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Biden–Ukraine conspiracy theory

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Rudy Giuliani addressing Trump supporters in Arizona

The Biden–Ukraine conspiracy theory is a series of unevidenced claims centered on the false allegation that while Joe Biden was vice president of the United States, he engaged in corrupt activities relating to the employment of his son Hunter Biden by the Ukrainian gas company Burisma.[1] They were spread primarily in an attempt to damage Joe Biden's reputation during the 2020 presidential campaign.[2] United States intelligence community analysis released in March 2021 found that proxies of Russian intelligence promoted and laundered misleading or unsubstantiated narratives about the Bidens "to US media organizations, US officials, and prominent US individuals, including some close to former President Trump and his administration."[3] The New York Times reported in May 2021 that a federal criminal investigation was examining a possible role by current and former Ukrainian officials, including whether they used former Trump personal attorney Rudy Giuliani to spread unsubstantiated claims, who is the subject of a separate federal investigation.[4]

The conspiracy theory alleges that then-Vice President Biden withheld loan guarantees to pressure Ukraine into firing a prosecutor to prevent a corruption investigation into Burisma and to protect his son. Although the United States did withhold government aid to pressure Ukraine into removing the prosecutor,[5] this was the official and bipartisan policy of the federal government of the United States, which, along with the European Union, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, believed the prosecutor to be corrupt and ineffective, and too lenient in investigating companies and oligarchs, including Burisma and its owner.[6][7]

In October 2020, during the last weeks of the presidential campaign, the New York Post published an article, with the involvement of Donald Trump's personal attorney Giuliani and former chief strategist Steve Bannon, about a found laptop allegedly belonging to Hunter Biden. The laptop contained an email, the authenticity of which was not verified, which showed what the New York Post characterized as a "meeting" between Joe Biden and a Burisma advisor in 2015, though that characterization was disputed by witnesses.[5] The article's veracity was strongly questioned by most mainstream media outlets, analysts and intelligence officials, due to the questionable provenance of the laptop and its contents, and the suspicion it may have been part of a disinformation campaign.[8][9][10]

Background

Hunter Biden is a lawyer whose career previously included a period as an executive vice-president at MBNA and three years at the United States Department of Commerce. He then worked as a lobbyist until 2006, when George W. Bush appointed him to the board of directors of Amtrak. Hunter Biden resigned from Amtrak in February 2009, shortly after the inauguration of Barack Obama, when his father Joe Biden became vice-president. He resumed lobbying, and was counsel at the law firm Boies Schiller Flexner LLP, until the Ukrainian oil and gas firm Burisma Holdings hired him in April 2014.[11] As Hunter Biden had no prior experience in Ukraine or the energy sector, some viewed this as a likely attempt to buy influence via his father. Hunter Biden's employment was described by commentators as creating a conflict of interest, and advisors to the Obama administration considered the situation awkward.[12]

The conspiracy theory holds that Burisma used Hunter Biden's position to influence then-vice president Joe Biden, who subsequently conditioned the release of $1 billion in US government aid on a requirement that Ukraine fire its prosecutor general, Viktor Shokin (who had held this post from February 2015[13] until March 2016[14]), to prevent the company from being investigated for corruption. This narrative is inconsistent with contemporaneous reports and has repeatedly been found to be false.[1] No evidence has been found showing Hunter Biden engaged in influence peddling with his father.[15] While Vice President Biden did withhold $1 billion in government aid to Ukraine in 2015, this was done as part of a wider American and international policy to induce Ukraine to remove Shokin, not to prevent an investigation into Burisma. Shokin, viewed by the American government as both corrupt and ineffective, had failed to launch a serious corruption investigation into the affairs of the country's oligarchs. The U.S. particularly objected to his failure to fully investigate Burisma's founder, Mykola Zlochevsky.[5] The Ukrainian prosecutor's office continued to examine Burisma under Shokin's successor, Yuriy Lutsenko, but Lutsenko clarified that the cause of concern was a transaction unrelated to Hunter Biden and stated that there was no evidence of wrongdoing by either Hunter or Joe Biden.[12][16]

