Joe Biden’s Ukraine Defense Falls Apart

C-Span Screengrab

Below is my column in the New York Post on new evidence contradicting the account of President Joe Biden on his role in forcing the firing of Ukrainian prosecutor general Viktor Shokin. Biden’s boast about forcing the termination could become a defining moment in the corruption scandal.

Here is the column:

President Barack Obama famously warned fellow Democrats in 2020, “Don’t underestimate Joe’s ability to f–k things up.”

The warning was ignored by many as an almost brotherly reference to Biden’s habit of making false claims (like being arrested when seeking to see Nelson Mandela) or his continual verbal gaffes.

Biden has always had a certain penchant for bragging, whether it’s claiming a dead man told him he reached a million miles on Amtrak, being a cross-country trucker or fighting off some “bad dude” named Corn Pop.

But one of those bravado moments may have revealed more than vanity.

Ironically, it’s the one controversial story that appears entirely true.

In a 2018 interview at the Council on Foreign Relations, Biden bragged that he unilaterally withheld a billion dollars in US aid from the Ukrainians to force them to fire prosecutor general Viktor Shokin.

The Ukrainians balked, but Biden gave them an ultimatum: “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.”

The response from the Washington elite was rapturous, though the story was not only impolitic but embarrassing for an ally.

The Ukrainians were Joe’s new Corn Pop, and he recounted how he stared them down in a “High Noon” diplomatic moment.

A State Department memo is shedding disturbing light on that account and shredding aspects of Biden’s justification for the action.

Indeed, the ultimatum may have been the quid in a quid pro quo agreement as part of the Biden influence-peddling scandal.

The premise of the story is that Biden took this extraordinary stand because there was little hope for the anti-corruption efforts in Ukraine if Shokin remained prosecutor.

That is now questionable.

The Oct. 1, 2015, memo summarizes the recommendation of the Interagency Policy Committee that was handling the anti-corruption efforts in Ukraine: “Ukraine has made sufficient progress on its reform agenda to justify a third guarantee.”

One senior official even complimented Shokin on his progress in fighting corruption.

So Biden was told to deliver on the federal aid but elected to unilaterally demand Shokin be fired.

When the firing occurred, Shokin’s office was investigating Burisma Holdings, an energy firm that paid Hunter Biden a huge amount of money.

The State Department had identified it as a corrupt company engaged in bribery.

Recent testimony from Devon Archer, a business associate of Hunter Biden, revealed that Burisma executives made the removal of Shokin a top priority and raised it with Hunter.

He described how the need to neutralize Shokin was raised with Hunter and how “a call to Washington” was made in response. While Archer also said that “the narrative spun to me was that Shokin was under control,” he and others also heard concerns over Shokin and the risks of the investigation.

President Biden has insisted, “I did nothing wrong. I carried out the policy of the United States government in rooting out corruption in Ukraine. And that’s what we should be focusing on.”

Indeed, that will now be the focus, including the close correlation of the money and demands going to Hunter and the actions of his father.

There is evidence the State Department was alarmed by Hunter’s work and its impact on anti-corruption efforts.

While Joe was portraying his work as fighting corruption, some officials were warning the Bidens could be part of the problem, not the solution, in Ukraine.

Leading diplomat George Kent wrote then-Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, “The real issue to my mind was that someone in Washington needed to engage VP Biden quietly and say that his son Hunter’s presence on the Burisma board undercut the anti-corruption message the VP and we were advancing in Ukraine b/c Ukrainians heard one message from us and then saw another set of behavior with the family association with a known corrupt figure whose company was known for not playing by the rules.”

As part of the first impeachment of Donald Trump, Democrats largely dismissed earlier accounts of these misgivings and portrayed Shokin as a thoroughly corrupt prosecutor perpetuating corruption.

Biden’s Ukrainian Corn Pop story was celebrated as a gutsy moment of leadership.

During the impeachment, Kent said Biden’s demand was consistent with US policy.

Yet we now know the State Department had found progress was being made on corruption and Shokin was praised in private correspondence.

The demand for the replacement of the equivalent of the attorney general in another country is an extraordinary move.

We give massive amounts of money to countries with rampant corruption and authoritarian records.

But Biden decided Shokin had to go and used public money to make that happen.

The memo also highlights the flaws in the Trump impeachment.

When I testified before the House Judiciary Committee at the only impeachment hearing, I told the committee it should not depart from history and proceed to an impeachment without fact witnesses on the grounds for impeachment.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Adam Schiff and others refused.

It now seems there was material evidence that would have been used at the impeachment trial.

