Alison Durkee, LINDSEY GRAHAM GIVES TRUMP THE BIDEN INVESTIGATION HE’S BEEN BEGGING FOR: A series of impeachment witnesses have all testified that the conspiracy theory is completely false—but Graham didn’t bother to tune in:
President Donald Trump may not have ultimately been successful in his pressure campaign to get the Ukrainian government to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden—but at least he has Senator Lindsey Graham to do his bidding instead. Graham, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, signaled his intention Thursday to investigate Joe and son Hunter Biden‘s dealings in Ukraine, legitimizing an unsubstantiated right-wing conspiracy theory that has gained notoriety through the current impeachment proceedings. The senator sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo requesting documents related to Biden and Burisma, the Ukranian energy company on whose board Hunter Biden previously served, in order to investigate the theory that the then-V.P. improperly ordered the firing of former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin in order to end Shokin’s investigation into Burisma.
Graham suggested Thursday in his letter that he’ll be focusing on Joe Biden’s conversations with former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, as well as a 2016 meeting between Devon Archer, a business partner of Hunter Biden’s, and then-Secretary of State John Kerry. (A former Kerry aide told the Washington Post the meeting was a “courtesy hello to a 2004 alumni” of Kerry’s presidential campaign and was “100 percent unrelated to Burisma.”) Graham had previously told the Post in late October that he would not give into GOP pressure and “turn the Senate into a circus” by investigating the Bidens. But the escalating impeachment inquiry—which has gotten worse and worse for the Trump administration with each testifying witness—seems to have changed the loyal Trump ally’s mind. Graham spokeswoman Taylor Reidy told the Post that the senator was now asking for the documents because “Adam Schiff and the House Intel Committee have made it clear they will not look into the issues about Hunter Biden and Burisma.” “Graham is requesting documents which could shed additional light on that issue and hopes they will be able to answer some of the outstanding questions,” Reidy added.
Bring on the Biden Investigation
Schiff Was Right Not to Let the Hearings Be Diverted
The Republicans seem to want to argue that it was OK for Trump to ask the Ukrainian president to investigate the Bidens because, in the Republicans’ view, the Bidens were in fact guilty of corruption. But the hypothetical guilt of the Bidens would not excuse Trump’s conduct. So the Bidens’ hypothetical guilt or innocence is irrelevant to the matters the Intelligence Committee is investigating. So the Intelligence Committee is right not let itself be diverted into irrelevancies.
But, Lindsey, Please Bring on the Biden Investigation Anyway
If nothing else, do it as a personal favor to me. I will be voting in a Democratic primary. I have not yet decided whom to vote for. I’m skeptical that Sleepy Joe is the best candidate, but I might, in the end, vote for him because I might decide that he Is in fact the candidate most likely to defeat Trump.
Now, I know beyond any doubt that if Biden is the nominee, Republicans will hop up and down, foam at the mouth, and scream Ukrainian corruption. That doesn’t make much difference, because they’ll hop up and down, foam and the mouth, and scream lies no matter who is nominated.
But here’s the thing. I’m pretty sure that a full presentation will show that Sleepy Joe did nothing and said nothing to benefit Burisma, with whom Hunter was associated in three different capacities. In particular, I’m pretty sure the evidence will show that Mr. Shokin, the prosecutor that Sleep Joe wanted to shitcan, was eminently worthy of being shitcanned.
But it would be helpful to have all of this fully aired, earlier rather than later. To help Arius and Dr. Aardvark be sure that Sleepy Joe doesn’t have baggage we don’t know about.
So, thank you Lindsey.
But Won’t Lindsey Graham Just Manufacture Evidence and Stage a Bogus Show Trial?
Possibly, he might try to do that. But I’m pretty sure he could not get away with it.
But is it OK for the House Judiciary Committee to Investigate Political Opponents Not Currently Serving in Government—and Shouldn’t the Bidens Just Refuse to Cooperate?
