Late in the election, reports surfaced about conflicts of interest among Joe Biden, his family, and foreign business contacts in China and beyond, which Biden denies. Some media outlets have refused to cover the alleged conflicts. We thought we'd take a different approach and investigate the emails, the connections, and the actual evidence.
Sharyl: Hunter Biden was discharged from the Navy Reserve in early 2014 after getting caught with cocaine in his system. Emails allegedly show Hunter and his business partners soon began working on a deal with Ukraine’s largest energy company Burisma and its owner Mykola Zlochevsky, mired in a corruption scandal.
About the same time, the White House announced Hunter’s dad, Vice President Biden, would take the lead on Ukraine policy and make a trip there. The day of the announcement, Hunter reportedly wrote his business partner “This could be the break we have been waiting for,” saying their contract with Burisma “should begin now, not after the upcoming visit of my guy.” “The announcement of my guys upcoming travels should be characterized as part of our advice and thinking” adding Burisma must “know in no uncertain terms” that Hunter and his team would “need to abide byUS laws in the strictest sense across the board.”
Matters quickly worsened for Burisma and its owner Zlochevsky. Fraud probes were launched first in the UK and then Ukraine. The company seemed anxious to use the Biden name to deflect them.
A Burisma official allegedly wrote: “taking into account the political weight of our Directors we have to ‘use’ their personality carefully and strategically wiseTherefore” speaking of Hunter “I kindly suggest to indeed now or after his father [leaves] our country just put him on our website without going for public [campaign.]”
By the time Vice President Biden touched down a few days later, Burisma had sealed its decision to put Hunter on its board of directors. And Joe Biden raised the subject so important to the energy giant.
Joe Biden: “With the right investments and the right choices, Ukraine can reduce its energy dependence and increase its energy security.”
Sharyl: Soon after that visit, according to emails, Burisma made a $250,000 payment to the Washington D.C. law firm where Hunter worked, announced he’d joined Burisma's board, and posted a photo of Vice President Biden on its website, which the Vice President’s counsel quickly asked to be removed: “tell Burisma they need to take it down.”
Burisma also allegedly outlined “concrete actions” expected of Hunter and the team “that will effectively stop those politically motivated attacks [against Burisma] today and will create solid ground for preventing such actions in future.”
By November 2015, the emails say, Burisma named Ukraine’s prosecutor general as one of the “key targets” Hunter and his partners should focus on with “high-ranking US officialswith the ultimate purpose to close down for any cases”
Within weeks, in December 2015, according to emails, Hunter and Burisma got an advance briefing of a trip, where Vice President Biden would put Ukraine’s prosecutor general Viktor Shokin in the crosshairs.
Joe Biden later recounted how he got Ukraine’s president to fire Shokin by threatening to hold back a billion dollars in US funds.
Joe Biden: I’m leaving in six hours, if the prosecutor’s not fired you’re not getting the moneyWell, son of a bitch! Got fired.”
Sharyl: Biden and others insist Shokin hadn’t fought corruption hard enough and his firing made it more, not less likely, Burisma would be thoroughly investigated. Whatever the case, in January 2017, just before President Trump took office, Burisma announced all the cases against it were closed.
Today, two of Hunter’s former business partners including the one from the Ukraine deal, are in prison on unrelated charges. The Bidens have not been accused of a crime, and haven’t commented on the accuracy of the emails.
Sharyl (on camera): What remains to be seen, is what impact, if any, this will have on the election.