The Biden/Ukraine story is back in the news, and this time it looks like a doozy. This story has nothing to do with clean energy or electric vehicles or anything The Long Tail Pipe normally examines. But this story has been on our pages before, and I’ve reluctantly talked myself into posting a reminder of the background of this story so we can properly gauge its importance on todays events.
In the last few days news has been surfacing that perhaps Pres. Donald Trump made an illegal offer of a deal with the President of Ukraine, in which Ukraine would investigate the Biden/Ukraine deal and in exchange Trump would ensure aid money to Ukraine’s military would be released. If true this is a serious bad action on Trump’s part, constituting something very close to Treason. Namely, it suggests that Trump explicitly used his position as President to pressure a foreign government to help him personally.
Further, there is a very strange interview on CNN with Rudy Guliani, Pres. Trump’s personal lawyer, in which he basically admitted to a crime in working to organize that exchange of value.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves, and in order to understand this we need to go back five years and get the context.
Ukraine 2014 – the post-Yanukovych Civil War
In late 2013 to early 2014 the USA had some involvement with fomenting street protests in Kyiv Ukraine (the EuroMaidan protests). During 2013 Ukraine was working on a deal with the EU where Ukraine would become aligned with EU interests. Part of the deal was for Ukraine to allow a couple Western oil companies to explore shale fields, one deal was for Western Ukraine the other for Eastern Ukraine, to determine their fracking potential. What the EU wanted was a source of natural gas that did not involve paying Russia.
Here’s the articles I wrote at the time:
- Ukraine’s revolution stems from dependency on Russian natural gas and plans to frack themselves free of Russia
- Ukraine overthrows Yanukovych amid US/Russia power struggle over natural gas
- Ukraine throws off Russian-backed government, still target of Western oil interests seeking to Frack the country
- Ukraine caught in fracking-fueled tug-of-war between US and Russia, Europe’s natural gas supply at risk
- Ukraine crisis may speed up fracked natural gas exports to Europe
- Europe’s dependency on Russian natural gas mirror’s Ukraine’s effort for liberation from Russia
Vice President Biden was put in charge of the USA’s oversight of Ukraine after Yanukovych fled to Russia. The USA, along with Canada and some other countries, were helping Ukraine’s new government to get on its feet.
Well, that’s the official story. According to news reporting I’ve seen from Eastern Ukraine during that period the situation on the ground in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine did not receive much practical help from anyone. In the official story, US and Canadian troops spent awhile in Western Ukraine training Ukraine military. At the same time in Eastern Ukraine, the Ukraine military was offering a weak ineffective response to the “Russia-backed Separatists” who managed to carve out an enclave in The Donbas that persists to this day. Even today, five years later, fighting continues in the Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts, with daily cease-fire violations and more.
In any case – at one level VP Biden’s involvement was what the USA typically does. We send in troops, material, and various kinds of support, and work to establish or reestablish Democracy. We get to claim that the USA does wonderful things around the world. But if you look deep enough at the Ukraine story, you find it’s not so clear cut as that.
One of the side issues is that for some reason Hunter Biden, a son of Vice President Biden, joined the Board of Directors of Ukraine’s largest natural gas company. The thrust of the stories above is that the EU wanted to flip Ukraine because of potential natural gas deposits. They could fuel European demand for natural gas without having to pay Russia for natural gas. Therefore Hunter Biden landed a job with a company that would have played a significant role in that big scale goal.
- VP Biden brings fracking experts to Ukraine in aid package meant for freedom from Russia
- Nepotism invades Ukraine as VP Biden’s son named Director of Ukraine’s largest oil company
Biden running for President 2019
Fast-forward a few years, and by early 2019 Joe Biden is now running for President of the USA.
Early this year a story began to emerge, at first pushed by Republican operatives. Namely that back in 2014/2015 Joe Biden (in his role as Vice President of the USA) put pressure on Ukraine’s government related to an investigation into the company where Hunter Biden was on the Board of Directors.
What actually happened is a little unclear. It’s possible Ukraine’s investigation included Hunter Biden’s job with that company as one of the items to investigate. The allegation is that VP Biden therefore pressured Ukraine’s government to stop an investigation that could harm his son. But the official story – as told by Amb. McFaul in one of the videos attached below – is that Biden pressured Ukraine to actually investigate corruption, which they had not been doing.
In association with this story it appears that Rudy Giuliani (Pres. Trump’s personal lawyer) has been talking with Ukraine’s government about this issue.
