GOP Letter From 2016 Calling For Reforms In Ukraine Undercuts Trump’s Allegations Against Biden
The largely-debunked claims by President Donald Trump, alleging conflicts of interest regarding former Vice President Joe Biden’s interactions with Ukraine a few years ago, suffered another setback this week as a letter signed by several Republican lawmakers resurfaced, showing support for Biden’s actions at that time.
Biden had demanded, while serving as vice president, that Ukraine fire its top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, over allegations of corruption. The involvement of Biden in making those calls, as a member of the executive branch of U.S. government, while his son had business interests in that nation, is the subject of intense scrutiny by the Trump administration.
The president is in hot water at the moment because it appears that he may have pressured current Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Biden during a July 25 phone call conversation, giving it the appearance of requesting a foreign nation for help with his Trump’s political aspirations. The president has defended that call, saying it wasn’t for political purposes but because he believed Biden should be investigated for the supposed conflicts of interest.
Those allegations, however, don’t hold much weight — as an opinion piece from USA Today pointed out, Biden’s demands for reform in Ukraine weren’t made by him alone. Other nations, including each of the G7 member nations, also called for Shokin’s ouster, as did the International Monetary Fund, and millions of Ukrainians protesting in the nation’s capital at that time.
Additionally, calling for Shokin’s ouster doesn’t seem to showcase a conflict of interest issue regarding Hunter Biden’s business dealings. The company, Burisma Holdings, faced an investigation by the United Kingdom, but Shokin refused to cooperate with that inquiry. Effectively, by calling for Shokin’s removal, Biden wasn’t doing the company or his son’s portfolio any favors, as Shokin had protected Burisma from corruption investigations in the past.
A newly unearthed letter from 2016 shows that Republican senators pushed for reforms to Ukraine's prosecutor general's office and judiciary, echoing calls then-Vice President Joe Biden made at the time. https://t.co/njnyOahzx1
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) October 3, 2019
This week, another hole in Trump’s argument has come about, as it appears a letter, signed by three Republican senators in February of 2016, also made similar calls for reforms to Shokin’s office, CNN reported. The document, signed by Republicans Rob Portman, Mark Kirk, and Ron Johnson, stated that significant changes were required in the office of Ukraine’s top prosecutor.
“Succeeding in these reforms will show Russian President Vladimir Putin that an independent, transparent and democratic Ukraine can and will succeed,” the letter read, adding that the Ukraine government should “press ahead with urgent reforms to the Prosecutor General’s office and judiciary.”
The letter mirrored a statement Biden had made just months before.
“It’s not enough to set up a new anti-corruption bureau and establish a special prosecutor fighting corruption,” Biden said in December 2015. “The Office of the General Prosecutor desperately needs reform. The judiciary should be overhauled.”