Did President Joe Biden have a Dec. 2015 speech to the Ukrainian parliament, the Rada, revised to target that country’s Prosecutor General office led by Viktor Shokin at the request of the Burisma natural gas company (who Shokin was investigating) and Biden’s son, Hunter, served on at the time for which he received $5 million when Biden was serving as Vice President?
On Jan. 31, the House Oversight Committee noted in an X.com (formerly Twitter) post that earlier draft versions of Biden’s speech given Dec. 9, 2015 to the Rada are being suppressed “The White House is REFUSING to hand over early drafts of President Biden’s 2015 Ukraine speech where he called for the firing of the Ukrainian prosecutor, Viktor Shokin. These drafts are important as it is believed, based on public reporting, that the then-VP “called an audible” and changed U.S. policy toward Ukraine to benefit his son on the plane ride to Ukraine. Joe Biden later bragged about withholding a U.S. loan guarantee if Ukraine did not fire the prosecutor. If the White House does not permit the production of these documents, our committee will consider the use of compulsory process.”
The X post also has a Jan. 31 letter from the House Oversight, Judiciary and Ways and Means committees to White House Counsel Edward Siskel stating “For more than five months the White House has declined to authorize the production of these draft speeches to the Oversight Committee or to assert a valid privilege over them. Such a lengthy delay in processing a discrete and limited category of documents is unacceptable and appears to represent an attempt to obstruct the Committees’ legitimate investigation.”
The letter also notes that the committees have every right to the documents stating, “Pursuant to federal law, the Oversight Committee may request from NARA presidential records from former administrations, and those records must be made available to the Committee ‘subject to any rights, defenses, or privileges which the United States or any agency or person may invoke’,” citing 44 U.S. Code Sec. 2205.
The letter goes on, noting the release of the draft speeches have already been delayed three times: Since August 24, 2023… the White House has refused to permit NARA to provide the Oversight Committee with any documents related to the 2015 Ukraine speech delivered by then-Vice President Biden. Rather, relying on Executive Order 13489, the White House has extended its review period by 60 days on three separate occasions–September 22, 2023; November 21, 2023; and January 22, 2024.”
And the letter notes that on Sept. 22, 2023, the White House had informed NARA justified the delay due to the “fairly extraordinary” request that might reveal “foreign affairs deliberations”: “The request seeks all drafts of a particular foreign policy speech given by then-Vice President Biden. Release of this material would be fairly extraordinary, as it may make public foreign affairs deliberations of the person who is now the sitting President and his advisers, and as such requires additional review and analysis.”
And yet, there is more than a plausible basis for uncovering what was done with the speech to the Ukrainian Rada (the legislature) on Dec. 9, 2015, just days after a Burisma board meeting in Dubai, when then-Vice President Biden stated of Viktor Shokin and his office was “desperately [in need of] reform”: “[I]t’s not enough to set up a new anti-corruption bureau and establish a special prosecutor fighting corruption. The Office of the General Prosecutor desperately needs reform. The judiciary should be overhauled. The energy sector needs to be competitive, ruled by market principles — not sweetheart deals.”
Biden added, “It’s not enough to push through laws to increase transparency with regard to official sources of income. Senior elected officials have to remove all conflicts between their business interest and their government responsibilities.”
That had followed a meeting by Burisma in Dubai, United Arab Emirates days earlier on Dec. 4, 2015, wherein former Hunter Biden business partner Devon Archer has testified that Hunter Biden “called his dad” when he was being pressured by Burisma, whom he also served on the board of directors, for “help in D.C.” on Dec. 4, 2015 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, according to a transcript of his July 31 testimony to the House Oversight Committee.
Hunter Biden was specifically asked for help with Ukrainian government investigations into Burisma and Burisma CEO Mykola Zlochevsky: “The request was I think they were getting pressure and they requested Hunter, you know, help them with some of that pressure… Government. Government pressure on their — you know, government pressure from Ukrainian Government investigations into [Burisma CEO] Mykola [Zlochevsky], et cetera.”