Viktor Shokin

Shokin was appointed by, and loyal to, Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko. Representatives of the EU and the United States pressed Poroshenko for his removal[17] as did the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.[18][19] An overwhelming majority vote in the Ukrainian Parliament in March 2016 led to Shokin's removal from office[20] after an investigation into extortion of another company led to associates who were found in possession of diamonds, cash and other valuables[21] as well as documents and passports belonging to Shokin.[22]

Trump's first impeachment

Trump's first impeachment charge of abuse of power was triggered by a July 2019 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which then-President Trump tried to pressure Zelensky to start an investigation of Burisma and Hunter Biden, allegedly in exchange for the release of congressionally mandated financial and military aid to Ukraine (quid pro quo). During the hearings and impeachment trial of President Trump in 2019-20, he and his allies repeatedly alleged that Joe Biden and his son had engaged in corrupt activities in Ukraine.[23][24] Trump said he planned to make it a major issue during the 2020 United States presidential race,[25] while a Republican-controlled Senate committee carried out an investigation into the allegations in spring 2020.[26] The investigation by the Republican-controlled Senate Homeland Security and Finance Committees concluded in September 2020 that Hunter Biden "'cashed in' on his father's name to close lucrative business deals around the world", but that there was no evidence of improper influence or wrongdoing by Joe Biden.[27]

Rudy Giuliani

Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, spearheaded an effort to gather information in Ukraine to advance the allegations, and Attorney General William Barr confirmed that the Justice Department had created an "intake process" to review Giuliani's findings.[28] Giuliani and his associates worked with individuals linked to Russian intelligence and organized crime, including Andrii Derkach and Dmytro Firtash.[29][30] Derkach released snippets of a supposed conversation between Joe Biden and Poroshenko, in which Biden linked loan guarantees to the ouster of the country's corrupt and ineffective prosecutor general.[5] The recordings, which were not verified as authentic and appeared to be heavily edited,[31] did not provide evidence to support the ongoing conspiracy theory that Biden wanted the prosecutor fired to protect his son.[32] In June 2020, Poroshenko denied that Joe Biden ever approached him about Burisma and characterized the recordings as fake.[30][33] In September 2020, the United States Department of the Treasury sanctioned Derkach, stating he "has been an active Russian agent for over a decade, maintaining close connections with the Russian Intelligence Services". The Treasury Department added that Derkach "waged a covert influence campaign centered on cultivating false and unsubstantiated narratives concerning U.S. officials in the upcoming 2020 Presidential Election," including by the release of "edited audio tapes and other unsupported information with the intent to discredit U.S. officials".[34][35]

In late 2019, it was revealed that the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, which Giuliani had once led, was investigating him for multiple felonies relating to his activities in Ukraine.[36][37] Intelligence officials warned Ron Johnson, the chairman of the Senate committee investigating the Bidens, that he risked spreading Russian disinformation.[38] The Washington Post reported in October 2020 that American intelligence agencies warned the White House in 2019 that Giuliani was the target of a Russian influence operation, and National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien warned President Trump about accepting what Giuliani told him. American intelligence monitoring Russian assets intercepted Giuliani communicating with them.[39] According to officials interviewed by The Daily Beast, then-National Security Advisor John Bolton told his staff not to meet with Giuliani, as did his successor Robert C. O'Brien, because Bolton had been informed that Giuliani was spreading conspiracy theories that aligned with Russian interests in disrupting the 2020 election. These officials were also concerned that Giuliani would be used as a conduit for disinformation, including "leaks" of emails that would mix genuine with forged material to implicate Hunter Biden in corrupt dealings.[40] Interviewed by The Daily Beast, Giuliani would later declare that Derkach's being sanctioned was the result of a conspiracy led by George Soros and that "the chance that Derkach is a Russian spy is no better than 50/50".[41]

Ukrainian businessman Hares Youssef told The Times that an associate of Dmytro Firtash asked Youssef to lie about Hunter Biden's business dealings to damage Joe Biden's presidential campaign, in exchange for a United States visa.[42]

