— Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), in an interview with Newsmax, Aug. 29
Comer, the chair of the Home Oversight Committee, is main the congressional investigation into Hunter Biden’s enterprise dealings when his father was vp. Final week, in an interview, he pointed to an e-mail during which he claimed that Joe Biden was sending a secret message to his son that he was about to fireplace a Ukrainian prosecutor — a transfer that supposedly would have furthered his son’s enterprise pursuits.
Newsmax flashed a picture of the e-mail, despatched from an assistant to the vp to the tackle of “[email protected].” The e-mail listed the vp’s schedule for the day, together with a deliberate name with the Ukrainian president, who then was Petro Poroshenko. Hunter Biden was copied on the e-mail.
The invention of this e-mail and Biden’s use of the pseudonym Robert L. Peters led Comer to request from the Nationwide Archives and Data Administration all unredacted paperwork and communications during which Biden used a pseudonym whereas vp, in addition to any emails during which Hunter Biden or his enterprise associates have been copied.
However there’s one huge drawback with Comer’s declare: The e-mail is dated Might 26, 2016. The prosecutor in query had been dismissed by the Ukrainian parliament two months earlier.
As we have now famous earlier than, there are two narratives in regards to the dismissal of Viktor Shokin, the previous Ukrainian prosecutor normal.
The unique narrative — documented on the time — was that the European Union, the Worldwide Financial Fund and the USA (together with some Republican senators) believed that Shokin was not appearing aggressively to root out corruption, and that Poroshenko wanted to take away Shokin to reveal he was severe about coping with a perennial drawback within the Ukrainian authorities. To place strain on Poroshenko, Biden withheld a promised $1 billion mortgage assure till Shokin was eliminated.
The different narrative, superior by Republican critics of Biden, is that Shokin was eliminated at Biden’s behest as a result of he was on the point of act towards the proprietor of Burisma, a Ukrainian vitality agency that had put Hunter Biden on its board. There’s little proof that’s the case, as the particular criticism of the worldwide group was that Shokin had did not act towards Burisma. However that has not stopped Republicans like Comer from advancing this different narrative, even within the face of latest proof.
As an example, Devon Archer, a fellow Burisma board member, mentioned in a closed-door interview with lawmakers July 31 that he was instructed on the time of Shokin’s firing that it was a setback for the corporate, in line with a transcript. “That’s what was I instructed, that it was dangerous for Burisma,” he mentioned. “However I don’t know. I don’t know if it was good or dangerous.”
Paradoxically, a key motive for the rise of this different narrative was remarks Joe Biden made in 2018 at a Council on Overseas Relations occasion. He managed to squeeze a number of months of sluggish diplomacy into a dangerous sound chew: “I checked out them and mentioned, ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor isn’t fired, you’re not getting the cash.’ Nicely, son of a b—-. He bought fired.” The Trump marketing campaign extensively circulated the video throughout the 2020 marketing campaign, and it continues to resonate with Biden critics.
Comer, in his interview, seems to be relying on his listeners to simply accept the concept that Biden was appearing as a shakedown artist on behalf of his son. He mentioned it was “alarming” that Hunter was copied on the e-mail. He requested: “Why was he receiving emails about Ukrainian coverage proper earlier than they have been going to fireplace that prosecutor?”
It’s a nonsensical query. Right here’s a fast timeline of Shokin’s firing. Needless to say the e-mail is dated Might 26, 2016.
Sept. 24, 2015: U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt makes a speech in Ukraine during which he blasts the prosecutor’s workplace for “brazenly and aggressively undermining reform” and having “undermined prosecutors engaged on official corruption circumstances.”
Dec. 8: Vice President Biden addresses the Ukrainian parliament and decries the “most cancers of corruption” within the nation. “The Workplace of the Basic Prosecutor desperately wants reform,” he says. In a gathering with Poroshenko the day earlier than, Biden had linked granting the mortgage assure to Shokin’s ouster.
Jan. 20, 2016: Biden meets with Poroshenko on the sidelines of the World Financial Discussion board in Davos, Switzerland. He emphasizes “the necessity to proceed to maneuver ahead on Ukraine’s anti-corruption agenda,” in line with a White Home assertion.
Feb. 11: Biden speaks to Poroshenko by cellphone. “The 2 leaders agreed on the significance of unity amongst Ukrainian political forces to shortly move reforms consistent with the commitments in its IMF program, together with measures targeted on rooting out corruption,” the White Home mentioned.
