Then-Vice President Joe Biden in 2015 was introduced to a top executive at Burisma Holdings by his son Hunter Biden, the New York Post reported on Wednesday, citing previously unseen emails.
“No. 3 Burisma exec” Vadym Pozharskyi had recently asked the younger Biden, a highly paid board member at the Ukrainian energy firm, to "use your influence" to protect their mutual employer from a government probe, according to the Post.
Less than eight months later, Joe Biden traveled to Kyiv to push for the ouster of Ukraine’s then-Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin, whose office had an open criminal investigation against Burisma.
Biden, now the Democratic presidential nominee, last September said he’s “never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings.”
The emails: The Post published what it called a "smoking-gun email" allegedly sent by Pozharskyi to Hunter Biden on April 17, 2015.
- Pozharskyi. an adviser to Burisma’s board of directors, in the brief message thanked Biden for inviting him to Washington, D.C., and introducing him to the vice president, saying it had been "an honor and pleasure."
- Biden was then about a year into a five-year stint on Burisma's board, for which he reportedly earned a salary of up to $50,000 a month.
An earlier, two-page email, dated May 12, 2014, showed Pozharskyi asking Biden for "advice on how you could use your influence" on the company’s behalf.
- Pozharskyi worried the incoming Ukrainian government would, like its predecessors, solicit bribes from Burisma with the threat of prosecution.
- “We urgently need your advice on how you could use your influence to convey a message / signal, etc .to stop what we consider to be politically motivated actions,” Pozharskyi said, also addressing Biden's business partner, Devon Archer.
In another email, on April 13, 2014, Biden emailed Archer about leveraging his connections to "my guy," apparently referring to his father, to boost their pay from Burisma, the Post reported separately on Wednesday.
Money well spent?: In December 2015, Joe Biden gave a speech before the Ukrainian parliament railing against the "cancer of corruption" and calling out Shokin, the country's top prosecutor.
- Biden, by his own subsequent account, also withheld $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees for Ukraine to force the government to replace its top prosecutor.
- "I looked at them and said: I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money,” Biden boasted to the Council on Foreign Relations in January 2018. "Well, son of a bitch. He got fired."
Shokin was removed from office in March 2016.
The source: The Post reported it obtained Hunter Biden's emails on Sunday from Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, as part of a "massive trove of data" recovered from a laptop computer.
- The computer was left last April at a repair shop in Delaware, Biden's home state, and bore a sticker from the Beau Biden Foundation, named after his late older brother, the store owner told the Post.
- The unnamed store owner — who has apparently since been identified based on clues in the Post's report — turned the computer over to the FBI in December after he said he made a copy of the hard drive and gave it to a lawyer for Giuliani, who along with Trump has sought dirt on Joe Biden in Ukraine.
- Also on the computer were a video of Hunter Biden, a recovering drug addict, smoking crack during sex with an unidentified woman and other sexually explicit images, according to the Post.
Ukrainian-style politics: Trump and Giuliani — backed by their allies in the U.S. and Ukraine — have claimed Joe Biden pushed out Shokin to quash the prosecutor’s probe of Burisma to the benefit of Hunter Biden
But Joe Biden — backed by his allies in the U.S. and Ukraine — has said he was simply advancing an anti-corruption agenda shared by the Obama administration, the European Union and others who wanted to see Shokin fired.
- During the 2020 presidential campaign, Biden has insisted he and his son "did nothing wrong" in Ukraine and repeatedly lashed out at those who suggest otherwise.
Some amazing pics recovered from Hunter Biden’s laptop! pic.twitter.com/mz4J9YWMfX— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) October 14, 2020
On Friday, Biden's campaign, echoing Hunter Biden's lawyer, challenged Giuliani's credibility without disputing the veracity of the emails.
- Campaign spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement after the Post’s report came out that Joe Biden had no meetings with Pozharskyi on his "official schedules."
Giuliani told Los Angeles Times reporter Chris Megerian, "I've got a lot more to go. We just started."
The reaction: The Trump campaign and prominent conservatives, like Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri, on Twitter on Friday hailed the Post's story as a damning bombshell.
Joe Biden using his office to benefit a Ukrainian oligarch after he said he didn’t. He is going to need to answer questions about this https://t.co/pBohWment0— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) October 14, 2020
When evaluating any information provided to anyone by Rudy Giuliani, just remember he’s been parading around with a Russian secret agent for the last year, taking everything he says at face value.— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) October 14, 2020
While I will intentionally not link to the New York Post, I want be clear that this story is eligible to be fact checked by Facebook's third-party fact checking partners. In the meantime, we are reducing its distribution on our platform.— Andy Stone (@andymstone) October 14, 2020
"This is a Big Tech information coup," tweeted Post opinion editor Sohrab Ahmari. “This is digital civil war.”