Joe Biden has maintained for a long time that he blackmailed Ukraine into firing Viktor Shokin because he was corrupt. Biden held up a desperately needed $1 billion dollar loan until Shokin was fired.
During President Trump’s first kangaroo impeachment trial, Democrats said that alleged that Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin was fired in March because the State Department was widely displeased with his anti-corruption efforts. But, the State Department was very pleased by Shokin’s plan to root out corruption in Ukraine.
Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland personally wrote Shokin:
“We have been impressed with the ambitious reform and anti-corruption agenda of your government.”
“Secretary Kerry asked me to reply on his behalf” to let Shokin know he enjoyed the full support of the United States as he set out to fight endemic corruption in the former Soviet republic.”
“The ongoing reform of your office, law enforcement, and the judiciary will enable you to investigate and prosecute corruption and other crimes in an effective, fair, and transparent manner,” Nuland added. “The United States fully supports your government’s efforts to fight corruption and other crimes in an effective, fair and transparent manner.”
Now, I may be mistaken, but that does not sound like the State Department disapproved of Shokin. In fact, it sounds like a ringing endorsement. Nuland is currently the Undersecretary at the State Department under Biden.
This information was kept secret from the Trump defense during his impeachment trial and also from the Senate that was investigating Hunter Biden.
A series of columns by this reporter in The Hill newspaper in spring 2019 exposed Biden’s threat and revealed some U.S. officials feared it had created the appearance of a conflict of interest. Trump subsequently asked Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Zelensky, in summer 2019 to investigate whether anything untoward occurred in Shokin’s firing.
Democrats subsequently launched impeachment proceedings against Trump, arguing his request to Zelensky was an abuse of power because it targeted Biden, a potential 2020 election opponent. Trump defended the request as perfectly normal.
During the House impeachment proceedings in fall 2019 and the Senate trial in January 2020 that led to Trump’s acquittal, House Democrats repeatedly argued Trump had no basis to request an investigation and that Biden’s effort to fire Shokin was legitimate because U.S. officials and the whole of U.S. government believed Shokin was either corrupt or ineffective fighting corruption.
Nuland, in 2020 testimony to the Senate, claimed she and other State officials were frustrated by summer 2015 that Shokin wasn’t doing enough to fight corruption, making no mention of her June 2015 missive that actually praised Shokin.
“So the initial expectation, when we began talking about the third loan guarantee, which I believe was in the summer of 2015, was that Prosecutor General Shokin make more progress than we had seen to clean up corruption inside the Prosecutor General’s Office itself,” she testified.