Senators, members of the Senate. When the house managers gave you their presentation, when their submitted their brief, they repeatedly referenced Hunter Biden and Burisma. They spoke to you for over 21 hours and they referenced Biden or Burisma over 400 times and when they gave these presentations, they said there was nothing, nothing to see. It was a sham. This is fiction. In their trial memorandum the house managers describe this as baseless. Now, why did they say that? Why did they invoke Biden or Burisma over 400 times?
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.
Let’s look at the facts. In early 2014 Joe Biden, our vice president of the United States, led the United States foreign policy in Ukraine with the goal of rooting out corruption. According to an annual study published by Transparency International, during this time, Ukraine was one of the most corrupt countries in the entire world. In Ukraine, there’s a natural gas company called Burisma. Burisma has been owned by an oligarch named Mykola Zlochevsky.
Here’s what happened very shortly after vice president Biden was made US point man for Ukraine. His son, Hunter Biden ends up on the board of Burisma working for and paid by the oligarch Zlochevsky. In February 2014 in the wake of anti-corruption uprising by the people of Ukraine, Zlochevsky flees the country fleas, Ukraine. Zlochevsky the oligarch is well known. George Kent, the very first witness that the Democrats called during their public hearings testified. So Zlochevsky stood out for his self dealings even among other oligarchs. House managers didn’t tell you that.
Ambassador Kurt Volker explained that Burisma had a “very bad reputation as a company for corruption and money laundering.” House managers didn’t tell you that. Burisma was so corrupt that George Kent said he intervened to prevent USAID from cosponsoring an event with Burisma. Do you know what this event was? It was a child contest and the prize was a camera. They were so bad, Burisma that our country wouldn’t even co-sponsor a children’s event with Burisma.
In March 2014 the United Kingdom Serious Fraud Office opened some money laundering investigation into the oligarch Zlochevsky and his company Burisma. The very next month, April 2014 according to a public report, Hunter Biden quietly joins the board of Burisma. Remember early 2014 was when vice president Biden began leading Ukraine policy. Here’s how Hunter Biden came to join Burisma’s board in April 2014. He was brought on the board by Devon Archer, his business partner, Devon Archer was college roommates with Chris Heinz, stepson of secretary of state, John Kerry.
All three men, Hunter Biden, Devon Archer, and Chris Heinz had all started an investment firm together. Public records show that April 16th, 2014 Devon Archer meets with vice president Biden at the white house. Just two days later, on April 18th, 2014 is when Hunter Biden quietly joins Burisma according to public reporting. Remember, this is just one month after the United Kingdom Serious Fraud Office open a money laundering case into Burisma, Hunter Biden joins their board. And not only 10 days after Hunter Biden joins the board, British authorities seizes $23 million in British bank accounts connected to the oligarch Zlochevsky, the owner of Burisma.
Did Hunter Biden leave the board then? No. The British authorities also announced that it had started a criminal investigation into potential money laundering. Did Hunter Biden leave the board? No. What happened was then only then did the company choose to announce that Hunter Biden had joined the board after the assets of Burisma and its oligarch owners Zlochevsky were frozen and a criminal investigation had begun.
Hunter Biden’s decision to join Burisma raised flags almost immediately. One article from May, 2014 stated the appointment of Joe Biden’s son to the board of Ukrainian gas firm Burisma has raised eyebrows the world over. Even an outlet with bias for Democrats pointed out Hunter Biden’s activities created a conflict of interest for Joe Biden. The article stated the move raises questions about a potential conflict of interest for Joe Biden.
Now even Chris Heinz, Hunter Biden’s own business partner had grave concerns. He thought that working with Burisma was unacceptable. This is Chris Heinz. He was worried about the corruption, the geopolitical risk and how bad it would look. So he wisely distances himself from Hunter Biden and Devon Archer’s appointments to Burisma. He didn’t simply call his step-father secretary-of-state and say, “I have a problem with this.” He didn’t tell his friends, “Hey guys, I’m not getting on the board. I want nothing to do with this.” He went so far as to send an email to senior state department officials about this issue. This Chris Heinz?
He wrote, apparently Devon and Hunter have joined the board of Burisma and a press release went out today. I can’t speak to why they decided to, but there is no investment by our firm in their company. What did Hunter Biden do? He stayed on the board. What did Chris Heinz do? He subsequently stopped doing business with his college roommate, Devon Archer and his friend Hunter Biden. Chris Heinz spokesperson said the lack of judgment in this matter was a major catalyst for Mr. Heinz ending his business relationship with Mr. Archer and Mr. Biden. Now the media also noticed the same day and ABC news reporter ask Obama White House press secretary Jay Carney about it. Here’s what happened.
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-
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.
The next day the Washington Post ran a story about it. It said, the appointment of the vice president’s son to a Ukrainian oil board look…
… Of the vice president’s son to a Ukrainian oil board looks nepotistic at best, nefarious at worst.” Again, “The appointment of the vice president’s son to a Ukrainian oil board looks nepotistic at best, nefarious at worst.” And the media didn’t stop questioning asking questions here. It kept going, here’s ABC
You have to fight the cancer of corruption.
