Former Vice President Joe Biden is officially under investigation for his role in the firing of former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin. This move – potentially damaging to Biden’s current presidential bid – comes not from a “perfect phone call” with President Trump, but rather by a court order. Shokin’s lawyer, Oleksandr Teleshetsky, said that after the recent ruling, Ukraine’s State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) is obliged to start digging:
“They need to investigate this. They have no other alternative. They are required to do this by the decision of the court. If they don’t, then they violate a whole string of procedural norms.”
Worthy of Investigation?
Viktor Shokin was fired due to pressure from Joe Biden, as Biden himself stated openly at a 2018 Council of Foreign Relations (CFR) event. Shokin had been investigating Burisma Holdings, the company for which the former vice president’s son, Hunter Biden, worked and was paid a handsome $80K per month. It has long been a source of wonder why someone so uniquely unqualified would be the recipient of such largesse.
As Biden related to his CFR audience:
“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 b****, he got fired … And they put in place someone who was solid at the time.”
Have the chickens finally come home to roost?
Cause for Concern?
While news of this investigation may impact Biden’s chances in the upcoming primaries, there are some in Ukraine who appear keen to downplay the seriousness of the circumstances. The director of Ukraine’s Anti-Corruption Action Center, Daria Kaleniuk, went to great lengths to insist that although there is an investigation, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the claim of corruption is credible. She says:
“The fact that it was opened after a decision of the court indicates that first, the SBI didn’t open this case, but the attorneys of Shokin made the SBI open this case … Let’s say I can write a claim to the SBI that I think aliens stole my car. And the SBI obviously will not open [a case] as there is not evidence of a crime. But then I can go to court and make the SBI open it, through a court decision. So this case looks to me like that.”
But is that all there is to it? She points out that under the law, anyone can go to a court and demand a case be opened by the SBI. Using an argument involving aliens certainly makes it appear that Shokin’s allegation could be considered spurious; however, the court would still have to make a decision to instruct the SBI. Would a judge in good standing order an investigation into aliens stealing a car?
A Matter of Perspective
The truth is that this is a major partisan issue. Those who dislike Trump see no wrong in Joe Biden’s actions, even though Burisma Holdings and its business practices have long been suspected of corruption. Those who support Trump think Hunter Biden was appointed through nothing but family links and that Joe Biden overstepped in demanding a foreign prosecutor to be fired.
Who is right and who is wrong can’t be decided in the media; for the truth to finally be known, an inquiry is needed. Will those who have demanded the near-constant investigation of the president over the last three years change their tune now that the shoe is on the other foot?
Read more from Mark Angelides.