Joe Biden’s presidential campaign blasted out a mass email over the weekend seeking to raise money from reports that President Trump discussed the former vice president during a July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Entirely missing from the brazen fundraising email is the larger context of the story, which spotlights significant questions about Biden’s role in Ukraine policy under the Obama administration. This took place during a period where his son, Hunter Biden, received $50,000 a month from a natural gas company there.
Ukraine in 2016 removed a key prosecutor probing alleged corruption involving the same firm paying Hunter Biden. Joe Biden two years later admitted to personally threatening to withhold loan guarantees from Ukraine unless the prosecutor in question, Viktor Shokin, was removed.
None of that was mentioned in the Biden campaign’s fundraising email, sent under the subject line of “about Ukraine.”
“Eight. That’s how many times Donald Trump asked a foreign leader to investigate me and my family,” the email complains.
The missive continues:
This sort of behavior tells you everything you need to know about Donald Trump and the people around him. Every day he is in office, he does something to cheapen and debase the presidency.
But it also tells you what he’s worried about. If I’m our Democratic nominee, we will make sure he’s a one term president. It won’t be easy. But I know, with your help, we will beat Trump.
Please, I need you with me at this critical moment. Chip in to my campaign tonight.
The email presents donation options from $5 to $250 and another option for “other”, linking to the ActBlue donation site.
The message to potential supporters, signed by Biden, concludes: “Every individual donation to our campaign tonight sends a message to Donald Trump, the Russians who interfered with our elections in 2016 and almost certainly will again, and everyone else that you know we will win the battle for the soul of our nation.”
A second campaign email, titled, “disgusting,” used similar language and also utilized the Ukraine allegations to ask for donations.
Trump on Sunday acknowledged that he discussed Biden during the call with Zelensky but said that nothing inappropriate was done. “No quid pro quo, there was nothing,” Trump commented to reporters on the White House South Lawn. “It was a perfect conversation.”
“The conversation I had was largely congratulatory, with largely corruption, all of the corruption taking place and largely the fact that we don’t want our people like Vice President Biden and his son creating the corruption already in the Ukraine and Ukraine has got a lot of problems. The new president is saying that he’s going to be able to rid the country of corruption, and I said that would be a great thing, we had a great conversation.”
Biden, meanwhile, boasted about his role in the removal of Shokin during a panel discussion sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations in 2018.
“I remember going over (to Ukraine), convincing our team … that we should be providing for loan guarantees. … And I was supposed to announce that there was another billion-dollar loan guarantee. And I had gotten a commitment from (then Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko) and from (then-Prime Minister Arseniy) Yatsenyuk that they would take action against the state prosecutor (Shokin). And they didn’t…” Biden said.
“They were walking out to a press conference. I said, nah, … we’re not going to give you the billion dollars. They said, ‘You have no authority. You’re not the president.’ … I said, call him. I said, I’m telling you, you’re not getting the billion dollars. I said, you’re not getting the billion. … I looked at them and said, ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money.’ Well, son of a bitch. He got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time.”
After it was revealed that Hunter Biden joined the board of Burisma Holdings in 2014, ethics experts were quoted by the news media as raising questions about potential conflicts of interest.
Yoshiko M. Herrera, a Russia and Eurasian policy expert from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, was quoted by the Washington Post saying that Biden’s position was “a conflict of interest even if it doesn’t break any laws.”
“Calling Hunter Biden a private citizen ignores the obvious links to the vice president,” Herrera stated. “Conflict-of-interest rules should have applied. If Biden is working for the Obama administration on Ukraine, his son should not have been on the board of a company there that could be affected by U.S. policy spearheaded by his father.”
A New York Times editorial opined that Hunter Biden’s role in the board of Burisma undermined his father’s credibility in Ukraine issues.
The newspaper stated:
Sadly, the credibility of Mr. Biden’s message may be undermined by the association of his son with a Ukrainian natural-gas company, Burisma Holdings, which is owned by a former government official suspected of corrupt practices. A spokesman for the son, Hunter Biden, argues that he joined the board of Burisma to strengthen its corporate governance. That may be so. But Burisma’s owner, Mykola Zlochevsky, has been under investigation in Britain and in Ukraine. It should be plain to Hunter Biden that any connection with a Ukrainian oligarch damages his father’s efforts to help Ukraine. This is not a board he should be sitting on.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.
Joshua Klein contributed research to this article.