Of all the things to impeach President Trump on, the Democrats have chosen the route that could also bring his potential 2020 opponent down. After a whistleblower revealed that Trump had asked Ukraine’s president to do him a favor and dig up dirt on Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden, the Democrats have opened up an impeachment inquiry. While Trump’s actions are clearly corrupt, the facts surrounding Hunter Biden’s involvement with a Ukrainian oil company while then Vice President Joe Biden was in charge of cracking down on Ukrainian corruption is just as bad.
Beginning in 2014, Hunter Biden, with absolutely no experience in the fossil fuel industry, was paid $50,000 a month to sit on the board of Ukrainian oil company Burisma Holdings Inc. At the same time, President Obama tasked Joe Biden to push the Ukrainian government to prosecute its corrupt political and business leaders. One of Biden’s first moves was to pressure the parliament to remove Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin. Biden was so adamant about Shokin’s removal, that he withheld $1 billion in aid to Ukraine. The tactic worked.
No matter how bad or impeachable Trump’s actions were in Ukraine, Hunter Biden’s position on Burisma Holdings’ board while his father was in charge of lowering corruption in Ukraine is a clear conflict of interest. To make matters worse, Burisma Holdings was under investigation by Shokin for allegations of corruption. One has to beg the question as to why the oil company would want the unexperienced son of the U.S. Vice President to sit on their board. This is clearly unethical behavior by Joe Biden. More importantly, Biden’s name could be tarnished during the impeachment process, essentially handing the victory to Trump if he happens to be the Democratic nominee.
There are two competing accounts as to why Biden applied intense pressure on Ukraine to remove Shokin. As is the case in U.S. politics, the accounts have been heavily politicized. The first account, supported by most Democrats, is that Biden wanted Shokin out because he was not pursuing corruption investigations against many of Ukraine’s political and business leaders in the manner required. Joe Biden and the Obama Administration were not the only ones calling for Shokin’s ouster. European diplomats, the International Monetary Fund and many Ukrainian citizens were also insistent.
The competing narrative, supported by most Republicans, tells a much different and nefarious story. It claims that Biden pushed for Shokin’s removal specifically because the general prosecutor’s corruption investigation into Burisma Holdings was making headway. If corruption charges were levied against the oil company, it would not look good for Hunter Biden or the Biden family as a whole.
This story has much less evidence behind it than its alternative but Biden’s refusal to even answer questions about a potential conflict of interest raises suspicions. He is not doing any TV or press interviews this week to avoid “Hunter Biden-like questions,” a telling sign that Biden simply does not have a good answer regarding the allegations. When asked about this issue, presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris told the media to “leave Joe Biden alone.” This is another unacceptable response from a leading Democrat.
Even if Biden wanted Shokin out for legitimate reasons, the conflict of interest allegations supply Trump with an unlimited amount of attack ads. Biden will be painted as the crooked candidate who is part of the corrupt Washington swamp, an effective strategy that worked against Hillary Clinton. If the Democrats want to impeach Trump over his actions in Ukraine, they will have to unequivocally condemn the Biden family’s actions within Ukraine. This is just further proof that the former vice president is not even close to being the most electable Democratic presidential candidate.
There are so many others ways to impeach Trump that do not include making the Democrats look bad: crimes against humanity on the U.S.-Mexico border, war crimes in Yemen and the emoluments clause. These are all impeachable offenses but the situation in Ukraine does not just show how incredibly corrupt Trump is but how the political establishment itself, consisting of both Democrats and Republicans, is corrupt.