by James D. Agresti
Newly discovered emails prove beyond all doubt that the “true purpose” of Hunter Biden’s lucrative deal with a Ukrainian energy company was for Hunter to get “high-ranking US officials” to visit Ukraine and persuade the nation’s leaders to “close down” all criminal “cases/pursuits against” the firm’s primary owner, a notoriously corrupt oligarch with ties to Russia.
Documentation of this illegal scheme begins with a widely overlooked email on Hunter’s laptop in which a top executive of the Ukrainian firm describes the plan. Now, emails uncovered by Just Facts prove that Hunter and his partners:
- explicitly agreed to this deal.
- concealed the names of top U.S. officials to “be on the safe and cautious side.”
- affirmed that only Hunter could credibly promise to get those officials to shield the oligarch from criminal charges.
Just one month later, then-Vice President Joe Biden did exactly what those emails specified by visiting Ukraine and threatening to withhold U.S. aid unless the prosecutor investigating Hunter’s cash cow was fired. Moreover, Biden did this by going after two “key targets” identified in the emails: the “President of Ukraine” and the “Prosecutor General.”
In April 2014, Vice President Biden traveled to Ukraine and gave a speech to its legislators in which he promised that the U.S. would help Ukraine increase its fossil fuel production to make it less dependent on Russian energy. In that very same month:
- the largest private natural gas producer in Ukraine, a company named Burisma, appointed Joe Biden’s son Robert “Hunter” Biden and his business partner to the company’s board.
- the primary owner of the natural gas company—a corrupt oligarch named Nikolai Zlochevskyi who had financial and political ties to Russia—personally approved Hunter’s hiring.
- Burisma began making a series of payments totaling at least $3.3 million over the next 18 months to a Delaware corporation, which paid $708,312.40 directly to Hunter and $2.5 million to entities associated with Hunter.
- the oligarch’s London bank accounts were seized by British officials in a money laundering investigation.
Nearly a year later in February 2015, the U.S. State Department and the FBI learned that Zlochevskyi allegedly bribed Ukrainian prosecutors to shut down criminal investigations of him. Thus, the government of Ukraine replaced the chief prosecutor with a new one who reopened investigations into the oligarch. At this time, Burisma was paying $166,666.66 per month to the Delaware company that was paying Hunter.
The “Ultimate Purpose”
- criticized a proposal they sent to him because it was “lacking concrete tangible results that we set out to achieve in the first place” and did not “offer any names of top US officials” or “Ukrainian officials” to help the company’s owner (“Nikolay”) improve “his situation in Ukraine.”
- stated that if they left these names out of their proposal “to be on the safe and cautious side, I can understand the rationale.”
- instructed them to “proceed immediately” with enlisting “high-ranking US officials” to “visit” Ukraine and persuade “the highest level of decision makers” to “close down” all “cases/pursuits against” the owner.
- identified the “President of Ukraine” and the “Prosecutor General” as two of the “key targets.”
- repeatedly reminded them that closing down these cases was the “true purpose” and the “ultimate purpose” of their “engagement” with Burisma and “all our joint efforts.”
Just Facts, a research and educational institute, has now uncovered Hunter and his partners’ replies to that email among the 100,000+ emails on Hunter’s laptop. They show beyond all doubt that Hunter and his partners agreed to this deal, which Joe Biden followed to a tee.
“Hunter, You need to deliver that message.”
Immediately after the Burisma executive laid out what was expected of them, Hunter and his partners sent a flurry of emails stating that Hunter needed to tell Burisma that they understood the true purpose of the deal and “deliberately” concealed the names of the officials who would carry it out to “be on the safe and cautious side.” Hunter then emailed Burisma that they understood the job and could get it done.
Here are some of the key excerpts:
- Eric Schwerin to Devon Archer and Hunter Biden (11/2/15): “I would tell Vadym that this is definitely done deliberately to the be on the safe and cautious side and that Sally and company understand the scope and deliverables.”
- Devon Archer to Eric Schwerin and Hunter Biden (11/2/15): “Hunter, You need to deliver that message. I have walked this to the finish (aka starting) line but need some support to close.”
- Eric Schwerin to Hunter Biden (11/2/15): “Do you want me to draft something for you to email to Vadym from you?”
- Hunter Biden to Vadym Pozharskyi, Devon Archer, and Eric Schwerin (11/3/15): “Vadym– Let me have one final call with them and verify once more that they understand the scope so we can all feel that the retainer is in line with the work required.”
- Vadym Pozharskyi to Hunter Biden, Devon Archer, and Eric Schwerin (11/3/15): “Thank you Hunter! And of course, if you and Devon feel comfortable that they will deliver what in real terms we are talking about, we should disregard the wording of the scope and move further with signing and starting actual work.”
- Hunter Biden to Vadym Pozharskyi, Devon Archer, and Eric Schwerin (11/5/15): “Vadym, Devon and I do feel comfortable with BS and the ability of Sally & Karen to deliver. You should go ahead and sign. Looking forward to getting started on this.”