Feb. 16: Poroshenko pronounces he has requested Shokin to resign. “This morning I’ve met and had a severe dialog with the prosecutor normal. I’ve advised Viktor Mykolayovych [Shokin] ought to write a letter of resignation,” the president mentioned in an announcement.
Feb. 18: One other name takes place between Biden and Poroshenko. “The Vice President additionally counseled President Poroshenko’s choice to interchange Prosecutor Basic Shokin, which paves the way in which for wanted reform of the prosecutorial service,” the White Home mentioned in an announcement.
Feb. 19: Poroshenko pronounces he has obtained Shokin’s resignation letter.
March 29: The Ukrainian parliament, in a 289-6 vote, approves Shokin’s dismissal.
Might 12: Poroshenko nominates Yuri Lutsenko as the brand new prosecutor normal.
Might 13: In a cellphone name, Biden tells Poroshenko he welcomed Lutsenko’s appointment and the creation of an inspector normal within the prosecutor’s workplace. “The Vice President knowledgeable President Poroshenko that the USA was ready to maneuver ahead with the signing of the third $1 billion mortgage assure settlement, which is able to assist continued progress on Ukrainian reforms,” a White Home assertion mentioned. (The mortgage assure was signed on June 3, with Pyatt representing the USA.)
So, all of this passed off earlier than the e-mail that so issues Comer. The e-mail mentions “8:45 a.m. prep” for a 9 a.m. name with Poroshenko. The White Home assertion on the decision exhibits Shokin was not a topic of dialogue.
“The Vice President congratulated President Poroshenko on the discharge of Ukrainian pilot and Rada member Nadiya Savchenko and referred to as for the discharge of all Ukrainians unlawfully detained in Russia,” the assertion mentioned. “The leaders mentioned the significance of continuous to institute reforms within the Workplace of the Prosecutor Basic, and the importance of Ukraine’s progress towards implementing judicial reforms and assembly IMF circumstances. The leaders condemned the rising assaults by mixed Russian-separatist forces in japanese Ukraine and reaffirmed the necessity to proceed transferring ahead on Minsk implementation. Additionally they condemned Russia’s persecution of Crimean Tatars.”
So why would Hunter Biden be copied on this specific e-mail regarding his father’s schedule? One clue: the schedule notes that the vp would stay in a single day at “Lake Home,” a Biden property in Delaware. Native Delaware media reported that the Biden household gathered that Memorial Day weekend on the primary anniversary of the demise of Beau Biden, Biden’s different son, when Delaware’s Nationwide Guard headquarters was devoted to him.
A consultant for Hunter Biden’s authorized staff mentioned that Joe Biden copied his son on the e-mail to let his son know that he was getting again to Delaware as a result of he needed him there for the anniversary weekend of Beau’s passing.
As for the usage of a pseudonym, it’s no shock Biden would have had one, because it was disclosed throughout the Obama presidency that senior officers had such accounts. After the Related Press reported in 2013 that many high officers had secret e-mail accounts, White Home spokesman Jay Carney mentioned these have been secondary authorities accounts, topic to the Freedom of Info Act, to keep away from having inboxes flooded with messages.
“Having alternate e-mail addresses for cupboard secretaries and different high-profile officers makes eminent sense,” Carney mentioned. “If they’re inundated in a single account with both public emails, or spam or the like, then they will proceed to make use of their different account for regular work.”
Certainly, an inventory of federal domains on GitHub exhibits that “pci.gov,” which is how the Robert L. Peters e-mail ends, is related to the Government Workplace of the President, which incorporates the vp’s workplace. NARA, in response to a FOIA request filed in 2022 by the Southeastern Authorized Basis, has mentioned it discovered 5,138 emails and 225 different information that reference three pseudonyms utilized by President Biden, together with the Robert L. Peters tackle. Two e-mail addresses are related to Gmail accounts. The emails haven’t but been launched.
We repeatedly sought remark from Comer’s communications employees however didn’t obtain a response.
Comer tends to mess up particulars or lose nuance when he exhibits up on tv, however he actually shoots himself within the foot right here. He claims that Biden was sending a secret message to his son about how he was going to inform the Ukrainian president to fireplace the prosecutor — however the e-mail was despatched two months after the firing. Skeptics could doubt whether or not Hunter Biden was copied on the e-mail for household issues, but it surely’s actually not due to the nefarious goal advised by Comer.
Comer earns 4 Pinocchios.
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