- Nepotism bites VP Joe Biden as he starts 2020 Presidential run
- Biden/Ukraine story getting more heat and suspiciousness
President Trump’s offer to Ukraine’s new President
We’re now back at the present time, and there is a doozy of a story unfolding.
One angle is Donald Trump’s promise to Build The Wall – meaning, to improve the “Border Wall” between the USA and Mexico. It’s a nonsense idea since there are better ways to increase border security. The fight over this has resulted in Pres. Trump raiding the military budget in order to redirect a few billion dollars from much-needed programs to supposedly pay for constructing the wall.
About 3+ weeks ago a list of the affected programs were released. While many were construction projects at military bases inside the USA, a large number were in Europe and especially Eastern Europe. The programs in Europe were under an umbrella of projects meant to convey to USA’s allies that the USA had their back, concretely demonstrated by putting money on the ground in these countries to solidify the alliance between the USA and each of these countries. Many of those projects were “munitions storage” facilities at military bases or other sorts of projects to beef up military readiness. The countries involved include all the countries bordering Russia or Belarus.
This included $250 million in projects earmarked for Ukraine. As noted above, Ukraine is continuing to fight with “Separatists” in Eastern Ukraine. It’s widely recognized those separatists receive strong backing from Russia. And therefore the $250 million is part of a proxy war between the USA/EU and Russia.
Therefore, about 3-4 weeks ago these projects, including $250 million for Ukraine, were canceled (or delayed) with the money redirected to Build The Wall.
Last weekend news surfaced that a “Whistleblower” is trying to get a complaint to Congress over an “offer” or “promise” that Pres. Trump made to a foreign leader. The Whistleblower is apparently highly placed in the USA Intelligence Community, and the complaint was therefore routed through Inspector General of the Intelligence Community. The IG asked the Department of Justice for advice, and the DoJ apparently told the IG to sit on the whistleblower complaint. And since then the White House has begun threatening not only the whistleblower but the Inspector General.
The IG testified behind closed doors with the House Intelligence Committee. He claimed the whistleblower complaint is an “urgent concern” but is not authorized to disclose the actual complaint. Instead the White House is disputing that this rises to the level of “urgent concern”. But – it is the White House, namely the President, who is supposed to have committed this act, and we’re expecting the White House to truthfully say whether it is appropriate to investigate actions it undertook?
That’s why whistleblowers are supposed to have protection as they take stuff to Congress, so that Congress (as a co-equal branch of government) can conduct oversight.
The identity of the “foreign leader” and the “promise” is not precisely known. But it’s enough that there is an uproar between Congress and the White House underway. It is thought it has to do with the line of information outlined above.
It is widely reported that Trump had multiple phone calls with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, and that Rudy Giuliani has met with Ukrainian officials on at least two points regarding the Biden family: the question of any overlap with Mr. Biden’s diplomatic dealings with Ukraine, as well as the details of his son’s involvement in a gas company there.
A letter sent on Sept 9, 2019, by Rep. Engel (Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee), Rep. Schiff (Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee), and Rep. Cummings (Chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee) included these statements:
As the 2020 election draws closer, President Trump and his personal attorney appear to have increased pressure on the Ukrainian government and its justice system in service of President Trump’s re-election campaign, and the White House and the State Department may be abetting this scheme … [That Giuliani and Trump] appear to have acted outside legitimate law enforcement and diplomatic channels.
… If the president is trying to pressure Ukraine into choosing between defending itself from Russian aggression without U.S. assistance or leveraging its judicial system to serve the ends of the Trump campaign, this would represent a staggering abuse of power, a boon to Moscow and a betrayal of the public trust, …
… That the State Department has apparently acted as a broker between President Trump’s personal attorney and Ukrainian officials raises serious concerns that the department is complicit in a corrupt scheme that undercuts U.S. foreign policy and national security interests in favor of the president’s personal agenda …Rep’s Engel, Schiff and Cummings
- Whistleblower complaint about President Trump involves Ukraine, according to two people familiar with the matter
- Trump Pressed Ukraine’s Leader as Giuliani Pushed for Biden Inquiry
- Trump Repeatedly Pressed Ukraine President to Investigate Biden’s Son
- Rudy Giuliani denies asking Ukraine to investigate Biden — before admitting it
- House Democrats to investigate Rudy Giuliani’s dealings with Ukraine
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