Trump was alleging there was a conflict of interest with the Bidens, and the evidence could have challenged Biden’s account and established his son’s interest in the Shokin firing.

I still do not believe Trump should have raised the matter in that call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

This evidence may not have made a difference to some senators, but it demonstrates why impeachments should proceed after fact hearings.

Instead, in the second impeachment, the Democrats went one better.

They used what I called a “snap impeachment” without even a hearing on the impeachment standards and articles.

The House could now have little choice but to hold the very hearings the Democrats blocked during the earlier impeachment — with a different president under constitutional scrutiny.

Jonathan Turley is an attorney and professor at George Washington University Law School.

262 thoughts on “Joe Biden’s Ukraine Defense Falls Apart”

  1. Jonathan
    You should see the picture of DJT that my friends and I have been passing around the sewing circle. Its got the Don, peeing on Fani in one of the jail cells in Fulton County. I bet you’d like to get your hands on it to rile up the base and get some donations. Gonna need to sell a lot of Krispy Kremes to keep DJT outta Fani’s jailhouse. She gonna show him how its done down heah in Jawja. I know, your readers probably think I am a total douche, and marvel at my stupidity, and they’re mostly right, but could you make that Tom guy stop being mean to Dennis?
    In the age of rage i turn the page, and i see DJT gettin’ in his cage. Wow, see how brilliant I am? I dont know why i even bother to come here to spread my keyboard diarrhea with you ingrates. I should be charging you $850 an hour. I bet you didnt even know that scam is actually spelled with a k, did you? I guess its a russian scam (skam). Cuz we all know that DJT is the poster child for Russian skams.
    Whats this got to do with your blog?? Nothing really, i’m just a sad narcissist with nothing better to do than talk to myself.
    But that Al Capone, he was something else, was’t he??

    Trump Trump Trump
    Trump Trump Trump
    Trump Trump Trump
    Trump Trump Trump
    Trump Trump Trump
    Trump Trump Trump

    There’s a red under my bed
    And there’s a little orange man in my head
    And he said, “You’re not going crazy, you’re just a bit sad
    ‘Cause there’s a man in ya, gnawing ya, tearing ya into two”

    Pardon my late night BS. I skipped whiffyoga today so i have lots of energy.

    Come on in here LyIng Gigi and Smeagol, my boots need a good licking!

    1. Richard McGillicutty,
      Feel better now after sharing your rage? I don’t know why you bother to come here to “spread your keyboard diarrhea” with us either. You’re right: we aren’t grateful. You still believe that Donald Trump is a foreign asset, I gather. Okay, whatever. You’re wrong about that pic:

      Its got the Don, peeing on Fani in one of the jail cells in Fulton County. I bet you’d like to get your hands on it to rile up the base and get some donations.

      Professor Turley does not accept donations via Patreon or by any other means. He has integrity unlike others. Enjoy yourself down there in the land of cotton, or as you said, “Jawja”. I’m a Yankee girl, so what do I know.

      Away down south in the land of traitors,
      Crocodiles and alligators,
      Ride away, ride away, ride away, ride away.
      Where cotton’s king and men are chattels,
      Union boys will win the battles,
      Ride away, ride away, ride away, ride away.

      1. Easy there Ellie. I suggest you read Dennis McIntyre’s post below and then read Dick Head’s post again. It is satire, used to ridicule the troll who comes in here everyday, spreading his keyboard diarrhea. Also note that Dennis says below that the mug shot looks like Al Capone, and then today he posted in another thread that it looks nothing like Al Capone. Not that Dennis is a disingenuous narcissist or anything.

        1. And Richard has promised that he is going to come here every day and crap all over Dennis’ rants, as long as he keeps coming here.
          I think Dennis sees himself as some clever antagonist, but Richard seems to show him to be nothing but a sad narcissist with nothing worthwhile to do with his life. You decide

  2. Jonathan: Have you seen the Fulton County Sheriff’s office mug shot of DJT? Kind of reminds you of one of Al Capone’s mug shots doesn’t it? On that 2 and 1/2 hr. plane ride down to Atlanta DJT thought about how he would pose for the mug shot. He wanted to show utter defiance–which he could immediately use to get his MAGA supporters to pour in more money for his defense fund that is almost broke. Great skam. It has so far worked. Now you have long complained about the “age of rage”. Little did you know that DJT would be the poster child for that rage.

    1. Where is the rage, Dennis?

      Democrats love violence if ots for the right reasons——dennis

      Trump is the only one calling for violence——dennis

      We’re all waiting on the edges of our seats for you too solve the mystery. Which was a lie?

