During a November 30th hearing of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, a senior State Department official gave false testimony about a billion dollar bribery scandal involving Joe Biden. The official, George Kent, is Joe Biden’s appointee to be the next U.S. ambassador to Estonia.
At Kent’s nomination hearing, Senator Ted Cruz (R–TX) questioned him about Biden’s actions in Ukraine that occurred while Kent was overseeing anti-corruption efforts in Europe and working in Ukraine. At the time, Biden was the vice president and serving as President Obama’s point man for Ukraine.
This affair began in March 2014 when Biden gave a speech before the Ukrainian parliament in which he promised that the U.S. would help Ukraine increase its gas production. That same month, a corrupt Ukrainian oligarch placed Biden’s son Hunter on the board of his gas company and began paying Hunter $83,333 per month.
Cruz directly asked Kent, “Did Joe Biden do anything that benefited the corrupt oligarch who was paying his son a million dollars a year?” Kent attempted to dodge the question, but Cruz pressed him, and Kent replied, “He did not.”
Challenging Kent’s answer, Cruz pointed out that Joe Biden publicly bragged about getting the chief prosecutor of Ukraine fired while the prosecutor was actively investigating the oligarch. Quoting Biden’s own words captured on video, Cruz noted that Biden threatened Ukraine’s president and prime minister with withholding a “billion-dollar loan guarantee” from Ukraine “if the prosecutor is not fired.”
Cruz then asked Kent, “Do you think Joe Biden holding a billion dollars hostage to force the Ukrainian government to fire the prosecutor that is investigating the corrupt oligarch who’s paying his son a million dollars a year—did getting that prosecutor fired benefit that oligarch?”
Before Kent could reply, committee chair Jeanne Shaheen (D–NH) declared, “I’m not going to allow him to answer that question” and criticized Cruz for putting Kent in an “uncomfortable” position. Cruz repeatedly called out Shaheen for protecting Biden until she allowed Kent to give a “yes or no” answer. Kent then responded:
The prosecutor who was fired by the Ukrainian Parliament did nothing to investigate Zlochevsky [the oligarch], and everything that Vice President Biden, the State Department, and the U.S. embassy did acted in good faith to reduce corruption and help the Ukrainian people.
Kent’s reply is demonstrably false. In particular, his claim that the prosecutor was not investigating the oligarch is belied by the following facts:
- The prosecutor general, whose name was Viktor Shokin, signed a sworn affidavit stating:
- “The truth is that I was forced out because I was leading a wide-ranging corruption probe into Burisma Holdings, a natural gas firm active in Ukraine and Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, was a member of the Board of Directors.”
- The president of Ukraine “was emphatic that I should cease my investigations regarding Burisma. When I did not, he said that the US (via Biden) were refusing to release the USD $1 billion promised to Ukraine. He said that he had no choice, therefore, but to ask me to resign.”
- Just two weeks before he was forced out of office, the prosecutor general obtained a court order to seize some of Zlochevsky’s properties, including his land, houses, and a Rolls-Royce Phantom.
- Hunter Biden’s laptop contains a November 2, 2015 email from a Burisma executive that instructed Hunter and his business partners to enlist “top US officials” to “visit” Ukraine and pressure Ukrainian officials to “close down” all “cases/pursuits against Nikolay in Ukraine.”
Nikolay is the informal first name of the oligarch, as proven by another email on Hunter’s laptop which states, “Nikolay is indeed sole shareholder but not of Burisma, but of Brocity company that ultimately holds 100% of Burisma.”
Replying to the email from the Burisma executive, Hunter and his partners explicitly agreed to do what Burisma asked of them and explained that they were “deliberately” concealing the names of the U.S. officials who will carry out this plan to “be on the safe and cautious side.”
One month later, Joe Biden did exactly what these emails specified. Furthermore, he did this by pressuring two of the three “key targets” that Burisma identified in its email to Hunter: the “President of Ukraine” and the “Prosecutor General.” In December 2015, Biden visited Ukraine and told Ukraine’s president and prime minister that he would withhold a billion dollar loan guarantee from Ukraine unless they fired the chief prosecutor. Biden later boasted, “Well, son of a bitch, he got fired.”
Biden’s illicit actions, which are substantiated by a wealth of other incriminating facts, accord with textbook definitions of bribery, extortion, and obstruction of justice. Yet, high-ranking government officials, journalists, big tech executives, and so-called fact checkers have systematically misled the public about what took place. Kent’s false testimony is the latest example.
By Jim Agresti