The case law tells us that Congress has an extremely broad power to conduct investigations. That power has some limitations, but it’s very broad. If the Senate subpoenas the Bidens and they respond by asking the courts to suppress the subpoenas, I believe they would lose the case.
For that reasons and others, I will not vote for Sleepy Joe if he and Hunter try to stonewall Lindsey.
And What About Hunter?
As I said above, the key question is whether Sleepy Joe did or said anything wrong in reference to Ukrainian corruption.
At a bare minimum, Hunter Biden exercised extremely poor judgment in trading on his father’s position to sit on the board of a corrupt company and give that corrupt company a veneer of respectability—and allow that corrupt company to imply that it had juice with the Vice President of the United States.
We already know that. We also know, I think, that we are not personally responsible for all the unwise choices made by all of our relatives, particularly our adult relatives. That said, it bears on our understanding of Joe Biden’s character and judgment to know what he said or didn’t say, what he did or didn’t do, to remonstrate with young Hunter. And, yes, I understand that’s an emotional topic for Sleepy Joe, but that’s a question he’s going to have to answer. And the sooner he answers, the better for all of us—probably including both the Bidens.
What Did Hunter Actually Do for Burisma? And How Much Loot Did He Actually Receive?
Young Hunter’s service to Burisma caused him to wear three different hats, at various times.
Compensation as a Member of the Board of Directors. It has been widely reported that he received $50,000 a month in that capacity. As a human scum, I know that 2 + 2 = 4, and that $50,000 x 12 = $600,000, and that $600,000 x several years = several million simoleons.
Definitely on the high side. Median compensation for directors at the very largest U.S. corporations runs around $300,000 per year.
Fees for Legal Services and Law Firm Compensation. During much of the relevant time period, young Hunter was Of Counsel at the respected New York-based law firm, Boies Schiller Flexner LLP, which describes itself this way: “We are a firm of internationally recognized trial lawyers, crisis managers, and strategic advisors known for our creative, aggressive, and efficient pursuit of success for our clients.”
In 2014, following Ukraine’s Revolution of Dignity, of which we have heard so much in recent days, Burisma felt the need for some serious crisis management, strategic advice, and creative and aggressive pursue of success. That was because Burisma had been bribing government officials, evading taxes, and laundering money. So they retained Boies Schiller and they hired one of their lawyers—not a partner, but an Of Counsel who just happened to be a son of the U.S. Vice President—to serve on their board. His particular lane—presumably, both as a Boies Schiller attorney and a board member—was said to be “corporate governance best practices.” I assume that young Hunter was able to advise them that corporate governance best practices do not include bribery, tax evasion, and money laundering. For this, his law firm was paid a considerable amount of money. I don’t believe we know how much, though, even by an order of magnitude. I do not believe we know exactly what services were performed, apart from general admonitions to go and sin no more.
Also, from the perspective of Boies Schiller’s management, young Hunter would have been seen as a “rain maker,” and that would have been reflected in his compensation. I do not believe we know the amount of that compensation.
Financial Rewards for International Deal Making. At more or less the same time as Burisma hired Boies Schiller and put young Hunter on its board, it also entered into one or more transactions with an investment and deal-making firm named Rosemont Seneca. Young Hunter was one of that firm’s three partners, the others being Christopher Heinz, John Kerry’s stepson, and someone named Devon Archer. Young Heinz, who smelled a rat, got out of the relationship. Young Devon joined his friend and partner Hunter in accepting a position on Burisma’s board of directors.
There is some reporting that, while wearing this third hat, Hunter came out several million dollars richer. But verified facts are scarce.
I Want to Know the Facts Before I Vote
I want to know how much money Hunter got, for doing what. I want to know whether the facts suggest the payments were all for legitimate services or business transactions—or whether Burisma was deliberately putting a large amount of money in Hunter’s pocket which he had not earned. And if the latter was the case, I want to know what Hunter did with the money.