New York Post reporting

The logo of the New York Post, which first published the story of the laptop

On October 14, 2020, the New York Post published articles containing purported emails of unknown authorship which suggested that Hunter Biden provided an "opportunity" to Vadym Pozharskyi, an advisor to the board of Burisma, to meet his father, then-Vice President Joe Biden.[43][44][45] Joe Biden stated in September 2019 that he had never spoken to his son about his foreign business dealings.[46] His presidential campaign denied such a meeting took place and stated the New York Post had never contacted them "about the critical elements of this story".[47] Michael Carpenter, Vice President Biden's foreign policy adviser in 2015, told The Washington Post that he had accompanied Biden during all of his meetings about Ukraine and that, "He never met with [Pozharskyi]." He added, "In fact, I had never heard of this guy until the New York Post story broke."[5] One of the purported emails showed Pozharskyi saying he would share information with Amos Hochstein, a State Department advisor close to Vice President Biden, though Hochstein stated, "The Republican Senate investigation subpoenaed all my records, including emails and calendars and found no mention of this man. I led the US energy efforts in Ukraine and never even heard of him before yesterday."[48] The New York Post published images and PDF copies of the alleged emails, but their authenticity and origin have not been determined.[49] According to an investigation by The New York Times, editors at the New York Post "pressed staff members to add their bylines to the story", and at least one refused, in addition to the original author, reportedly because of a lack of confidence in its credibility. Of the two writers eventually credited on the article, the second did not know her name was attached to it until after The Post published it.[8] In its opening sentence, the New York Post story misleadingly asserted "the elder Biden pressured government officials in Ukraine into firing a prosecutor who was investigating" Burisma, despite the fact that Shokin had not pursued an investigation into Burisma's founder.[5] The opening sentence also misleadingly stated that Hunter Biden introduced his father to Pozharskyi, but the purported email from Pozharskyi only mentioned an invitation and "opportunity" for the men to meet.[50][51]

On May 26, 2021, the New York Post published another article focused on purported emails, suggesting that Joe Biden had met with Vadym Pozharskyi at a dinner in Cafe Milano in Washington.[52] The Washington Post investigated the April 16, 2015 dinner.[52] According to dinner attendee Rick Leach, who like Hunter Biden was one of the leaders of the World Food Program USA fundraising organization, the discussions at the dinner were about food security, not "politics or business".[52] Leach said that Joe Biden briefly dropped by the dinner to meet Alex Karloutsos.[52] According to Leach, Joe Biden "didn't even sit down. He was not part of the dinner or part of the dinner discussion."[52] Karloutsos, a longtime friend of Joe Biden, had an influential role in the Greek Orthodox Church that Joe Biden long worked with.[52] Karloutsos corroborated Leach's account.[52] Also according to The Washington Post, the tentative guest list for the dinner lists "Vadym" with no surname listed.[52]

Laptop and hard drive

Rudy Giuliani provided the materials to the New York Post after they were allegedly found on a MacBook Pro left at a Delaware computer repair shop owned by John Paul Mac Isaac.[53] Mac Isaac contacted Giuliani, who he said was his "lifeguard"—voicing credence to the conspiracy theory that the Hillary Clinton 2016 presidential campaign was behind the murder of campaign worker Seth Rich.[54] Steve Bannon informed the New York Post of the laptop,[55] and he and Giuliani delivered a copy of the supposed laptop hard drive to the publication.[56] Weeks before, Bannon had boasted on Dutch television that he had Hunter Biden's hard drive.[56] Giuliani was later quoted as saying he had given the copy to the New York Post because "either nobody else would take it, or if they took it, they would spend all the time they could to try to contradict it before they put it out".[8] According to the New York Post story, an unknown person left the computer at the repair shop to repair water damage, but once this was completed, the shop had no contact information for its owner, and nobody ever paid for it or came to pick it up.[57] Criticism has been focused on Mac Isaac over inconsistencies in his accounts of how the laptop came into his possession and how he passed it on to Giuliani and the FBI.[57][54] When interviewed by CBS News, Mac Isaac offered contradictory statements about his motivations.[58] Thomas Rid, a political scientist and disinformation expert at Johns Hopkins University, noted that the emails could have been forged or that forged material could have been mixed with genuine materials, a "common feature" of disinformation operations.[59] The Daily Beast reported that according to two "individuals with direct knowledge", multiple senior officials in the Trump administration and reelection campaign were aware of the laptop hard drive "several weeks" prior to the New York Post story.[60] Giuliani later confirmed to The Daily Beast that he had informed Trump about the material before the New York Post story.[41]

