Rep. Sylvia Garcia, one of the House impeachment managers, raised and then debunked the theory that President Trump says is at the heart of his efforts in Ukraine.
On the July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Trump asked Zelensky to do him a favor and look into, among other things, potential interference in the 2016 election and Vice President Joe Biden.
“As the theory goes,” said Garcia, “Vice President Biden tried to remove Ukraine’s prosecutor all to make sure the prosecutor wouldn’t investigate that specific company Burisma because, again, his son was on the board. Then senators, if that doesn’t sound far-fetched and complicated to you, it should.”
In breaking down the theory, Garcia noted that when Hunter Biden joined the board of Burisma in 2014, its owner was under investigation. The following year, Victor Shokin became Ukraine’s prosecutor general.
Later in 2015, Biden publicly called for Shokin’s removal. But as Garcia noted on Thursday, Biden was not alone in trying to get Shokin fired at the time.
“Let’s be very, very clear,” Garcia said. “Vice President Biden called for the removal of this prosecutor at the official direction of US policy because the prosecutor was widely perceived as corrupt and with the support of all of our international allies, his actions were therefore supported by the executive branch, Congress, and the international community.”
Furthermore, when Biden called for Shokin’s removal, the case against Burisma was no longer active, Garcia noted.
“Although Shokin vowed to keep investigating Burisma amid an international push to root out corruption in Ukraine, he allowed the Burisma investigation to go dormant,” Garcia said. “That is when he was removed. He was not actively investigating Burisma.”
Garcia’s assertions are supported by Shokin’s deputy prosecutor, Vitaliy Kaso, who resigned in February 2016, a month before Shokin himself was fired. Kasko told Bloomberg that the case against Burisma was dormant by the time Shokin was removed, saying “There was no pressure from anyone from the US to close cases against Zlochevsky. It was shelved by Ukrainian prosecutors in 2014 and through 2015.”
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