In combination with the email from Burisma, these emails leave no doubt that Hunter promised to get “top US officials” to “visit” Ukraine and persuade the nation’s leaders to “close down” all criminal “cases/pursuits against” Burisma’s owner. Furthermore, the emails prove that two of their “key targets” were the “President of Ukraine” and the “Prosecutor General.”
Joe Biden’s Actions
One month after the emails above were exchanged, Joe Biden did exactly what they specified.
In December 2015, Biden visited Ukraine and later recounted on video that he told Ukraine’s president and its prime minister on that trip that he would withhold a U.S. government “billion-dollar loan guarantee” unless they fired the “state prosecutor.” “If the prosecutor is not fired,” warned Biden, “you’re not getting the money.” Biden then added, “Well, son of a bitch, he got fired.”
However, that firing did not happen right away, and two months later on February 2, 2016, the chief prosecutor secured a court order to seize some properties of the oligarch who was paying Hunter, including his land, houses, and a Rolls-Royce Phantom.
Just two weeks after the court’s seizure order, the president of Ukraine forced the prosecutor to resign. White House phone logs show that Joe Biden talked to the president of Ukraine at least three times in the week surrounding the firing. The phone log for the last of these calls states, “The Vice President also commended President Poroshenko’s decision to replace Prosecutor General Shokin, which paves the way for needed reform of the prosecutorial service.”
Contrary to Biden’s claim that the prosecutor stood in the way of reform, the president of Ukraine complimented the prosecutor for implementing reforms that his predecessors had “been opposing for decades” and then listed the specific reforms. The president then said that he only asked the prosecutor to resign because he “failed to gain society’s trust.”
- the best man of Petro Poroshenko, the president who appointed him.
- sentenced to prison in 2012 for embezzlement and abuse of office.
- convicted in a separate 2012 case for illegal surveillance.
- pardoned by the previous president and released from jail in 2013.
- was forced to resign by Volodymyr Zelensky (the current president of Ukraine) for failing to prosecute anyone of note during his three-year tenure.
Six months after Biden’s “solid” prosecutor was appointed, he dropped all criminal charges against the oligarch. The prosecutor also applauded the settlement as a “success” because the oligarch paid $7.46 million in back taxes and penalties. Far from being a prosecutorial victory, the oligarch praised these outcomes and stated that they would allow his corporation to increase production and “attract international companies to Ukraine.”
Two weeks later on November 16, 2016, Burisma made its last documented payment to Hunter. In addition to the recent closure of all criminal cases against the oligarch, Donald Trump had just won an upset victory in the U.S. presidential election. This left Joe Biden incapable of using U.S. taxpayer funds to influence Ukrainian officials.
Joe Biden’s involvement in Hunter’s illicit business deals is also evidenced by a 2017 encrypted What’s App message uncovered by the New York Post. In it, one of Hunter’s business partners wrote to another partner while discussing Joe Biden, “Don’t mention Joe being involved, it’s only when u are face to face, I know u know that but they are paranoid.”
The False Excuse
Joe Biden claimed that he pressured Ukrainian officials to fire the nation’s chief prosecutor because the prosecutor was “backsliding” on “corruption.” This excuse has been widely echoed by the media, who allege that the chief prosecutor was not even investigating the oligarch who was enriching Hunter.
Those claims are belied by the facts that the:
- the Prosecutor General’s Office obtained a court order to seize property of the oligarch, including his land, houses, and a Rolls-Royce Phantom.
- Burisma’s email to Hunter and his partners specifically identified the “Prosecutor General” as one of the “key targets” that “top US officials” should convince to “close down” all “cases/pursuits against” the oligarch.
- the Prosecutor General, whose name was Viktor Shokin, signed a sworn affidavit stating:
- “The truth is that I was forced out because I was leading a wide-ranging corruption probe into Burisma Holdings, a natural gas firm active in Ukraine and Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, was a member of the Board of Directors.”
- The president of Ukraine “was emphatic that I should cease my investigations regarding Burisma. When I did not, he said that the US (via Biden) were refusing to release the USD $1 billion promised to Ukraine. He said that he had no choice, therefore, but to ask me to resign.”
- the new Prosecutor General, who Biden praised as “solid,” did not prosecute anyone of note during his three-year tenure.
One of the more outlandish falsehoods about this affair comes from the Washington Post’s lead “Fact Checker,” Glenn Kessler. As alleged evidence that Prosecutor Shokin “was not investigating” the oligarch who was paying Hunter, Kessler claims:
In September 2015, then-U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt publicly criticized Shokin’s office for thwarting a British money-laundering probe into Burisma’s owner, Mykola Zlochevsky.
In reality, the U.S. ambassador was not criticizing Shokin but his predecessor, Vitaliy Yarema. This is proven by the fact that the British money laundering probe cited by the ambassador ended on January 21, 2015, and Shokin was not appointed chief prosecutor until the next month in February 2015.
In a related article, Kessler scales up the rhetoric and claims that the ambassador “blasted Shokin for ‘openly and aggressively undermining reform’ and having ‘undermined prosecutors working on legitimate corruption cases’.” However, the ambassador stated that “corrupt actors within the Prosecutor General’s office” did this, not Shokin.
