Pam Bondi’s compelling defense of the President put the Biden-Ukraine corruption story right at the center of the impeachment saga.
The way she did it was absolutely masterful.
First, she opens by saying that it was the House Democrat Impeachment Managers who referenced Hunter Biden and Burisma over 400 times in their 21 hours of opening statements. Democrats kept bringing up Burisma saying that there was nothing to be concerned about there — but that clearly isn’t true. Burisma was being investigated for corruption. Vice President Joe Biden was heading up the Ukraine file in the Obama administration. Hunter Biden — with no fossil fuel expertise — was being paid $83,000 per month for sitting on Burisma’s board.
The Democrats don’t want this to be about Biden-Ukraine corruption, but that’s precisely what they have made it about by bringing it up so many times. Their argument is that President Trump was withholding aid to Ukraine unless Ukraine investigated Hunter and Joe Biden and Burisma for no apparent reason. Pam Bondi’s defense is that there was clearly a reason.
BONDI: The reason they needed to do that is because they are here saying that the president must be impeached and removed from office for raising a concern and that’s why we have to talk about this today. They say sham, they say baseless because they say this because if it’s okay for someone to say, “Hey, you know what? Maybe there’s something here worth raising.” Then their case crumbles because they have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that there is no basis to raise this concern, but that’s not what public records show. Here are just a few of the public sources that flagged questions surrounding this very same issue. The United Kingdom Serious Fraud Office, deputy assistant secretary of state, George Kent. Hunter Biden’s former business associate and ABC white house reporter. Good morning America, ABC, the Washington Post, the New York Times, Ukrainian Law Enforcement, and the Obama State Department itself. They all raised this issue. We would prefer not to be talking about this. We would prefer not to be discussing this, but the house managers have placed this squarely at issue, so we must address it.
Bondi then gives some key info on Ukraine, Burisma, and the Bidens.
Here’s a quick run-down of her main points:
- Joe Biden assigned to lead foreign policy in Ukraine in 2014. His focus — root out corruption.
- Burisma is owned by oligarch Mykola Zlochevsky
- February 2014 — Zlochevsky flees Ukraine in the wake of anti-corruption uprising by the people.
- Ambassador Volker said that Burisma had a “very bad reputation as a company for corruption and money laundering.”
- Corruption was so bad that George Kent intervened to prevent USAID from going to Burisma events including a contest for children where the prize was a camera.
- In March 2014, The U.K. Serious Fraud Office opened a money-laundering investigation into Burisma and its owner Zlochevsky.
- In April 2014, Hunter Biden joins the Burisma board with his business partner, Devon Archer.
- Hunter Biden, Devon Archer, and Archer’s college roommate, Chris Heinz, stepson of John Kerry, started an investment firm together
- According to records, on April 16, 2014, Devon Archer meets with VP Biden at the White House.
- April 18, 2014, is the official date that Joe Biden quietly joins the Burisma board.
- April 28, 2014, British authorities seize $23 million in British bank accounts connected to Zlochevsky.
- News outlets worldwide now raise questions asking if Hunter Biden joining Burisma’s board is a conflict of interest for Joe Biden.
- Chris Heinz was concerned about corruption and the geopolitical risk and optics and distances himself from Hunter Biden and Devon Archer’s appointments to Burisma. Heinz sent an email to senior state department officials about the issue.
- Heinz ended his business relationships with Hunter Biden and Devon Archer citing their “lack of judgment” with regard to Burisma
- ABC reporter asked Obama’s White House Press Secretary, Jay Carney, about it.
ABC REPORTER: Hunter Biden has now taken a position with the largest oil and gas holding company in Ukraine. Is there any concern about at least the appearance of a conflict there? The vice president’s son taking-
JAY CARNEY: I would refer you to the vice president’s office. I saw those reports. Hunter Biden and other members of the Biden family are obviously private citizens and where they work does not reflect an endorsement by the administration or by the vice president or president. But I would refer you to the vice president’s office.
- May 14, 2014, WaPo ran a story on Hunter’s new job with Burisma saying, “The appointment of the vice president’s son to a Ukrainian oil board looks nepotistic at best, nefarious at worst.”
- ABC notes that Hunter was also with VP Biden when he went to China then landed a big deal to create an investment fund in China to partner with the Chinese gov’t controlled bank of China hoping to raise $1.5 billion from them.
BONDI: In fact, every witness who was asked about Hunter Biden’s involvement with Burisma agreed there was a potential appearance of a conflict of interest. Multiple house Democrat witnesses, including those from the Department of State, the National Security Council, and others unanimously testified there was a potential appearance of a conflict of interest. These were their witnesses. How much money did Hunter Biden get for being on the board? Well, you start looking at this bank records. According to reports, between April, 2014 and October, 2015, Burisma paid more than $3.1 million to Devin Archer and Hunter Biden. That’s over the course of a year and a half. How do we know this? Some of Devin Archer’s bank records were disclosed during an unrelated federal criminal case, having nothing to do with Hunter Biden. These bank records show 17 months that Burisma wired two payments of $83,333, not just for one month, for two months, for three months, but for 17 months. According to Reuters, sources report that of the two payments of $83,333 each, one was for a Hunter Biden and one Devin Archer.
