Sen. Graham Seeks All Documents 'Including Call Summaries' Related to Biden's Phone Calls With Ukrainian President

By Susan Jones | November 22, 2019 | 8:03am EST
Former Vice President and now Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden. (Photo by JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images)
Former Vice President and now Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden. (Photo by JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images)

( - President Trump has released summaries of his two phone calls with Ukraine President Zelensky.

Now let’s see the summaries of Joe Biden’s various calls to former Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko in 2016, when Biden’s son was on the board of the corrupt Ukraine company Burisma at the same time his father was serving as vice president and as Obama’s point-man on Ukraine.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is requesting those call records and more from the Trump State Department, as he launches an investigation into allegations that Joe Biden played a role in the firing of former Ukraine Prosecutor General Shokin in an effort to end the investigation of the company employing his (troubled) son.

In a Nov. 21 letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Graham explained what information he wants, and why:

First, the "why." According to Graham’s timeline:

On Feb. 4, 2016, Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin’s office announced the seizure of property from Mykola Zlochevksy, the founder of Burisma, a Ukrainian natural gas company. That seizure followed a Feb. 2 raid on Zlochevsky’s home.

Graham said it is his “understanding” that on Feb. 4, the day of the Burisma raid, Hunter Biden, serving on the board of Burisma, began “following” Tony Blinken on Twitter. Blinken at that time was the deputy secretary of state and a longtime adviser to Joe Biden. Graham said this connection indicates that Hunter Biden and Blinken “may have initiated conversations” about Shokin’s investigation into Burisma.

Graham, pointing to records obtained by media sources, said on Feb. 11, 18, and 19 of 2016, Joe Biden held a “series of phone calls” with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko regarding earlier demands to dismiss Shokin for alleged corruption. Another Biden-Porochenko phone call on March 22, 2016 happened just seven days before Shokin was removed from office.

Graham has asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to turn over:

-- All documents/communications (including call summaries) related to Vice President Biden’s phone calls with President Poroshenko on Feb. 11, 18, and 19 and March 22, 2016 -- “especially with respect to whether Vice President Biden mentioned the Prosecutor General’s investigation into Burisma.”

-- All documents and communications between Vice President Biden/Biden’s office and President Poroshenko/Poroshenko's office after the raid on Burisma owner Zlochevsky’s home on Feb. 2, 2016; until the dismissal of Prosecutor General Shokin (the dismissal famously demanded by Biden) on March 29, 2016.

-- All documents and communications related to a meeting between Devon Archer, Hunter Biden’s Burisma business partner, and Secretary of State John Kerry on March 2, 2016.

In a January 2018 video, Joe Biden explained his role in Shokin's firing. He told the Council on Foreign Relations that he threatened to withhold U.S. loan guarantees unless Shokin was fired by the time Biden left the country, a span of six hours. Shokin was instantly fired.

A number of witnesses in the recent impeachment inquiry expressed concern about Hunter Biden’s well-paid position with Burisma.

Fiona Hill, a former member of the Trump National Security Council, told the House intelligence committee on Oct. 15 that she was working at the Brookings Institution when she read about Hunter Biden being appointed to the Burisma board. She said she remembered thinking, "this was not a bright idea."

Hill also told the committee in her closed door testimony, "I think that there is a problem with perceptions of conflicts of interest and ethics for any child of any senior official to be involved in anything that their parents are involved in, period. So this goes not just to Hunter Biden and Vice President Biden but across the board."

Marie Yovanovich, the former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, told the committee that the investigation into Burisma was dormant, not closed, when she arrived in Ukraine.

Yovanovitch said she became aware of Hunter Biden's board position when the State Department prepared her for her confirmation hearing. "The way the question was phrased in this model Q&A was, what can you tell us about Hunter Biden's, you know, being named to the board of Burisma?"

Yovanovitch said she was advised to refer questions about Hunter Biden to the vice president's office.

Yovanovich told the committee on Nov. 15 that Hunter Biden's position at Burisma "creates a concern that there could be an appearance of a conflict of interest."

Likewise, George Kent, a deputy assistant secretary of state, told the committee that in February of 2015 he raised concerns "that Hunter Biden's status as a board member could create the perception of a conflict of interest."

In his July 25 phone call with Ukraine President Zelensky, President Trump said: “The other thing, there's a 1ot of talk about Biden's son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that. So whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution, so if you can look into it. It sounds horrible to me.”

Democrats have translated that as Trump looking to dig up dirt on a political opponent, and they dismiss any question about whether there may have been something improper going on with the Bidens.


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