      1. Man that Dick Head guy seems to agree with you about pretty much everything Dennis. Check it out…

        Jonathan
        You should see the picture of DJT that my friends and I have been passing around the sewing circle. Its got the Don, peeing on Fani in one of the jail cells in Fulton County. I bet you’d like to get your hands on it to rile up the base and get some donations. Gonna need to sell a lot of Krispy Kremes to keep DJT outta Fani’s jailhouse. She gonna show him how its done down heah in Jawja. I know, your readers probably think I am a total douche, and marvel at my stupidity, and they’re mostly right, but could you make that Tom guy stop being mean to Dennis?
        In the age of rage i turn the page, and i see DJT gettin’ in his cage. Wow, see how brilliant I am? I dont know why i even bother to come here to spread my keyboard diarrhea with you ingrates. I should be charging you $850 an hour. I bet you didnt even know that scam is actually spelled with a k, did you? I guess its a russian scam (skam). Cuz we all know that DJT is the poster child for Russian skams.
        Whats this got to do with your blog?? Nothing really, i’m just a sad narcissist with nothing better to do than talk to myself.
        But that Al Capone, he was something else, was’t he??

    2. Democrats and their media allies think their abuse of power and assault on the rule of law is funny.

      “Arresting people for saying our elections are rigged seems like a horrible way to convince people our elections aren’t rigged.”

      1. The Democrats are embolden by the ridiculous political coverage they get on CNN or MSNBC or on Rachel Maddow or “The View”. These media outlets and shows encourage the Democrats to engage in any kind of tactic that would advance the Democrats left wing agenda, inlcuding now prosecuting political rivals for non-crimes, which is the kind of stuff you see in Red China or Iran. The rule of law, the US Constitution, civil rights, the first amendment – non of these things now stand in the way of the Democrats lust for power, it’s even okay to weaponize the DOJ or having the FBI spy on politicians the left doesn’t like. This is a sorry state of affairs, fair minded voters must reject this, tha’t includes these phony prosecutions of Trump and others. This NOT America, the left wing has become unhinged, gone into the abyss.

        1. Hmmm. Thank you. You are an attorney. I hope the pretend attorney, Dennis, reads and listens to what you said. I am waiting for him to correct the record or provide a sentence from the Constitution that proves differently. That can be a new beginning for Dennis, where he deals with the facts instead of fiction.

  3. Why are the DC elite 2 or 3 years behind reality all the time ?
    I knew everything in the column and more years ago.
    No, the MSM didn’t report it, that’s why I’m not in the dark.
    Didn’t anyone watch Guiliani interview Shokin for hours ?

  4. Jonathan
    I can’t provide any plausible defense for Biden either, so I wanna talk about climate change. I know, I know, everybody here thinks I’m a crackpot, but I’m telling you, this climate thing is real. Down here in Georgia, it’s 94 and feels like 108!!! I broke a sweat before I could even get to my pool and start sipping my mojito.

    Course it’s gonna get a lot hotter down here for ol’ DJT. Man, that Fani has got him one big bonfire waitin’. She gonna show him how it’s done in Fulton County.

    Oh, sorry, back to this here heat wave. My cell phone quit working when I left it out in the sun this morning!! I had to put it in the fridge real quick so’s I could get my dang spotify workin’ again. I can’t be lounging by the pool and writing my blog here (keyboard diarrhea, that is) without some tunes. Oh wait, you and your readers don’t give a rats a$$ what I been doin’????

    Well let me tell you, the Gen Z-er’s, they got this climate thing up their butt’s so far, it’s all they care about, come next year. Won’t matter to them that they can’t afford gas to get to work , they are all plannin’ to be riding bikes or workin’ from home by 2025 anyway. The GOP gonna get what they got comin’ to ’em for shore!!!

    You know that fire in Maui, the one that started when power lines fell> Climate change. You know that tropical storm in CA? Climate change. First climate change in decades.
    Them dang Republicans, if they would just listen to me on this one issue, they could have their BS freedoms and prosperity, AND we could be cooler next summer.
    Dust bowl??? Never heard of it. What was that?

    Now for the important stuff.
    Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump TrumpTrump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump

    Theres a red under my bed
    And there’s a little orange man in my head
    And he said, “you’re not going crazy, you’re just a bit sad”
    “‘Cause there’s a man in ya, gnawing ya, tearing ya into two”

    I’m skipping whiffyoga today…it’s too dang hot.