The New York Post reported it had been shown an image purporting to show a federal subpoena that resulted in the computer and an external hard drive being seized by the FBI in December 2019.[5][failed verification] NBC News reported the FBI had acquired the devices via a grand jury subpoena, though it was unclear if this was the subpoena cited by the New York Post, and was investigating whether the contents were linked to a foreign intelligence operation.[61] The Associated Press confirmed the existence of the FBI investigation into possible foreign-intelligence activity.[62] Citing a "US official and a congressional source briefed on the matter", CNN reported the FBI was specifically investigating possible connections to ongoing Russian disinformation efforts against Biden.[48]

Hunter Biden stated in an interview published April 2021 that he was not sure whether the laptop belonged to him; he said there "could be a laptop out there that was stolen from" him, or he could have been "hacked" by Russian intelligence.[63] PolitiFact wrote in June 2021: "Over time, there has been less doubt that the laptop did in fact belong to Hunter Biden", concluding that the laptop "was real in the sense that it exists, but it didn't prove much", as the laptop did not show wrongdoing by Joe Biden as vice president with regard to Burisma.[64] PolitiFact states that it is possible that "copies of a laptop" were obtained, instead of the actual laptop.[64] PolitiFact states that the Daily Mail published nude photos of Hunter Biden from the laptop, as well as other content focused on Hunter Biden's drug use and legal issues, but notes that Hunter Biden had already publicized his own drug issues.[64]

Ukraine material

Material similar to the alleged hard-drive contents was reportedly circulating in Ukraine during 2019. One individual interviewed by Time magazine stated that he had been approached in late May 2019, and a second person stated that he had been approached in mid-September. The seller, according to the second individual, wished to sell compromising information about Hunter Biden to Republican allies of Donald Trump for $5 million. "I walked away from it, because it smelled awful", he told Time. Igor Novikov, a former advisor to the Ukrainian president and a disinformation researcher, said that the market for kompromat (damaging material) had been very active in the past year in reaction to political events in the United States, with political operatives rushing to respond to Giuliani's call for damaging information on the Bidens. Novikov characterized the materials available on the market as "extremely hard to verify, yet very easy to fake". On October 19, Derkach posted on social media that he had a second Hunter Biden laptop, stating, "The facts confirming international corruption are stored on a second laptop. These are not the last witnesses or the last laptop."[65] Lev Parnas told Politico that Giuliani had been told about compromising material regarding Hunter Biden on May 30, 2019, during a visit with Vitaly Pruss, an associate of the corrupt oligarch Zlochevsky.[66]

Hunter Biden story pitch

Earlier in the month and before the Post's report, a White House lawyer and two others affiliated with Trump had already pitched a story about Hunter Biden's business dealings in China to The Wall Street Journal, which the Trump affiliates saw as an ideal outlet for its combination of conservatism and industry credibility. While the Journal conducted due diligence and unbeknownst to the Trump affiliates, Giuliani and the New York Post published a version of the story with unclear provenance that alleged but did not prove Joe Biden's involvement in his son's affairs. Bannon had anticipated the Journal story would appear on the 19th, and Trump told reporters to expect a major story in the Journal. Internally, the insinuation that their journalism was affiliated with or on behalf of Trump irritated the Journal editors. Tony Bobulinski, a business partner of Hunter Biden who was interviewed for the Journal's report, was spooked that the Journal would not run the piece and issued his own statement on the 21st, which Breitbart News published unedited. At the next day's presidential debate, Trump made vague reference to the emails and hosted Bobulinski as his special guest. After the debate, the Journal published its brief story that Bobulinski and corporate records assessed by the Journal "show no role for Joe Biden".[67]

