What’s Going on with the Latest Biden Investigations?

Custom Politics Background

Key Points:
  • Over the past week, several investigations have been opened pertaining to the presumptive Democratic nominee, Joe Biden.
  • A Ukraine Court launched a criminal investigation into Biden’s dealings in the Eastern European country.
  • FBI Director Christopher Wray ordered an internal review of the 2017 Michael Flynn interview and investigation.
  • The Senate’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee also approved a subpoena seeking the documents related to Hunter Biden’s work for the Ukrainian energy company Burisma.

Last week, Joe Biden was on the receiving end of several headlines, each with the potential to harm his 2020 presidential run. The US Senate and a Ukraine Court both saw fit to open investigations related to Hunter Biden’s — the former Vice President’s son – time on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company.

The FBI launched an “after-action” inquiry of their own, dealing with the Obama administration’s investigation of then-president elect Trump – primarily focused on the bureau’s treatment of retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.

 

US Senate Inquiry into Hunter Biden and Burisma

The Senate’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee moved Wednesday, May 20, to subpoena documents related to Hunter Biden, son of the presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden, and his employment at a Ukrainian energy company.

With a vote along party lines, the committee approved the subpoena more than two months after GOP Sen. Ron Johnson initially expressed interest in obtaining documents related to Hunter’s time at Burisma Holdings.

Johnson’s investigation has been met with strong objections from Senate Democrats. The latter insist the inquiry is nothing more than an election-year ploy meant to hurt the president’s political rival and likely opponent in November.

The committee’s top Democrat – along with prominent DNC officials – are suggesting that Sen. Johnson is participating – unwitting or otherwise — in another Russian disinformation campaign.

After the vote, the committee’s chairman defended his investigation.

“The question I would ask is: What is everybody worried about? If there’s nothing there, we’ll find out there’s nothing there. But if there’s something there, the American people need to know that,” Johnson said.

Recently, Trump has publicly encouraged Republicans to scrutinize the Obama White House’s investigation of the incoming administration – including their targeting of Gen. Michael Flynn – while promising to make Hunter Biden’s time with Burisma a “major issue” in the 2020 presidential election.

Ron Johnson’s subpoena seeks documents and testimony possessed by Blue Star Strategies, a lobbying firm that has acted on behalf of Burisma.

The controversial energy company employed Hunter Biden as a board member, paying him tens of thousands of dollars per month. The younger Biden has admitted that his position in the company was, at least in part, due to his father’s influential position in the US government.

During President Trump’s impeachment hearings, fact-checkers – mostly working for liberal media outlets – claim to have already debunked Trump’s accusations of corruption related to Hunter’s work in Ukraine. Also, some members of the Trump administration testified that Biden did nothing wrong during the impeachment inquiry, under oath.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer criticized Republicans for pursuing the Hunter Biden investigation, claiming they are “using Russian propaganda to try and damage a political opponent.”

“It appears the subpoena is just for show, a way to create the false impression of wrongdoing,” Schumer said. “It’s like in a third-world dictatorship, a show trial with no basis in fact, with no due process, with no reality.”

 

Biden Under Criminal Investigation in Ukraine Court

United States officials aren’t the only ones probing the Biden family’s overseas dealings. Prosecutors in Ukraine are analyzing leaked tapes – released on Tuesday, May 19 — which allegedly feature the Eastern European nation’s former leader, Petro Poroshenko, discussing a $1 billion loan with then-Vice President Joe Biden.

The tapes were released by Ukrainian lawmaker Andrii Derkach, and have yet to be authenticated. Derkach has accused the Biden’s of corruption, claiming that the former VP promised Poroshenko $1 billion in exchange for firing the then-Prosecutor General Victor Shokin, who was supposedly investigating Burisma.

Shokin was fired in March 2016.

“It’s going to be critical for him to work quickly to repair the damage that Shokin did,” Biden said. “And I’m a man of my word. And now that the new prosecutor general is in place, we’re ready to move forward to signing that new $1 billion loan guarantee.”

This conversation is consistent with Joe Biden’s public comments pushing for reform in Ukraine – and the prosecutor general’s office, in particular. The former VP has openly admitted to threatening to withhold the $1 billion unless Shokin – who he alleges is corrupt – was sacked.


 

Michael Flynn’s Unmasking and More

Republicans have also escalated their efforts to investigate former President Barack Obama, whose administration, they contend, engaged in wrongdoing with regards to how then-president-elect Donald Trump was targeted. GOP officials contend that further digging will uncover proof of an unwarranted investigation.

Democrats argue that this is just another Republican effort to discredit Joe Biden ahead of the general election.

On Friday, FBI Director Christopher Wray ordered an internal review of the bureau’s interviews and subsequent investigation of Michael Flynn, after newly released documents exposed agents’ efforts to entrap the retired Lt. General in hopes of getting him fired or imprisoned.

Wray has been pressured to disclose the bureau’s secrets from the failed Trump-Russia investigation, which they argue targeted President Trump and people around him unfairly.

The FBI’s “after-action” investigation will focus on two areas:

  1. Assessing the FBI’s role in the Flynn case and addressing any misconduct by current employees.
  2. Evaluating the need to update FBI policies as a result of Flynn’s investigation.

The bureau promised, in a statement, to determine whether disciplinary measures are necessary for any current agents; however, the bureau lacks the authority to prosecute its own criminal case. The report also highlighted the FBI’s inability to punish its former employees.

Hillary’s E-Mails All Over Again?

The question now is whether any of these investigations are legitimate, or if they’re simply campaign strategy? Both can be true.

In 2016, Trump successfully called Hillary Clinton’s past into question, hammering the former First Lady and Secretary of State with allegations of corruption. November’s contest is shaping up to be a “pick ’em,” so it’s a smart tactic on behalf of the incumbent either way.

So far, the president has benefitted from each new set of documents to hit the public.

The latest Flynn releases paint the entirety of “Russiagate” as nothing more than a cynical ploy by the outgoing administration to hamstring the president-elect.

That doesn’t mean Trump is innocent, just that Democrats have exposed themselves as being dirty as well.

Will additional investigations ruin Biden’s ability to attack the president as especially dishonest and corrupt?

To date, none of the allegations levied at Joe Biden have managed to stick. Even the most damning information is dismissed as “Russian propaganda.”

At this point, the DNC is all in on their “anyone but Trump” strategy, which makes me think the only thing that will come of these three investigations is additional fodder for campaign ads, which will only play to Republican voters.

Will Cormier / Author

Will Cormier is a sports and political betting writer living in downtown Las Vegas, Nevada. When he’s not wandering around the streets of the Arts District aimlessly, a lifetime of pessimism and paranoia has made Will perfectly suited for handicapping politics. Cormier tries to analyze current events as objectively as possible – a strategy that often enrages loyalists on both the right and the left. When he’s not covering major upcoming elections, Will enjoys writing about basketball, football, and MMA from a betting perspective. He also loves dogs, ice cream sundaes, the movie “Stomp the Yard,” and long walks on the beach.

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