  5. Jonathan: Anyone watch the first GOP candidate debate last night? Quite a spectacle. Nikki Haley tried to engage in a reasoned debate on abortion and other issues. The rest simply resorted right-wing conspiracy theories .A Fox moderator asked all the candidates whether “human behavior is causing climate change. Raise your hand if you do?” Ron deSantis jumped in a loudly proclaimed: “Look, we’re not school children. Let’s have the debate…..” He went on about extraneous issues. Finally, he refused to raise his hand. Only Nikki was willing to say climate change “is real”.

    How will this play out in next year’s election? It will be bad for the GOP. All the polls show climate change is an important issue with voters–especially younger voters. We see climate change all around us. In my state we have had record heat for almost 2 weeks–over 100 every day. Due to the extreme 11 cell towers went down and I was without service for almost 4 hours. Then we have the wildfires in Canada that polluted the air in much of the US. And, of course, the massive wildfires on Maui and the tropical storm in California–the first in decades. And so on and so on. Extreme weather due to climate change is real and will get worse.

    And what is the response from the GOP? Denial or silence. This will be a losing hand for Republicans next year.

    1. What about Bidens Ukraine problems reminded you of climate change? All the burner phone calls and aliased emails, where he was undoubtedly talking about the weather?

      IDK what the right answer is for attempting to mitigate climate change. But it aint what your party has cooked up. It’s like, I don’t know how to fix a meat grinder, but I know sticking my hand in it while its running isn’t the answer.

      But tell us. Which of these is a lie?

      “Democrats love violence when it’s for the right reasons”—-Dennis

      “Trump is the only one calling for violence”—-Dennis

      You do understand you have zero credibility, right?

    2. Even the IPCC doesn’t claim that extreme weather events are caused by climate change. And there’s been no statistically significant increase in their frequency.

      But more to the point – the climate is changing. The climate is always in flux. At many times in the Earth’s history, and even in human history, climate has been less advantageous for our endeavors (and by “our,” I mean Europeans, since it’s pretty obvious that a more clement climate might be beneficial for Saharan and much of sub-Saharan Africa, hmm? But the “green” movement in all its incarnations has always been racist) than it has been for the last, oh, couple of hundred.

      “Believe in climate change” is shorthand for “believe that the appropriate response to a 1-2° rise in ocean temperature, the effects of which are not yet known, is to ban the use of fossil fuels globally and send the developing world back into the abject poverty from which it’s begun to emerge (because, again, ‘green’ movements are always racist), and to effect a mass redistribution of wealth from the denizens of some of the industrialized world – not China, of course – into the hands of a global ‘elite’ that will decide how to use it better than you simple denizens can.”

      Young voters, sadly, believe it when they’re told that !!human existence is in peril!! (which it isn’t, not remotely) and that !!if we don’t all convert to electric everything within the next pick-your-election-cycle interval, the oceans will die!! (which is both ridiculous in terms of consequences and unsupportable as a strategy without, at minimum, widespread and rapid development of nuclear power, if we can’t keep using fossil fuels – but, you know, they also believe it when they’re told that nuclear power is deadly dangerous and cannot be allowed).

      It’s true that winning elections is the path to creating policy. So maybe the way forward is just to pander: “Of course I believe that climate change is the single most important issue of our time!” (Or maybe, “Of course I believe that fighting the racism that continues to threaten the very lives of our BIPOC citizens is the single most important issue of our time!” or “… protecting the threatened rights of the LGBTQIA+ ‘community,’ especially the rights of children to decide with whom and how they’ll eventually, heh heh, have sex, and whether or not they’ll ever be able to reproduce, is the most important issue of our time!”) But doesn’t your side ever have a pang of conscience at the lies they tell to your “natural constituencies”?

  6. “Don’t underestimate Joe’s ability to f–k things up.”

    An example not talked about enough is Biden’s irresponsible loose lips: At a Pentagon briefing on Monday, May 2, 2011, a senior defense official was asked if it was a Navy SEAL team that found and killed the world’s most wanted man. “Not going to comment on units or numbers” was the appropriate response. But the very next day VP Joe Biden spoke at a dinner at Washington’s Ritz Carlton Hotel marking the 50th anniversary of the Atlantic Council to blurt out about Adm. James Stavridis and “the incredible, the phenomenal, the just almost unbelievable capacity of his Navy SEALs and what they did last Sunday.”

    From that moment, the families believe, the Taliban looked for an opportunity for revenge. Doug Hamburger, whose son Patrick was killed, called the incident an “ambush” that could have been prevented.” – see book “Betrayed: The Shocking True Story of Extortion 17 as told by a Navy SEAL’s Father , by Billy Vaughn et al.

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