- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 22, 2022

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was amassing his troops on the Ukrainian border last year, President Biden dropped U.S. sanctions on Mr. Putin’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline into Germany. His administration slow-walked lethal aid, like Javelins and Stingers, to Ukraine, and only agreed to oil sanctions on Russia after Mr. Putin invaded Ukraine and Congress backed him into a corner, threatening to pass a bill if he didn’t take unilateral action.

According to reports, Mr. Biden personally vetoed an offer to send Polish MiG-29s into Ukraine, worrying it would risk a direct war with Russia. After that, Mr. Putin claimed to have launched hypersonic missiles, blowing up a large weapons depot in western Ukraine.

U.S. intelligence warns Mr. Putin may decide to use chemical weapons against Ukrainian civilians, and still Mr. Biden refuses to draw a red line against Russian outrages.

Since coming into office, Mr. Biden has repeatedly sought to placate Russia — even in the face of increased aggression — and has achieved nothing in return. One has to ask: Is Mr. Biden this weak, or has he been compromised by Russia?

Now that The New York Times has officially acknowledged the authenticity of Hunter Biden’s laptop, let’s delve into this little scandal — a topic that, other than The New York Post, the mainstream media have chosen to ignore.

In May 2014, when Mr. Biden was vice president and tasked with dealing with anti-corruption issues in Ukraine, his son Hunter was named to the board of Burisma Holdings Ltd., one of the biggest private oil and gas companies in Ukraine, getting paid $83,333 a month, despite no experience in the industry. Burisma was controlled by a former top security and energy official for former President Viktor Yanukovych, who was aligned with the country’s pro-Russia faction. Mr. Putin is the godfather of Mr. Yanukovych’s youngest daughter.

In December 2015, as Mr. Biden was preaching an anti-corruption message to Ukraine, British authorities were investigating money laundering at Burisma and froze the company’s London bank accounts, containing $23 million allegedly belonging to its owner. At the time, Ukrainian prosecutors refused to cooperate with the investigation, and so a British court ordered the release of the assets, which were then quickly moved to Cyprus. This was as Hunter Biden was sitting on Burisma’s board.

One of the more damning emails on the younger Biden’s laptop was from Vadym Pozharskyi, head of Burisma’s board, dated Nov. 2, 2015. Mr. Pozharskyi directed Hunter to “close down” “any cases or pursuits” against Burisma’s owner in Ukraine.

A 2020 report from the chairs of the Senate Homeland Security and Finance Committees concluded: “After joining Burisma’s board, [Hunter] Biden and [his business partner Devon] Archer subsequently requested meetings with senior State Department officials, including then-Secretary of State John Kerry and then-Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Further, a Democratic lobbying firm, Blue Star Strategies, working on behalf of Burisma, also invoked Hunter Biden’s association with Burisma while requesting a meeting with then-Under Secretary of State Catherine Novelli to discuss matters of concern related to the Department of State’s position that Burisma was a corrupt company.”

In 2016, Ukraine’s top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, had an active and ongoing investigation into Burisma and its owner, according to the congressional report, when Mr. Biden “threatened to withhold $1 billion in United States loan guarantees if Ukraine’s leaders did not dismiss [Shokin]” as part of an Obama administration anti-corruption push in Kyiv.

President Biden has recalled fondly how the Ukrainian parliament responded to his threat, by firing Mr. Shokin in March of 2016. Six months later, a court in Kyiv ordered the case closed on Burisma, citing no evidence of wrongdoing.

In April 2019, the same month his father began his presidential campaign, Hunter Biden resigned from the Burisma board, pocketing more than $3 million for his stint at the company, according to the invoices recovered from his laptop. It’s yet to be determined if 10% of his payment went to “the big guy,” Joe Biden himself.

Yet another mystery — and one the White House refuses to answer — is why Hunter was paid $3.5 million by the former mayor of Moscow’s wife and one of Russia’s richest women, Elena Baturina, in 2014. As of this writing, Ms. Baturina has not been sanctioned by the U.S., while other Russian oligarchs have.

Mr. Biden’s White House — much like it did when he was vice president — has rebuffed the notion of any conflict of interest when it comes to Mr. Biden’s son.

Hunter Biden is a private citizen and a lawyer,” Kate Bedingfield, then a spokesperson to Mr. Biden, said in 2015 when asked about Hunter’s foreign business dealings. Ms. Bedingfield is now Mr. Biden’s White House communications director.

“[Hunter’s] a private citizen, he doesn’t work for the government,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki repeated last week when asked about Hunter’s foreign entanglements and ongoing federal investigation. “I’d point you to his representatives.”

So much for Mr. Biden’s pledge to have a “transparent, open” relationship with the press.

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire — and it appears Mr. Biden has much to hide. And what he is hiding may be secrets that Mr. Putin is leveraging right now.

• Kelly Sadler is the commentary editor for The Washington Times.

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