Aftermath

After a scandal narrative failed to gain traction in the mainstream press, conservative media and personalities pivoted to a "meta narrative" that the press, social media platforms and the "deep state" were suppressing news of the scandal. This was one of many instances during the 2020 campaign where conservatives accused tech companies of aiding Biden's campaign by suppressing negative coverage of him.[68]

The New York Times reported in May 2021 that federal investigators in Brooklyn began a criminal investigation late in the Trump administration into possible efforts by several current and former Ukrainian officials to spread unsubstantiated allegations about corruption by Joe Biden. Investigators were examining whether the Ukrainians used Giuliani as a channel for the allegations, though he was not a specific subject of the investigation, in contrast to a long-running investigation of Giuliani by the US attorney's office in Manhattan.[4]

Reactions

Intelligence officials

On October 19, a group of over 50 former senior intelligence officials, who had served in the Trump administration and the three previous, released an open letter stating that the release of the alleged emails "has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation".[10][69]

During an interview with Fox News on October 19, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said the laptop was "not part of some Russian disinformation campaign" and accused Adam Schiff of mischaracterizing the views of the intelligence community by describing the alleged emails as part of a smear campaign against Biden.[70] Schiff's spokesman accused Ratcliffe of "purposefully misrepresenting" the congressman's words.[71] Ratcliffe is considered a Trump loyalist,[72] and a number of commentators had expressed concerns previously over his partiality.[73][74] The New York Times reported that no solid evidence had emerged that the laptop contained Russian disinformation.[2] An FBI probe seeking to determine whether the laptop was part of a foreign intelligence operation is still ongoing.[48][61] Several security officials criticized Ratcliffe for appearing to pre-judge its outcome.[75] The FBI has publicly stated they had "nothing to add" to Ratcliffe's remarks in response to a request for more information made by Sen. Ron Johnson.[76]

A United States intelligence community analysis released in March 2021 found that proxies of Russian intelligence had promoted and laundered misleading or unsubstantiated narratives about the Bidens "to US media organizations, US officials, and prominent US individuals, including some close to former President Trump and his administration".[3][77]

Social media corporations

Twitter and Facebook both implemented measures on their platforms to prevent sharing of the New York Post article. Twitter first deprecated the story (prevented its algorithm from highlighting it due to its popularity) but eventually banned links to the story from being posted.[47] It did so according to their Hacked Materials Policy and Facebook per a policy that "in many countries, including in the U.S., if we have signals that a piece of content is false, we temporarily reduce its distribution pending review by a third-party fact-checker."[78][79][80] The Hill reported on the Facebook action, "it is unclear what 'signals' triggered the limit on the New York Post article".[78] Twitter briefly locked President Donald Trump's presidential campaign Twitter account for sharing a controversial Hunter Biden video earlier on October 15. The account was unlocked later that day.[81] Between October 14 and 23, the original New York Post story received over 54 million Facebook views.[82]

Commentators from varied political backgrounds criticized the actions taken by Facebook and Twitter, arguing that they could have amplified disinformation thanks to the Streisand effect.[47] Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey noted, "Our communication around our actions on the @nypost article was not great", adding that "blocking URL sharing via tweet or [direct message]" without explaining the context was "unacceptable".[83]

President Donald Trump tweeted twice on October 14 in response to Facebook and Twitter's actions: "So terrible that Facebook and Twitter took down the story of 'Smoking Gun' emails related to Sleepy Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, in the @NYPost," and, "It is only the beginning for them. There is nothing worse than a corrupt politician. REPEAL SECTION 230!!!".[84]

Congressional Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee called on Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to testify before the committee in response to their platforms' actions. Senators Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham, and Josh Hawley announced that the committee would vote on subpoenaing Dorsey to appear on October 23.[79] Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell described the restrictions made by Facebook and Twitter as "absolutely reprehensible" and stated that the companies were acting as "speech police".[85]

