Donald Trump was impeached in late 2019 for blackmailing Ukraine in an unsuccessful attempt to get dirt on his re-election opponent, Joe Biden. Four years later, Republicans say they found that pretext to impeach the current president.
They allege that, while vice president, Biden personally benefited from his son Hunter’s businesses in the European country.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Republican Kevin McCarthy, announced on Tuesday that he would order an investigation to remove the Democratic leader, a move that has been demanded for months by Trump and his right-wing supporters in Congress.
But contrary to Trump’s well-documented actions supporting impeachment, Democrats — and even some Republicans — say the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Republican James Comer, still has no evidence of wrongdoing. said Biden.
Comer alleged that the “Biden family” – without naming the president – and his “associates” received more than $20 million in payments from foreign entities.
While Hunter Biden has business ties to China, Kazakhstan, Romania and other countries, the announcement of McCarthy’s investigation focused on his dealings with the Ukrainian energy company Burisma.
Hunter got a lucrative seat on the company’s board in 2014, when his father was Barack Obama’s vice president and oversaw US domestic policy.
The owner of Burisma is Mykola Zlochevsky, a powerful oligarch who has been inundated with accusations of corruption, both inside and outside of Ukraine.
Although Hunter Biden has a degree in Yale Law and has experience in business and finance, it is not clear what he will bring to Burisma in exchange for $1 million a year.
In 2014, Ukrainians rebelled and ousted Moscow-backed President Viktor Yanukovych. That year began a deep economic crisis in Ukraine, which asked for help around the world.
But the IMF has blocked new financing and Washington has withheld a $1 billion loan guarantee until newly elected President Petro Poroshenko takes action against corruption.
In meetings with Poroshenko in December 2015 and January 2016, Biden said financial support would not increase until he fired Attorney General Viktor Shokin, who allegedly continued to protect corrupt Ukrainian oligarchs, including Zlochevsky .
“I looked at them and said, ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor doesn’t get fired, you don’t get the money,'” Biden said in 2018.
“Well, son of a bitch. He’s fired,” he said.
With Shokin gone, Zlochevsky’s assets were raided by the prosecutor’s office.
In January 2017, Biden left office and Trump became president.
In 18 months, it became clear that Joe Biden would challenge for the White House in 2020.
Trump, whose reelection is threatened, sent his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to Kyiv to dig up dirt on the Bidens in early 2019.
When Giuliani’s efforts were thwarted, Trump in July stepped up pressure on Poroshenko’s successor, Volodymyr Zelensky, to freeze $400 million in military aid.
In a phone call on July 25, Trump pointed to American support and strongly urged Zelensky to investigate the Bidens and announce the results.
That call became the basis of Trump’s first impeachment trial, on the grounds that he illegally requested foreign interference in the US election, which he lost to Biden.
If Republicans gain control of the House of Representatives in the 2022 midterm elections, Trump’s allies will have the legal tools to exact revenge.
After an eight-month investigation, the Comer Supervision Committee turned the story of prosecutor Shokin’s dismissal on its head.
They alleged that Shokin was a threat to Burisma and that Biden’s pressure was designed to protect the company and his son, and benefit financially.
Thanks to records obtained from the FBI and the Department of Justice and witnesses, Comer was able to detail large sums of money going to Hunter Biden and his associates, but nothing to do with President Biden.
Instead, the committee said the investigation focused on the “marketing influence” of what Trump often called the “Biden crime family.”
The investigation “revealed that Joe Biden allowed his family to market him as ‘the brand’ to the world in order to promote themselves,” it reported Tuesday.