‘It’s important to know that his was not a personal Joe Biden crusade…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) The Left’s push toward impeaching President Donald Trump reached its latest crescendo on Tuesday as partisan House Democrats seemed poised to move on whistleblower claims that Trump abused power in a July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Left-wing journalists, clinging to the hope of another Watergate in Ukraine, have blindly followed the lead of Democrats like Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., who claim Trump “crossed the Rubicon” into impeachment territory.
But instead, their shoddy reporting in the haste to pursue partisan objectives seems more likely to produce another embarrassment of Jussie Smollett proportions.
As with cases like the Smollett hoax and the Covington Catholic defamation scandal, the liberal media faces the unique challenge of trying to push its narrative despite the presence of video evidence that appears clearly to undermine it.
Nothing to See Here…
Many mainstream outlets have claimed “no evidence” exists of wrongdoing on the part of Biden and his son.
However, Biden himself revealed at a 2018 forum with the Council on Foreign Relations that he—much as Trump is alleged to have done—used financial leverage to attempt to influence a Ukrainian investigation.
Biden acknowledged that, while on a diplomacy trip as vice president, he threatened to withdraw a billion-dollar loan guarantee from the country if they did not fire prosecutor Viktor Shokin, who at the time was investigating Ukrainian energy company Burisma.
Oddly, Hunter Biden—while facing a dishonorable discharge from the Navy for failing a June 2013 drug test and with no qualifications otherwise in eastern European energy policy—was invited in April 2014 to assume a paid position on Burisma’s board of directors.
While urging the new Ukrainian president in July to resume the investigation into Hunter Biden and his role at Burisma, Trump’s administration is alleged to have withheld an estimated $250 million in military aid to Kiev.
Yet, somehow, the ‘no evidence of wrongdoing’ on Biden’s part for forcing Ukraine to abandon its investigation became an impeachable offense on Trump’s part for encouraging the country to pursue the very same investigation.
Treading the precarious line of hyping the outrage over Trump while downplaying Biden’s culpability, left-leaning CNN was, of course, quick to present Democrats’ talking points as a so-called fact-check.
“It’s important to know that his was not a personal Joe Biden crusade,” insisted CNN analyst Daniel Dale on Saturday.
“This was the position of the United States government, of the International Monetary Fund and of other U.S. allies,” Dale said. “All of them agreed that this prosecutor needed to go.”
Dale even went so far as to call into question the investigation into Burisma’s corruption, so as to ensure that neither Biden was implicated by the taint of scandal.
“We don’t know to what extent even the company was under investigation. … The investigation was essentially dormant at the time that Biden made this push,” he said.
“Regardless, Trump has insinuated that Hunter Biden, himself, the vice president’s son, was personally under investigation—and we have no evidence for that in particular,” he continued.
As far as Biden’s own account, Dale asserted, “Everything he said about it is true as far as we know.”
Ukraine’s Web of Corruption
Widely cited in the false claims that partisan journalists on the Left have used to absolve Biden is a May 16 article published by Bloomberg in which Shokin’s successor as prosecutor general, Yuriy Lutsenko, denied any evidence of wrongdoing by either of the Biden men.
“I do not want Ukraine to again be the subject of U.S. presidential elections,” Lutsenko said.
“Hunter Biden did not violate any Ukrainian laws—at least as of now, we do not see any wrongdoing,” he added. “A company can pay however much it wants to its board.”
Given the country’s past efforts to curry favor with Biden and the Obama administration, some may wonder if, perhaps, Lutsenko weren’t himself a politically influenced appointee.
What is evident from the record, however, is that like Hunter Biden’s Burisma resume, Lutsenko’s qualifications for the top prosecutorial role were dubious at best.
In 2010, he was dismissed from his role as Ukrainian interior minister following a drunken scandal at the Frankfurt airport. That same year, Lutsenko was criminally charged with abuse of office, embezzlement and forgery.
In 2012, he was sentenced to two years in connection with the 2004 poisoning of conservative candidate Viktor Yushchenko, who would go on to become the Ukrainian president in that year’s contentious elections, defeating the pro-Russian Viktor Yanukovych.
The following year, Lutsenko was pardoned and released, with health concerns cited as a primary reason.
After re-entering politics and being appointed prosecutor general in May 2016, he resigned in November 2018, facing pressure from human-rights organizations over the assassination of an anti-corruption activist, Kateryna Handziuk.
Investigating the ‘Investigators’
The former Soviet republic’s strategic location relative to Russia and its energy supply to Europe have only added to the complicated web of pressures, both internal and external, in Ukraine’s struggle to democratize.
Its political parties continue to shift allegiances and reform amid sometimes violent revolutionary forces, making it difficult for casual observers to pinpoint the precise motivations of its leaders.
By contrast, the singular motivation of partisan Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives has been crystal clear in the period since the November 2016 election: Get the president.
Foremost among the clamorers was House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff, who has doggedly pursued his impeachment investigations despite the earlier failures of the Mueller Report to yield any actionable offenses.
Schiff fundraised on the promise of a smoking gun in the Mueller proceedings that never materialized, only to backpedal later and insist the report was meaningless when it became evident that there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Nonetheless, as he continued to investigate potential leads, he disingenuously issued public statements to suggest he was not fully on board with impeachment.
In the wake of the contrived Ukraine scandal, many in the media have now used what they falsely claim to be Schiff’s change of heart as evidence of a building movement.
Others have repeatedly sought to paint House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., as being impeachment adverse, suggesting that she has valiantly pushed back against a groundswell of demand among the Democratic ranks rather than engineered it.
But as The Hill reported, the Democratic leadership’s response has been highly calculated. “The Speaker spoke to Schiff several times over the weekend to coordinate their messaging on the Ukraine story.”
For now, the Left’s offensive parry allows it to bury the crucial question—central to any accusations—of whether Trump’s call to investigate the Bidens was justified.
Regardless, Democrats’ incessant efforts to ensnare the president are hardly built upon a principled foundation—and, as the past has shown, their theatrics cannot conceal the flimsiness of the underlying case for impeaching Trump.