But then something strange happened. Just three weeks later, a Ukrainian natural gas company, Burisma, accused of corruption appoints hunter Biden, seen here in their promotional videos, to their board of directors, paying his firm more than a million dollars a year.
Here’s more from ABC. Continued on
Ukraine wasn’t the only country where Hunter Biden’s business and his father’s diplomacy as vice president intersected. It also happened in China.
This video shows Chinese diplomats greeting Vice President Biden as you arrived in Beijing in December of 2013. Right by his side? His son, Hunter. Less than two weeks later, Hunter’s firm had new business, creating an investment fund in China involving the government controlled bank of China with reports they hoped to raise one $1.5 Billion.
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.
Now, Hunter Biden was paid significantly more than board members for major US Fortune 100 companies such as Goldman Sachs, Comcast, Citigroup. The typical board member of these Fortune 100 companies … We know they’re titans of their industry, they’re highly qualified, and as such, they’re well compensated. Even so, Hunter Biden was paid significantly more. This is how well he was compensated. Hunter Biden is paid over $83,000 a month while the average American family of four during that time, each year made less than $54,000, and that’s according to US Census Bureau during that time.
And this is what’s been reported about his work on the board. The Washington post said, “What specific duties Hunter Biden carried out for Burisma are not fully known.” The New Yorker reported, “Once or twice a year, he attended Burisma board meetings and energy forums that took place in Europe.” When speaking with ABC News about his qualifications to be on Burisma’s board, Hunter Biden didn’t point to any of the usual qualifications of a board member. Hunter Biden and had no experience in natural gas, no experience in the energy sector, no experience with Ukrainian regulatory affairs. As far as we know, he doesn’t speak Ukrainian. So, naturally, the media has asked questions about his board membership. Why was Hunter Biden on this board?
If your last name wasn’t Biden, do you think you would have been asked to be on the board of Burisma?
I don’t know. I don’t know, probably not.
So, let’s go back and talk about his time on the board. Remember he joined Burisma’s board April, 2014, while the United Kingdom had an open money laundering case against Burisma and its owner, the oligarch Zlochevsky. On August 20th, 2014, four months later, the Ukrainian prosecutor general’s office initiates a money laundering investigation into the same oligarch, Zlochevsky. This is one of 15 investigations into Burisma and Zlochevsky.
According to a recent public statement made by the current prosecutor general, on January 16, 2015, prosecutors put Zlochevsky, the owner of Burisma, on whose Hunter Biden sat on his board, on the country’s wanted list for fraud, while Hunter Biden’s on the board. Then a British court orders Zlochevsky’s $23 million in assets be unfrozen. Why was the money unfrozen? Deputy Assistant Secretary Kent testified to it.
Somebody in the general prosecutor’s office of Ukraine shut the case, issued a letter to his lawyer, and that money went poof.
So, essentially paid a bribe to make the case go away?
That is our strong assumption. Yes, sir.
He also testified that the Ukrainian prosecutor general’s office’s actions led to the unfreezing of the assets. After George Kent’s confirmation, that prosecutor was out. Victor Shokin becomes the prosecutor general. This is the prosecutor that you’ll hear about later, the one that Vice President Biden has publicly said he wanted out of office. In addition to flagging questions about previous prosecutor’s actions, George Kent also specifically voiced other concerns, this time to the vice president’s office about Hunter Biden. In February, 2015, he raised concerns about Hunter Biden to Vice President Biden’s office.
In a briefing call with the national security staff of the office of the vice president in February of 2015, I raised my concern that Hunter Biden’s status as a board member could create the perception of a conflict of interest.
But House managers didn’t tell you that. This is all while Hunter Biden’s sat on Burisma’s board. Did Hunter Biden stop working for Burisma? No. Did Vice President Biden stop leading the Obama administration’s foreign policy efforts in Ukraine? No. In the meantime, Vice President Biden is still at the forefront of the US Ukraine policy. He pledges $1 billion loan guarantee to Ukraine contingent on its progress in rooting out corruption. Around the same time with the $1 billion announcement, other people raised the issue of a conflict. As special Obama administration special envoy for energy policy told the New Yorker, it raised Hunter Biden’s participation on the board of Burisma. He raised it directly with the vice president himself. This is a special Envoy to president Obama, and the media had questions too. December 8, 2015, the New York Times publishes an article that Prosecutor General Shokin was investigating Burisma and its owner, Zlochevsky. The Times report, here’s their quote. “The credibility of the vice president’s anti-corruption message may have been undermined by the association of his son, Hunter Biden,” with Barisma and its owner, Zlochevsky.
And it wasn’t just one reporter who asked questions about the line between Burisma and the Obama administration. As we learned recently through reporting on Fox news, on January 19th, 2016, there was a meeting between Obama administration officials and Ukrainian prosecutors. Ken Vogel, journalist for the New York Times, asked the State Department about this meeting. He wanted more information about the meeting, “where US support for prosecutions of Burisma holdings in the United Kingdom in Ukraine were discussed,” but the story never ran.
