UPDATED: January 29, 2020
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The Fact Sheet
Joe Biden and Ukraine: Impeachment Trial
NBC News labeled Trump’s accusation that “Biden acted corruptly as vice president to benefit his son” as one of his top “false claims” of 2019.
AP: “GOP-requested witness rejects Trump ‘conspiracy theories’”
Wall Street Journal: “On the call, Mr. Trump raised a discredited claim: that as vice president, Mr. Biden called for the ouster of Ukraine’s prosecutor general to protect his son, who sat on the board of a Ukrainian company whose owner the prosecutor had investigated. The prosecutor was the target of widespread criticism from the U.S. and other countries and had in fact hampered the investigation into the company, Burisma Group.”
Associated Press: It’s “incorrect to say that Biden, now a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, pressed to have the prosecutor fired while the prosecutor was investigating Burisma, the energy company in Ukraine where Biden’s son Hunter sat on the board of directors. In fact, by the time Biden came out against the prosecutor, the investigation into the company was dormant. Biden, among other international officials, was pressing for a more aggressive investigation of corruption in Ukraine, not a softer one.”
Los Angeles Times: “Current and former U.S. and Ukrainian officials say Burisma had been under scrutiny for alleged improper acquisition of licenses, a probe unrelated to Hunter Biden’s position on the board. The investigation went dormant, they said, before Biden and a group of U.S. allies pushed for Shokin’s ouster in 2015, arguing he was turning a blind eye to corruption.”
Financial Times: “Envoys pushed to oust Ukraine prosecutor before Biden” – “European and US officials pressed Ukraine to sack Viktor Shokin, the country’s former prosecutor-general, months before Joe Biden, the former US vice-president, personally intervened to force his removal, people involved in the talks said. Mr Biden did not act unilaterally nor did he instigate the push against Mr Shokin, despite suggestions to the contrary by supporters of US president Donald Trump, people familiar with the matter said.”
Joe Biden and Ukraine
New York Times: “This is misleading. Mr. Biden did call for the dismissal of Ukraine’s then-prosecutor general and threatened to hold assistance, but his actions were in line with United States foreign policy as well as the stated positions of Senate Republicans, European Union leaders and the International Monetary Fund, all of whom were calling for the ouster of the prosecutor general.” Read More
Washington Post: “This sentence is a fountain of falsehoods. […]
The prosecutor general, Viktor Shokin, let that investigation and others go dormant, and the United States and its allies decided he was not effective in his job and in fact let corruption flourish. Biden traveled to Ukraine in December 2015 and said the United States would withhold $1 billion in loan guarantees unless Shokin was removed; it was not a demand to stop the Burisma prosecution, and there’s no evidence of Shokin’s “digging” into Burisma — nor is there any evidence Hunter Biden was ever under investigation.” Read More
Politifact: “Trump omits that the U.S. government, many Western leaders and institutions, as well as Ukrainian anti-corruption activists, viewed Shokin as corrupt and ineffective. We’ve also found no evidence that Biden advocated with his son’s interests in mind; and it’s not clear that a Ukrainian gas company that Biden’s son worked for was actively under investigation or that a change in prosecutors would have benefited the company. ” Read More
CNN: “Trump wrote that Biden “used his office and $1 billion dollars of U.S. aid money to coerce Ukraine into firing the prosecutor who was digging into the company paying his son millions of dollars.
Facts First: There is a lot wrong with this claim. The $1 billion in question was a loan guarantee, not an aid payment. The prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, was widely viewed by American diplomats and in the international community as corrupt; Biden was pursuing official policy in pushing for Shokin’s ouster. And the prosecutor’s former deputy has said that the investigation into the company where Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, sat on the board of directors was dormant at the time Joe Biden applied the pressure.” Read more.