Bondi then explains just how significant this compensation was — it was more than board members for many of the U.S. Fortune 100 companies like Goldman Sachs, Comcast, Citigroup, despite having no experience. She then compares the $83K per month to the $54,000 annual average American family income at that time.
Bondi then notes that news agencies were asking questions about what specific duties Hunter Biden did on the board, other than attending board meetings “once or twice a year” in Europe. She then airs a clip of the ABC News interview with Hunter Biden where he didn’t point to any specific qualifications that he had to sit on the Burisma board and that he admits that he probably wouldn’t have been asked to be on the board if his last name was not Biden.
Bondi then goes back to the timeline.
- January 16, 2015, British courts unfreeze Zlochevsky’s $23 million in assets.
- Deputy Assistant Secretary Kent testified that it is suspected that the money was unfrozen because of a bribe
- A letter from the office of the general prosecutor of Ukraine led to the unfreezing of the assets.
- February 2015, Deputy Assistant Secretary George Kent voiced concerns about Hunter Biden’s status as a board member could be perceived as a conflict of interest with the Vice President.
- Vice President Joe Biden pledges a loan guarantee for $1 billion to Ukraine conditional on rooting out corruption.
- Meanwhile, the Ukraine General Prosecutor that sent the letter to unfreeze Zlochevsky’s assets was replaced with Viktor Shokin.
- December 8, 2015, NYT published an article stating that the new Ukrainian General Prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, was investigating Zlochevsky and Burisma. “The credibility of the vice president’s anti-corruption message may have been undermined by the association of his son, Hunter Biden,” with Burisma and its owner, Zlochevsky.
- January, 2016, at a meeting between the Obama administration and Ukrainian officials, Ukrainian press reports, “The US Department of State made it clear to the Ukrainian authorities that it was linking the $1 billion in loan guarantees to the dismissal of prosecutor general Victor Shokin.”
- February 2, 2016, the Ukrainian prosecutor general obtains a court order to seize Zlochevsky’s assets.
- February 4, 2016, a Kiev Post article says that Zlochevsky is, “suspected of committing a criminal offense of elicit enrichment.”
- February 24, 2016, a FOIA request reveals that a D.C. consultant reached out to the State Department to request a meeting to discuss Burisma and specifically mentioned Hunter Biden. The email said that she “noted that two high profile citizens are affiliated with the company, including Hunter Biden as a board member” and that the consultant would, “like to talk with Under Secretary Of State Novelli about getting a better understanding of how the U.S. Came to the determination that the country is corrupt.”
- March 29th, 2016, the Ukrainian parliament finally votes to fire the prosecutor general. This is the prosecutor general investigating the oligarch, owner of Burisma, on whose board Hunter Biden sat.
- March 31, 2016, the prosecutor general is voted out, Vice President Biden announces that the U.S. will provide $335 million in security assistance to Ukraine, as well as $1 billion in loan guarantees.
- May 2016, Ambassador Yovanovitch was nominated to be Ambassador in Ukraine. She was prepped by the Obama State Department to answer questions about Burisma.
- July 2016, Ambassador Yavonovitch was confirmed as Ambassador to Ukraine.
- September, 2016, a Ukrainian court cancels the oligarch Zlochevsky arrest warrant for lack of progress in the case.
- Mid-January, 2017, Burisma announces that all legal proceedings against it and Zlochevsky have been closed.
- In 2018, after leaving office, Joe Biden admits that he pressured Ukraine to fire Prosecutor General Shokin. The clip is played.
- Bondi notes that what wasn’t said was that Hunter was being paid by Burisma.
- April 2019, Hunter Biden finally leaves the Burisma board.
- November, 2019, Hunter Biden signs an affidavit saying “he’s been unemployed and has no other monthly income since May, 2019.”
- July 22nd, 2019, WaPo wrote that Shokin, “believes his ouster was because of his interest in the company,” referring to Burisma and “had he remained in his post, he would have questioned Hunter Biden.”
- July 25th, 2019, President Trump has the now-famous call with Ukrainian President Zelensky.
Bondi then says that the Democrats didn’t give a clear picture of what happened despite mentioning Burisma and Hunter Biden 400 times in their opening statements.
BONDI: But here are those who did. The United Kingdom serious fraud unit, Deputy Assistant Secretary Of State, George Kent. Chris Heinz, the ABC White House reporter, ABC, Good Morning America, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Ukrainian law enforcement and the Obama State Department itself. They all thought there was cause to raise the issue about the Bidens and Burisma. Now the House managers might say without evidence that everything we just have said has been debunked. That the evidence points entirely and unequivocally in the other direction. That is a distraction. You’ve heard from the House managers, they do not believe that there was any concern to raise here, that all of this was baseless and all we are saying is that there was a basis to talk about this, to raise this issue, and that is enough. I yield my time.
That. Was. Spectacular.
Western Free Press published a thorough timeline of Burisma and the Biden-Ukraine scandal here.
And that was Bondi’s defense early yesterday. The rest of the defense team was spectacular. Her opening statements were vital, however, by kicking down the main argument that there was no reason to be suspicious of corruption in Ukraine.
President Trump’s defense is in very legal good hands.