Earlier this week, a memo surfaced in Ukraine, allegedly revealing how former Vice President Joseph R. Biden accepted an “unlawful benefit” from his son’s financial ties to local oil and gas producer Burisma.
I am no fan of Mr. Biden, but the “memo” needs to be taken with a great big grain of salt. Ukraine is famously corrupt, and such explosive findings need to be met with the same thorough vetting that the so-called “black ledger” implicating former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort should have received.
The Kiev Post writes, “A memo allegedly leaked from the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine shows that prosecutors are accusing [Mr. Biden] of receiving ‘an unlawful benefit’ from former Ukrainian Ecology Minister Mykola Zlochevsky’s Burisma Group, an oil and gas producer.”
The document, the paper reported, also accuses Mr. Zlochevsky of offering Mr. Biden and former Secretary of State John Kerry a “share of Burisma Group’s profits” for their help.
There has been a lot of focus on Mr. Biden and his family’s dealings with Ukraine’s shady commercial sector. I have my suspicions that whatever took place between Mr. Biden, his son Hunter, the Ukrainian prosecutor’s office and Burisma was not pretty and probably corrupt. However, this new memo coming out of nowhere right at this time strikes me as a bit too good to be true.
I personally did some digging on the Manafort “black ledger” back in 2016. I had met with the head of the Ukrainian National Anti-corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU), Artem Sytnyk, prior to the Manafort incident and when I heard about the ledgers in a New York Times story, I called NABU’s press representative the next morning. She told me at the time that what was published in The New York Times had not been provided by NABU and was most likely “taken off the internet.”
We later found out that the entire Manafort affair was set up by someone in Ukraine in order to help Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton defeat Mr. Trump in the 2016 election. I’m not vouching for Manafort’s behavior overall; I’m simply stating the obvious — the “black ledger” was most likely fake evidence.
Once Mr. Trump was elected, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko immediately got on a plane and flew to Washington to meet with the new U.S. leader, obviously worried that America’s support for Kiev would be in doubt due to Ukraine’s “meddling” in the U.S. electoral process on Mrs. Clinton’s behalf.
“Evidence” tends to appear in Ukraine when it is needed. The country is famous for its dueling oligarchs and political factions, which use the media in order to go after their adversaries. The Biden memo may be just more of the same.
I am not saying that Mr. Biden did not use his influence to get a Ukrainian prosecutor fired in order to take the investigatory pressure off of his son. I think Mr. Biden did do that. My point is, the “memo” suddenly appearing looks to be more of the Ukrainian security services operation to help their new cause — Mr. Trump and his 2020 reelection hopes.
The simple fact is that Mr. Biden and the issue of his alleged corrupt dealings in Ukraine need to be aired in a fair hearing respecting due process — something, but the way, that the Trump campaign and Trump administration never received.
Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s legal adviser, is right — Mr. Biden will never become president of the United States without the Burisma issue being clarified. Perhaps this is a chance for our law enforcement agencies to rebuild their reputations and do a real investigation, one that can show the American people they have ended their partisan ways.
There is a wise saying that revenge is a dish best served cold. Trump supporters should remember that, and handle the Biden affair the right way.
• L. Todd Wood is a former special operations helicopter pilot and Wall Street debt trader, and has contributed to Fox Business, The Moscow Times, National Review, The New York Post and many other publications. He can be reached at LToddWood.com.