Yes, Joe Biden is corrupt

Rich Lowry, syndicated columnist

The memo went out from the White House that there’s no evidence President Joe Biden did anything wrong regarding his son’s business dealings and, sure enough, the media is repeating the line.

To the contrary, we already know that Biden was complicit in an inherently corrupt enterprise that centered on selling access to him when he was a high government official.

Consider Burisma, the shady Ukrainian energy company that paid his son lavishly to serve on its board. At any point, Biden could have shut down this operation to use his son to get to him, and at any number of junctures, it should have been obvious — if it wasn’t from the beginning — what was happening. Biden did nothing and, in fact, played along.

Burisma was founded by Mykola “Nikolay” Zlochevsky, who had to go on the lam after the government of Viktor Yanukovych fell in the Maidan Revolution. The new government of Petro Poroshenko put Zlochevsky under investigation.

So, Burisma needed a helping hand. The company put Hunter Biden on the board in 2014 for $1 million a year. Assuming for the sake of argument that Joe Biden wasn’t aware of the arrangement beforehand, as soon he found out, the upstanding thing to do would have been to say, “Sorry — there’s no way a son of mine is going to be on the take in a foreign country that’s part of my policy portfolio.”

Instead, Burisma immediately began to ask for what it was paying for. Shortly after Hunter joined, the CFO of Burisma, Vadym Pozharsky, sent an email requesting that he and his business partner, Devon Archer, “use your influence” (they don’t call it influence-peddling for nothing) to bring a halt to the investigation into Zlochevsky and Burisma.

A year later, Pozharsky was invited to a dinner, with Joe Biden in attendance, at Cafe Milano in Georgetown.

Again, if Vice President Biden showed up at this dinner with Hunter’s business associates unknowingly, he could have dressed down Hunter and insisted that such activity stop.

In November 2015, Pozharsky wrote Hunter and Archer with his worries that a proposed arrangement with another outfit, Blue Star Strategies, lacked reference to the “concrete tangible results that we set out to achieve.” Hunter assured him that “we all are aligned.”

Nothing about this was subtle. A month later, Burisma had a board meeting in Dubai. Afterward, Nikolay Zlochevsky and Vadym Pozharsky requested an urgent private meeting with Hunter and Archer.

Pozharsky asked Hunter, “Can you ring your dad?” This request was astonishingly inappropriate. But, lo and behold, Hunter rang his dad.

Hunter told the vice president that he was with “Nikolay and Vadym,” and the vice president apparently didn’t need a refresher on who they were. Hunter insisted that his Ukrainian associates and benefactors “need our support.”

Yet again, here’s a moment for righteous indignation. “How dare you call me to advance your shady dealings with sleazy foreigners?”

As it happens, within days, Joe Biden traveled to Ukraine and met with President Poroshenko to urge him to fire the prosecutor, Viktor Shokin.

This was a blatant conflict of interest. Politicians who want to be above reproach stay a hundred miles away from such situations. The then-vice president didn’t, clearly, because the family business depended on two things: Biden being in powerful positions and Hunter taking advantage of his proximity to power.

What’s more, Biden helped cover for Hunter by approving a statement from his communications director whitewashing his dealings.

The Burisma officials thought they’d made a good investment. Early the next year, in 2016, Zlochevsky reportedly told an FBI informant who asked about the Shokin investigation: “Don’t worry. Hunter will take care of all those issues through his dad.”

A better steward of the public trust wouldn’t have tolerated any of this for a minute — indeed, would have felt embarrassed and disgusted by it. Instead, Joe Biden was on board, and we have plenty evidence of it.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Rich Lowry is on Twitter @RichLowry.


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