Dorsey stated that "Straight blocking of URLs was wrong, and we updated our policy and enforcement to fix," adding "Our goal is to attempt to add context, and now we have capabilities to do that."[86] Facebook also said that it was restricting spread pending input from third-party fact-checkers. Associated Press noted that the story had, as of October 17, 2020, "not been confirmed by other publications".[86]

The New York Times reported in September 2021 that a Federal Election Commission inquiry into a complaint about the matter found Twitter had acted with a valid commercial reason, rather than a political purpose.[87]

Joe Biden 2020 presidential campaign

The Joe Biden 2020 presidential campaign press secretary Jamal Brown stated that Twitter's action with regard to the New York Post story indicated that the allegations in the story were false.[88] They specifically denied that Joe Biden ever had a formal meeting with Pozharskyi, and said that if they had ever met, it would have been a brief encounter.[89]

Congress

On January 21, 2021, the day after Biden's inauguration, Republican representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia filed articles of impeachment against Biden that cited the claims.[90] No fellow members of Congress co-sponsored the articles.

Other press outlets

Fellow press outlets The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal stated that they could not verify the data provided by the New York Post independently.[8] NBC News requested a copy of the hard drive from Giuliani, who told them that he would not provide one; they say Giuliani offered them copies of a small number of emails but would not give them the full set.[91]

David Folkenflik of NPR observed that the New York Post story asserted as facts things it presumed to be true. He also noted that the credited lead author of the story, deputy political editor Emma-Jo Morris, had virtually no previous bylines in reporting, and her most significant prior employment was a nearly four-year position as a producer on Sean Hannity's Fox News program. Hannity, a close Trump advisor, has repeatedly suggested wrongdoing by Biden in Ukraine.[49]