The Ukrainian government investigations into Burisma and Burisma CEO Zlochevsky at that time were being led by Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin. According to Archer, “[T]here was several pressure issues. It was kind of a theme of Burisma. There was capital tied up in London, 23 million pounds. There was, you know, a U.S. visa denied and then a Mexico visa denied. And then there was — so [Ukrainian Prosecutor General] Shokin wasn’t specifically on my radar as being an individual that was — that was targeting him. But yes, there was constant pressure. And it was like — it was like whack-a-mole in regards to the pressures that had to resolve.”
Archer added, “it was a high-pressure environment, and … there was constant requests for help.”
And according to Archer, when requested for help, Hunter Biden “called his dad,” then-Vice President Joe Biden, but said he did not hear the phone call: “Listen, I did not hear this phone call, but he — he called his dad.”
When asked how he knew that if he did not hear the phone call, Archer stated that Burisma CFO Vadym Pozharsky told him so: “Because he — because I think [Burisma CFO] Vadym [Pozharsky] told me. But, again, it’s unclear. I just know that there was a call that happened there and I was not privy to it.”
Archer’s testimony appeared to in part confirm a June 26, 2020 FD-1023 released by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) that alleged the Bidens took $10 million of bribes to protect Burisma’s bid for a U.S.-based initial public offering and referenced the Shokin firing.
According to the confidential source, the meeting in early 2016, said to be in Vienna, Austria between Burisma CEO Mykola Zlochevsky, Burisma CFO Alexander Ostapenko and the source, “took place around the time Joe Biden made a public statement about (former) Ukraine Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin being corrupt, and that he should be fired/removed from office. CHS told Zlochevsky that due to Shokin’s investigation into Burisma, which was made public at this time, it would have a substantial negative impact on Burisma’s prospective IPO in the United States. Zlochevsky replied something to the effect of, ‘Don’t worry Hunter will take care of all of those issues through his dad.’”
In the FD-1023, the source quoted Zlochevsky as allegedly stating, “it cost 5 (million) to pay one Biden, and 5 (million) to another Biden…”
In Jan. 2018, then former Vice President Joe Biden bragged to the Council on Foreign Relations about getting Shokin fired by threatening to withhold a $1.2 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan from then Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in March 2016.
According to Biden, “I said, ‘You’re not getting the billion.’ I’m going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is 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.”
Shokin in April 2019 told journalist John Solomon that prior to the election of the new Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, he was removed in 2016 because of his investigation of Burisma, which Biden’s son, Hunter, served on the Board of Directors of.
In an affidavit in a European court in 2019, Shokin testified, “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… On several occasions President Poroshenko asked me to have a look at the case against Burisma and consider the possibility of winding down the investigative actions in respect of this company but I refused to close this investigation.”
This was the matter President Donald Trump sought to have Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky “look into” on the July 25, 2019 phone call with current Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. In the phone call with Zelensky, Trump said, “It sounds horrible to me.”
After the Biden speech to the Rada, on May 13, 2016, according to the Obama White House, Biden had a phone call with Poroshenko about the Prosecutor General’s office, officially welcoming the firing of Shokin: “The Vice President spoke today with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. The Vice President welcomed the appointment of a new Prosecutor General as an important first step to bringing much-needed reform to the Office of the Prosecutor General. The Vice President also commended legislative changes that will set up an independent Office of the Inspector General in the Office of the Prosecutor General and allow prosecutions to begin against Yanukovych-era officials. The Vice President informed President Poroshenko that the United States was prepared to move forward with the signing of the third $1 billion loan guarantee agreement, which will support continued progress on Ukrainian reforms.”
In that call, the IMF loans were directly tied to the reforms at the Prosecutor General’s office, which meant new leadership. Shokin had to go.
And the drafts of Biden’s speech in Ukraine might show, as has been alleged, that it was Biden who called the “audible” to get the Prosecutor General thrust into the speech to be targeted for removal. There’s only one way to find out and so the drafts of the speech must be turned over.
The House Oversight Committee post on X stated that they would use “compulsory” means to get the drafts of the speech, “If the White House does not permit the production of these documents, our committee will consider the use of compulsory process.” But a good question might be, given all the evidence, they didn’t do that back in November. What are they waiting for?
Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited Government.