellite.
“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.”
After Shokin was gone, the case abruptly ended. Some of it was transferred to the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU), an agency closely associated with the U.S. embassy in Kiev. But nothing consequential happened, except for a minor tax evasion case for a separate unidentified defendant – a possible patsy, if you will. The rest of it just faded away from public discourse.
To summarize, the U.S. government transfers $1.8 billion to Ukraine. The vice president handles the Ukraine file. His son, earning $3.1 million after a little more than a year, is working for a business that is under public investigation. The country’s top lawyer is tasked with probing the company and is then fired soon after demands by the chief American official working with post-revolution Ukraine.
Investigative journalist and bestselling author Peter Schweizer explained it best in an interview with Breitbart:
“There’s really no legitimate explanation as to why he got this deal with this energy company, other than the fact his father was responsible for doling out money in Ukraine itself.
It’s a huge problem, and it goes to this question of corruption and potential payoffs and bribes that these foreign entities were making to the Bidens in exchange for hopefully getting favorable treatment.”
Who doesn’t love the smell of corruption in the morning?
Biden His Time
There’s more to Biden than just inappropriately touching women and girls. His overreach extends to nepotism, potential abuse of power, and influencing the domestic affairs of foreign countries. This might not generate as many headlines as improperly putting his hands on senators’ daughters, likely due to the complexity and political fallout of the Ukrainian tale. That said, it is another layer in the Biden saga that may hang over his bid for the highest office in the land. At this point, he’s likely bidin’ his time to see what will stick in the headlines and what will become a distant memory.