The GOP’s Embarrassing Hypocrisy on Burisma
Will the ‘Burisma Boys’ investigate the other Americans and a Polish president? Or are they just Biden their time
In their stumbling efforts to defend US President Donald Trump’s ineffective attempts to extort the President of Ukraine, GOP Senators and House Representatives have stepped into a sinkhole of their own making.
From 2014 to 2016, former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, served as a director on the board of Burisma, a Ukraine holding company representing a group of energy exploration and development companies. It’s reported that he received $50,000 a month for the appointment.
Meanwhile, the founder of Burisma — Mykola Zlochevsky, a corrupt Ukrainian oligarch from the former regime — suddenly made off with millions in cash and assets stolen from the company and escaped into Russia, where he is now protected by other Putin-loyal oligarchs.
GOP lawmakers are circulating an unfounded theory that Joe Biden coerced the president of Ukraine to drop all investigations into the company, in order to protect his son. However, after the election of President Zelenskyy, his appointed prosecutor-general has re-opened 15 separate investigations into the company, all centered around Zlochevsky’s corrupt practices.
Inconvenient fact: Joe Biden was not a lone wolf
Another inconvenient fact is that Joe Biden was representing clear US policy, in coordination with articulated policy from our European allies, when he supported ousting self-serving, corrupt prosecutor Viktor Shokin. Shokin slow-walked attempts to investigate Burisma, and was pushed out of his job after just 14 months in office for attempting to use the threat of prosecution to solicit bribes from Zlochevsky. Yet another inconvenient fact, unearthed by the Washington Post, is that getting rid of Shokin was a 9-month slog that involved concerted efforts by several European Union representatives as well as the US.
Meanwhile, Trump referred to Shokin as “that very good” prosecutor in a call transcript released by the White House, in spite of the fact that a search of his former driver’s apartment turned up Shokin’s passports, gun license, property registrations, and bags of cash, diamonds, and precious stones — all about to make their way out of the country illegally.
Who is the GOP going after — Biden or Burisma?
On Thursday, November 21, senior Republican Lindsey Graham sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo requesting all documents related to Hunter Biden and Burisma.
But here’s where it gets sticky. Hunter Biden, like several other board appointees, was considered a high-profile ‘token’ board member. Like many large companies around the world, board members are often selected for their political connections as well as their advisory skills.
So on the board of Burisma, Hunter was not the only high-profile board member.
If the GOP plans to go after the Bidens by targeting Hunter Biden’s participation in Burisma, they have only two choices:
- Admit their target is Hunter and ignore all the other board members, thereby admitting that their real goal is to obtain dirt on a political opponent from a foreign country, or …
- Investigate the entire board of Burisma and all acting principals who remained after Zlochevsky’s clearly corrupt defection. That’s going to get real awkward, real fast.
Who else was on the board at Burisma?
In April 2014, Devon Archer, a former senior adviser to the John Kerry 2004 presidential campaign, also joined the board. And in 2016, under Donald Trump’s tenure, Joseph Cofer Black, former director of counter-terrorism for the CIA under George Bush, was appointed to the board.
Republicans have not mentioned either of these two Americans — who both served concurrently with Hunter Biden.
And to make things even more awkward, as if that were even possible, former Polish president Aleksander Kwaśniewski was also appointed to the board in 2014, the same year Hunter Biden joined the board.
In fact, Kwaśniewski described to Fox News how he solicited Hunter’s participation, and praises him as a useful member of the board. Kwaśniewski explained that in the last few years, Burisma — under clean, transparent management — has managed to weaken Russia’s stranglehold on household and commercial heating and energy. (Russia, we learn, turns off the gas to Ukraine in winter to starve Ukrainians of heat and light as a form of political pressure.)
So are Republicans also putting a Polish president in their conspiracy crosshairs?
Will media hold Republicans accountable for their crazy?
In spite of loud, persistent showboating on the part of vocal Republicans to the Trump base and MAGA crowds, I have not seen one single media journalist or analyst pin these guys down on their actual intentions vis-a-vis a so-called ‘Burisma investigation’.
The loudest complaints and demands are being voiced by Lindsey Graham and Devin Nunes, followed by fellow conspiracy theorists Kevin McCarthy (well known for previous conspiracy buy-ins) and Jim Jordan. Chuck Grassley and Ron Johnson have also supported a Burisma investigation.
Who, exactly, are they going to investigate? Just Hunter? Or will they also call Archer, Black and Kwaśniewski to testify? And what, exactly, are they investigating? All of Zlochevsky’s bad behavior occurred prior to Hunter Biden’s tenure on the board. “Diamond Bags” Shokin was pushed out by the Ukrainian parliament, not Joe Biden.
It’s time to ask the Burisma Boys exactly what they’re after.