Furthermore, in the very same speech that Kessler misquoted twice, the ambassador began speaking about the present and said, “We want to work with Prosecutor General Shokin” and help him lead “the fight against corruption.” This further demonstrates that the ambassador was not castigating Shokin and wanted to partner with him.
Twitter, in turn, invoked Kessler’s bogus fact check to insist that the “prosecutor was not investigating Burisma at that time.”
In contrast to those false reports—court records, first-hand sworn testimony, and a smoking gun email from Burisma show that Shokin was aggressively pursuing the oligarch when Joe Biden forced his firing.
Keeping People in the Dark
Beyond denying the fact that the prosecutor was cracking down on Hunter’s cash cow, a wide array of journalists, government officials, and big tech executives kept the public in the dark about this and related matters. This was especially the case just before the 2020 presidential election.
Just a few of the many examples include the following:
- In July 2021, Politico reported that the Department of Justice (DOJ) delayed an investigation into Hunter Biden’s laptop “to avoid taking any actions that could alert the public to the existence of the case in the middle of a presidential election.”
- In October 2020, Twitter locked the New York Post’s account for reporting on Hunter’s laptop and pinned a post to the top of Twitter’s home page claiming that Joe Biden “played no role in pressuring Ukraine officials into firing the prosecutor,” a statement flatly disproven by the words of Biden himself.
- Multiple whistleblowers within the FBI have stated that officials in the FBI and DOJ used a deceitful assessment of Hunter’s laptop to “improperly discredit and falsely claim that derogatory information about Biden’s activities was disinformation, causing investigative activity and sourcing to be shut down.”
- In October 2020, NPR managing editor Terence Samuels Public Editor wrote that NPR is not reporting on the NY Post’s expose of Hunter Biden’s laptop because “we don’t want to waste our time on stories that are not really stories, and we don’t want to waste listeners’ and readers’ time on stories that are just pure distractions.”
- In October 2020, Facebook executive Andy Stone wrote, “While I will intentionally not link to the New York Post, I want be clear that this story is eligible to be fact checked by Facebook’s third-party fact checking partners. In the meantime, we are reducing its distribution on our platform.”
- In October 2020, a group of former government intelligence officials led by James Clapper (Obama’s Director of National Intelligence) alleged without evidence that the contents of Hunter’s laptop could be or definitely are Russian “information,” while admitting that “we do not have evidence of Russian involvement—just that our experience makes us deeply suspicious that the Russian government played a significant role in this case.”
- Major media outlets and so-called fact checkers widely parroted that baseless claim while changing the phrase “Russian information” to “Russian disinformation” and failing to report that:
- the same group of Obama officials who made that accusation also alleged that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia in the 2016 election, a charge disproven by a 2-year, $32 million investigation by an independent counsel which “did not establish” or “identify evidence” that the “Trump Campaign” or “any U.S. persons” “conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”
- the DOJ Inspector General (an Obama appointee) “identified at least 17 significant errors or omissions” in warrant applications that Obama’s officials used to surveil the Trump campaign and added that he “did not receive satisfactory explanations” for these misleading warrant applications.
- In October 2020, Leslie Stahl of CBS’s 60 Minutes insisted that the contents of Hunter’s laptop “can’t be verified,” even though 60 Minutes brags that it conducts “hard-hitting investigative” journalism. Demonstrating the absurdity of that claim:
- the recipient of one of the most incriminating emails on the laptop verified that same month that he was “the recipient of the email” and the “email is genuine.”
- the NY Post pointed out that they published an array of pictures and emails from the laptop with “an extraordinary level of detail” that supports their authenticity, such as a picture of Hunter in a bathtub and a picture of a Biden family meal, along with emails to friends and family all bearing dates and times.
- the New York Times slipped this statement about Hunter’s laptop into the 24th paragraph of an article published 18 months after the 2020 election: “The email and others in the cache were authenticated by people familiar with them and with the investigation.”
- CNN reported 18 months after the 2020 election, “We know the FBI has possession” of Hunter’s laptop, and “they believe it is his laptop—that the contents of it are his.”
- the Washington Examiner commissioned a forensic examination of Hunter Biden’s hard drive which found its contents are “indisputably authentic, and there is no evidence of any hacking or file manipulation, according to an examination conducted by a former Secret Service agent who has testified as a cyberforensics expert in over 100 classified, criminal, and civil matters at the state, federal, and international levels.”
This tidal wave of misinformation and censorship by media outlets, government officials, and big tech significantly boosted Joe Biden’s odds of winning the presidency. The effect was estimated by a November 2020 online survey of Biden voters in swing states commissioned by the Media Research Center and conducted by the Polling Company. It found that 45% of Biden voters “were unaware of the financial scandal enveloping Biden and his son” and that: full awareness of the Hunter Biden scandal would have led 9.4% of Biden voters to abandon the Democratic candidate, flipping all six of the swing states he won to Trump, giving the President 311 electoral votes.
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James D. Agresti is the president of Just Facts, a research and educational institute dedicated to publishing rigorously documented facts about public policy issues.
Photo “Hunter Biden and Joe Biden” by Louise Palanker. CC BY-SA 2.0.