Leaked tapes reportedly show Biden pressuring Ukrainian President to fire prosecutor in return For $1 billion
Andrew Kerr on May 20, 2020
- A Ukrainian lawmaker with ties to Russian intelligence leaked on Tuesday excerpts of recordings of phone calls reportedly between former Vice President Joe Biden and former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko discussing the ouster of a Ukrainian prosecutor.
- In one of the tapes, Poroshenko told Biden that he asked for former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin’s resignation despite having no evidence of wrongdoing.
- “I’m a man of my word,” Biden allegedly told Poroshenko in a later phone call. “And now that the new prosecutor general is in place, we’re ready to move forward to signing that $1 billion dollar loan guarantee.”
A Ukrainian lawmaker with ties to the Russian KGB released on Tuesday excerpts of recorded phone calls reportedly made between former Vice President Joe Biden and former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in 2016 discussing the ouster of a Ukrainian prosecutor in return for a $1 billion loan guarantee.
The lawmaker, Andriy Derkach, said during a press conference Tuesday that Poroshenko recorded his phone calls with Biden and that he received the tapes from investigative journalists.
The full context of the conversations between the two leaders was edited out of the tapes Derkach released Tuesday, The Washington Post reported, but the portions that were released are mostly consistent with how Biden has publicly characterized his efforts to get former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin fired in return for loan guarantees from the United States.
Biden spokesman Andrew Bates told the Post the release of the tapes was yet another instance of Russia’s efforts to hurt Biden.
“They heavily edited this, and it’s still a nothingburger that landed with a thud,” Bates said.
Biden boasted in 2018 that he secured Shokin’s firing over concerns of corruption in the prosecutor generals’ office. However, Poroshenko disclosed to Biden in one of the tapes that he asked for Shokin’s resignation despite having no evidence of wrongdoing.
“Yesterday, I met with the General Prosecutor Shokin,” Poroshenko told Biden on a Feb. 28, 2016, phone call. “And despite of the fact that we didn’t have any corruption charges, we don’t have any information about him doing something wrong … I especially asked him to resign.”
The tapes leaked Tuesday by Derkach contain no mention of Bursima Holdings or Biden’s son Hunter Biden, who served on the board of the natural gas company at the time. The Daily Caller News Foundation was unable to independently verify the authenticity of the tapes.
At the time of his ouster, Shokin was investigating allegations of wrongdoing at Burisma that occurred before Hunter Biden joined the firm’s board.
Biden followed up with Poroshenko on a March 22, 2016, phone call asking if there was a new prosecutor general in place.
“I am prepared to do a public signing of the commitment for the billion dollars,” Biden allegedly told the former Ukrainian president.
Biden and Poroshenko discussed the issue again on May 13, 2016.
“Congratulations on installing the new prosecutor general,” Biden said, according to the leaked recording. “It’s going to be critical for him to work quickly to repair the damage Shokin did.”
“And I’m a man of my word,” Biden added. “And now that the new prosecutor general is in place, we’re ready to move forward to signing that new one billion dollar loan guarantee.”
Derkach also released a tape containing portions of a phone call between former Secretary of State John Kerry and Poroshenko on Dec. 3, 2015, discussing the need to replace Shokin.
“Because to my perception he’s blocked the cleanup of the prosecutor generals’ office and I know the vice president is very concerned about it,” Kerry told Poroshenko in the call.
Derkach met with President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, in Kyiv in late 2019, according to the Post.
Giuliani, who has accused Biden of pushing for Shokin’s ouster to help shield Hunter Biden from prosecution, told the Post the tapes Derkach released Tuesday are “just the tip of the iceberg.”
Derkatch has ties to Russian intelligence, having attended the Dzerzhinsky Higher School of the KGB in Moscow and whose father served for decades as a KGB officer, the Post reported.
The Biden campaign did not return a request for comment by the DCNF.
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