Around the time of the reported story, January, 2016, meeting between the Obama administration and Ukrainian officials took place according to a Ukrainian press report, as translated says. “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.”
Now, we all know from the Obama administration and from the words of Vice President Biden himself, he advocated for the prosecutor general’s dismissal. There was ongoing investigation into the oligarch, Zlochevsky, the owner of Burisma, at the time. We know this because on February 2nd, 2016, the Ukrainian …
… 2, 2016, the Ukrainian prosecutor general obtained a renewal of a court order to seize the Ukrainian oligarch’s assets. A Kiev Post article published on February 4th, 2016 says, the oligarch Zlochevsky is, quote, suspected of committing a criminal offense of elicit enrichment, end quote. Over the next few weeks, the vice president had multiple calls with Ukraine’s President Poroshenko. Days after the last call on February 4th … 24th, 2016, a D.C. consultant reached out to the State Department to request a meeting to discuss Burisma. We know what she said because the email was released under the Freedom Of Information Act. The consultant explicitly invoked Hunter Biden’s name as a board member. In an email summarizing the call, the State Department official says that the consultant quote, noted that two high profile citizens are affiliated with the company, including Hunter Biden as a board member, end quote. She added that the consultant would, quote 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, end quote.
To be clear, this email documents that the U.S. government had determined Burisma to be corrupt. And the consultant was seeking a meeting with an extremely senior State Department official to discuss the U.S. government’s position. Her pitch for the meeting specifically used Hunter Biden’s name, and according to the email, the meeting was set for a few days later. And later that month, on 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. Two days after the prosecutor general is voted out, Vice President Biden announces that the U.S. will provide $335 million in security assistance to Ukraine. He soon announces that the U.S. will provide one billion dollars in loan guarantees to Ukraine. Now let’s talk about one of the Democrat’s central witnesses, Ambassador Yovanovitch. In May 2016, Ambassador Yovanovitch was nominated to be Ambassador in Ukraine. Here’s what happened when she was preparing for her Senate confirmation hearing.
Congresswoman Stefanik had asked you how the Obama, Biden State Department had prepared you to answer questions about Burisma and Hunter Biden specifically, you recall that?
Out of thousands of companies in the Ukraine, the only one that you recall, the Obama, Biden State Department prepared you to answer questions about was the one where the vice president’s son was on the board, is that fair?
So she’s being prepared to come before all of you, all of you, and talk about world issues, I’m going to be in charge of the Ukraine, and what did they feel the only company, the company that it was important to brief her on in case she got a question, Burisma. Ambassador Yovanovitch was confirmed July, 2016 as the Obama administration was coming to a close. In September, 2016, a Ukrainian court cancels the oligarch Zlochevsky arrest warrant for lack of progress in the case. In mid January, 2017, Burisma announces that all legal proceedings against it and Zlochevsky have been closed. Both of these things happened while Hunter Biden sat on the board of Burisma. Around this time, Vice President Biden leaves office. Years later now, former Vice President Biden, publicly details what we know happened. His threat to withhold more than a billion dollars in loan guarantees unless Shokin was fired. Here’s the vice president.
I said, I’m not going to, or we’re not going to give you the billion dollars. They said, “You have no authority. You’re not the president. The president said …” I said, “Call him.” I said, “I’m telling you, you’re not getting the billion dollars.” I said, “You’re not getting a billion, I’m going to be leaving here.” And I think it was what, six hours. I looked and I said, “I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor’s not fired, you’re not getting the money.” Well, son of a bitch. He got fired and they put in place someone who was solid at the time.
What he didn’t say on that video, according to the New York Times, this was the prosecutor investigating Burisma, Shokin. What he also didn’t say on the video was that his son was being paid significant amounts by the oligarch, owner of Burisma, to sit on that board. Only then does Hunter Biden leave the board, he stays on the board until April, 2019. Now in November, 2019, Hunter Biden signs an affidavit saying quote, he’s been unemployed and has no other monthly income since May, 2019. This was in November of 2019, so we know from after April, 2019 to May, 2019 through November, 2019, he was unemployed by his own statement.
April, 2019 to November, 2019, despite his resignation from the board, the media has continued to raise the issue relating to a potential conflict of interest. On July 22nd, 2019, The Washington Post wrote, the fired prosecutor general Shokin quote, believes his ouster was because of his interest in the company, end quote, referring to Burisma. The Post further wrote that, quote, had he remained in his post, he would have questioned Hunter Biden. On July 25th, 2019, three days later, President Trump speaks with President Zelensky. He says, “The other thing, there’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that, so whatever you can do with this attorney general would be great.” Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution said, “If you can look into it. It looks horrible to me, end quote. The House managers talked about the Bidens or Burisma 400 times, but they never gave you the full picture.
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.