Vanity Fair observed the story had exposed an ongoing journalistic "cold war" within Rupert Murdoch's media empire, which includes The New York Post, Fox News, and The Wall Street Journal. In particular, it described an internal rift over coverage by the Journal which published an opinion article by conservative columnist Kimberley Strassel inflating the claims, only to have the news section publish an article which "swept the legs out from under their Opinion colleague's argument" four hours later. Ryan Lizza, reporter for Politico, was quoted as saying "reporters at the WSJ, Fox News, and NYP have all come to the same conclusion about these documents but they are being drowned out by bad faith activists on the opinion side at these Murdoch companies who favor Trump's re-election."[92]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Multiple sources:
  2. ^ a b Goldman, Adam (October 22, 2020). "What We Know and Don't About Hunter Biden and a Laptop". The New York Times. Archived from the original on October 23, 2020. Retrieved October 23, 2020.
  3. ^ a b Cohen, Zachary; Cohen, Marshall; Polantz, Katelyn (March 16, 2021). "US intelligence report says Russia used Trump allies to influence 2020 election with goal of 'denigrating' Biden". CNN. Retrieved March 18, 2021.
  4. ^ a b Rashbaum, William K.; Protess, Ben; Vogel, Kenneth P.; Hong, Nicole (May 27, 2021). "Prosecutors Investigating Whether Ukrainians Meddled in 2020 Election". The New York Times. Retrieved June 12, 2021.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Kessler, Glenn (October 15, 2020). "Hunter Biden's alleged laptop: an explainer". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on October 15, 2020. Retrieved October 15, 2020.
  6. ^ Blake, Aaron (September 23, 2020). "GOP's Hunter Biden report doesn't back up Trump's actual conspiracy theory — or anything close to it". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on September 24, 2020. Retrieved October 17, 2020.
  7. ^ In March 2016 testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, former ambassador to Ukraine John E. Herbst stated, "By late fall of 2015, the EU and the United States joined the chorus of those seeking Mr. Shokin's removal" and that Joe Biden "spoke publicly about this before and during his December visit to Kyiv". During the same hearing, assistant secretary of state Victoria Nuland stated, "we have pegged our next $1 billion loan guarantee, first and foremost, to having a rebooting of the reform coalition so that we know who we are working with, but secondarily, to ensuring that the prosecutor general's office gets cleaned up." Ukrainian Reforms Two Years After the Maidan Revolution and the Russian Invasion Hearing Archived November 19, 2019, at the Wayback Machine. United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. March 15, 2016. Retrieved April 30, 2020.
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  10. ^ a b Bertrand, Natasha (October 19, 2020). "Hunter Biden story is Russian disinfo, dozens of former intel officials say". Politico. Archived from the original on October 20, 2020. Retrieved October 20, 2020.
  11. ^ Ivanova, Polina (October 19, 2019). "What Hunter Biden did on the board of Ukrainian energy company Burisma". Reuters. Kiev. Retrieved June 16, 2021.
  12. ^ a b Kranish, Michael; Stern, David L. (July 22, 2019). "As vice president, Biden said Ukraine should increase gas production. Then his son got a job with a Ukrainian gas company". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Archived from the original on October 22, 2020. Retrieved October 23, 2020.
  13. ^ "Ukrainian parliament backs nomination of Shokin as prosecutor general". Interfax-Ukraine. February 10, 2015.
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  15. ^ Multiple sources:
    • "Trump: I want to meet my accuser". Agence France-Presse. September 30, 2019. Archived from the original on October 1, 2019. Retrieved October 1, 2019. US President Donald Trump said on Sunday he wants and deserves to meet the anonymous whistleblower at the center of the fast-moving scandal that has triggered an impeachment probe against him ... Brandishing what he said were affidavits incriminating Biden's son Hunter over his work at a Ukrainian company, Giuliani said Trump was duty bound to raise the issue with Kiev. Trump and his allies claim Biden, as Barack Obama's vice president, pressured Kiev to fire the country's top prosecutor to protect his son Hunter, who sat on the board of a gas company, Burisma Holdings, accused of corrupt practices. Those allegations have largely been debunked and there has been no evidence of illegal conduct or wrongdoing in Ukraine by the Bidens.
    • Matthias, Williams; Polityuk, Pavel (September 26, 2019). "Zelenskiy opponents say comments about Europeans to Trump could hurt Ukraine". Reuters. Archived from the original on October 1, 2019. Retrieved October 1, 2019. Trump pressed Zelenskiy to investigate the business dealings of the son of his political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic front-runner to challenge Trump in an election next year. Zelenskiy agreed. Biden's son Hunter worked for a company drilling for gas in Ukraine. There has been no evidence of wrongdoing by either Biden.
    • Isachenkov, Vladimir (September 27, 2019). "Ukraine's prosecutor says there is no probe into Biden". Associated Press. Archived from the original on October 1, 2019. Retrieved October 1, 2019. Though the timing raised concerns among anti-corruption advocates, there has been no evidence of wrongdoing by either the former vice president or his son.
    • "White House 'tried to cover up details of Trump-Ukraine call'". BBC News. September 26, 2019. Archived from the original on September 30, 2019. Retrieved October 1, 2019. There is no evidence of any wrongdoing by the Bidens.
    • Timm, Jane (September 25, 2019). "There's no evidence for Trump's Biden-Ukraine accusations. What really happened?". NBC News. Archived from the original on October 1, 2019. Retrieved October 1, 2019. But despite Trump's continued claims, there's no evidence of wrongdoing on the part of either Biden.
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  18. ^ Blake, Aaron (January 27, 2020). "The Bidens, Burisma and impeachment, explained". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on October 16, 2020. Retrieved October 18, 2020.
  19. ^ In March 2016, testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, former ambassador to Ukraine John E. Herbst stated, "By late fall of 2015, the EU and the United States joined the chorus of those seeking Mr. Shokin's removal" and that Joe Biden "spoke publicly about this before and during his December visit to Kyiv". During the same hearing, assistant secretary of state Victoria Nuland stated, "we have pegged our next $1 billion loan guarantee, first and foremost, to having a rebooting of the reform coalition so that we know who we are working with, but secondarily, to ensuring that the prosecutor general's office gets cleaned up." Ukrainian Reforms Two Years After the Maidan Revolution and the Russian Invasion Hearing Archived November 19, 2019, at the Wayback Machine. United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. March 15, 2016. Retrieved April 30, 2020.
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Further reading