Breaking: House Republicans Press State Department for Answers on Removal of Ukrainian Prosecutor Investigating Burisma

House Oversight Committee chairman James Comer (R., Ky.) sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday requesting information about then-vice president Joe Biden's actions related to "certain sudden foreign policy changes" impacting Ukraine while Hunter Biden sat on the board of directors for a Ukrainian natural gas company.

At the time, the company, Burisma, and its founder and CEO, Mykola Zlochevsky, were being investigated for corruption by Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin, whom the elder Biden later bragged about having fired.

"Specifically, the Committee seeks information regarding the State Department's perception of the Ukrainian Office of the Prosecutor General, at the time headed by Viktor Shokin," Comer writes in the letter obtained by National Review. Shokin assumed his position in February 2015 amid an ongoing international investigation into the alleged corruption.

A French bank reported Zlochevsky to U.K. authorities in March 2014 on suspicion of money laundering after his companies tried to move $23 million to Cyprus from their British account at the bank. One month later, Hunter Biden joined Burisma's board of directors with a salary of $1 million a year.

"The Committee seeks to understand the State Department's sudden change in disposition towards the Ukrainian Office of the Prosecutor General in late 2015," Comer writes.

Ahead of the Biden-driven pressure campaign to fire Shokin in 2016, the prosecutor had received high marks from U.S. officials for his work in investigating corruption, the Kentucky Republican notes.

In June 2015, then-Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland wrote Shokin to applaud his office's anti-corruption efforts. Three months later, then-U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt said "we want to work with Prosecutor General Shokin so the [Prosecutor General Office] is leading the fight against corruption."

That same month, the Interagency Policy Committee assessed that Shokin had made enough progress in his anti-corruption efforts to warrant a third guarantee of a $1 billion loan.

In November 2015, then-Vice President Biden spoke with the then-president of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, and did not say that the U.S. would require Shokin's dismissal. But by year's end, Shokin's firing became a condition of the loan guarantee by the U.S.

In March 2016, Shokin was removed from his position by the Ukrainian Rada. 

"The timing of these events is notable to the Committee. During the Committee's transcribed interview with Devon Archer—a longtime Biden family associate—Archer explained that by late 2015, Vadym Pozharsky, Burisma's corporate secretary, was increasingly pushing Hunter Biden to deliver help from the U.S. government regarding pressure Zlochevsky was facing from the Office of the Prosecutor General and abroad," Comer writes.

He notes Archer testified that Hunter Biden "called D.C." on December 4, 2015 in a private meeting with Zlochevsky and Pozharsky in Dubai following Pozharsky's request.

"The Committee is investigating the nature of this call and the circumstances that surrounded it, including at the State Department," Comer writes.

The committee gave the department a September 26 deadline to submit all documents and communications—including transcripts and notes (handwritten or otherwise)—made in the course of phone calls between then-Vice President Biden and Ukrainian officials from January 1, 2014, and December 31, 2016.

The committee also requested all documents and communications between any State Department employee and Blue Star Strategies, LLC —a Democrat lobbying firm that worked with Burisma — from September 1, 2014, and December 31, 2016, regarding Ukraine or Burisma.

The letter asks for all documents and communications to or from several former State Department officials including John Kerry, Victoria Nuland, Amos Hochstein, Geoffrey Pyatt, Wendy Sherman, Thomas Shannon, and Alfonso Lenhardt that reference Burisma, Zlochevsky, Pozharsky, Shokin, Ukraine's Office of the Prosecutor General, Eric Schwerin, Devon Archer, or Hunter Biden between January 1, 2014, and January 20, 2017.

Comer requests all documents and communications between the State Department and the Obama White House referencing Burisma, Zlochevsky, Pozharsky, Shokin, Ukraine's Office of the Prosecutor General, Eric Schwerin, Devon Archer, or Hunter Biden between January 1, 2015, and January 20, 2017.

Finally, he requests all internal documents and communications relating to any conditions placed on the $1 billion loan guarantee and all documents and communications between or among the State Department, the White House, and the U.S. Embassy for Ukraine relating to the conditions on the $1 billion loan guarantee.

Archer previously testified that access to the vice president served as the selling point of the Biden "brand" that allowed he and Hunter several lucrative financial opportunities, including joining the board of Burisma.

An unidentified informant businessman alleges the founder of Burisma has claimed to have been pressured by then-Vice President Joe Biden to put Hunter Biden on the Ukrainian energy company’s board and for $10 million in bribes — $5 million each to Joe and Hunter Biden — in order to use Biden's political influence to force Shokin’s removal.

The informant first made the FBI aware of the allegations in 2017 in a series of meetings.

Those meetings were summarized in re-interview of the informant on June 30, 2020, and outlined in a Form 1023, the standard FBI form used to record information from an interview with a confidential human source (CHS).

The House Oversight Committee and Senator Chuck Grassley fought to obtain a copy of the form, which they released with few redactions in July.

Comer and Grassley have pressed the FBI to say whether, and to what extent, it has investigated the informant’s claims.

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House Republicans Press State Department for Answers on Removal of Ukrainian Prosecutor Investigating Burisma

The letter notes that State Department officials praised Shokin for his anti-corruption efforts shortly before he ... READ MORE


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