Ukraine has been in the headlines almost daily since the invasion of the sovereign country by Vladimir Putin. But let’s not forget there was another time when Ukraine was making headlines, and that all had to do with then-President Trump, Joe Biden, Biden’s son Hunter and the burgeoning corruption that existed and still exists in Ukraine despite the Russian invasion.
Is it possible that at least one of the deeper, darker reasons that Putin decided to invade Ukraine and take over the government offices in Kyiv was to get his own hands on “the dirt” that Trump and Giuliani claim that Volodymyr Zelenskyy has on the Bidens?
Let’s recap what we know about Hunter’s ties to corruption in Ukraine.
Just before Putin’s tanks started rolling into Ukraine, two witnesses called before a federal grand jury seated in Wilmington, Delaware, which is looking into the tax affairs of the president’s son, provided some damning testimony.
The grand jury is exploring the larger question, beyond whether Hunter Biden correctly met tax obligations during a period in which, by his own telling, he was being paid $50,000 a month by Ukrainian firm Burisma – are Biden’s financial ties to foreign figures and businesses while his father served as Barack Obama’s No 2.
In addition to Hunter Biden’s ties to Ukraine through the gas company Burisma, he has sat on the boards of BHR Partners, a private investment fund backed by a number of Chinese state entities; a hedge fund, Paradigm; a consultancy, Seneca Global Advisors; and the fundraising firm Rosemont Seneca.
Republicans, including the senior Iowa senator Chuck Grassley, have called on the justice department to evaluate whether Hunter or Joe Biden’s brother James Biden should have registered as foreign agents over their business arrangements with the Chinese government-backed energy company CEFC.
In 2018, Business Insider reported that Hunter Biden sought an annual $2m retainer to aid in the recovery of Libyan assets frozen by the Obama administration during Muammar Gaddafi’s rule. The list of accusations goes on.
According to Jonathan Turley, a legal scholar at the George Washington University Law School, “influence-peddling is a virtual spectator sport in the nation’s capital – a protected corruption.”
Turley said, “It’s how powerful ruling elites make much of their money, and Congress has never seriously tried to crack down on it. The children and spouses of powerful leaders continue to receive windfall payments from companies and foreign interests, but we’ve never quite seen the likes of Hunter Biden’s enterprises. His contracts go beyond anything we’ve seen before.”
For his part, Joe Biden has always insisted that his son did nothing wrong. “There’s nobody that’s indicated there’s a single solitary thing that he did that was inappropriate, wrong … or anything other than the appearance,” Biden said while on the campaign trail two years ago.
But should the Delaware panel recommend criminal charges, it could ricochet around the second half of his father’s administration.