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Friday, November 08, 2019

Grassley and Johnson have their own conspiracy channel

by digby

Once again, if you are thinking of valorizing Chuck Grassley as some kind of nonpartisan heroic defender of the rule 'o law because he's defending the whistleblower, think again. He and Senator Ron Johnson are still pimping conspiracy theories:

Republican Senators Chuck Grassley, Iowa, and Ron Johnson, Wisc., want some answers on how much, if any, influence Hunter Biden’s job at a Ukrainian energy company had on decisions made by the State Department under President Barack Obama.

In a letter dated Wednesday, the two senators asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for a wide range of records to “better understand what actions, if any, the Obama administration took to ensure that policy decisions relating to Ukraine and Burisma were not improperly influenced by the employment and financial interests of family members.”

“In April 2014, Vice President Biden reportedly became the ‘public face of the administration’s handling of Ukraine,'” the lawmakers write. “Around the same time, the Vice President’s son, Hunter Biden, and his business associate, Devon Archer, both began serving on the board of Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian energy company.”
In their Wednesday letter, Grassley and Johnson refer to a recent story from reporter John Solomon saying that, during the 2016 election cycle, a U.S. representative for Burisma — Karen Tramontano — tried to set up a meeting with Undersecretary of State Catherine A. Novelli to discuss ending the corruption allegations against the company.

“Although it is not clear if Under Secretary Novelli met with Karen Tramontano on March 1, 2016, as planned, later that month Tramontano and other members of Burisma’s legal team reportedly met with Ukrainian prosecutors,” the letter notes, referring to another report from Solomon from September. “According to what appears to be contemporaneous notes by one of those Ukrainian prosecutors, during that meeting, Burisma’s legal team apologized about what they alleged to be ‘false information’ promoted by the U.S. Government about the prosecutors’ handling of the investigation of Burisma.”

The two also note other documents that “show other meetings that Burisma board members Hunter Biden and Devon Archer scheduled with high-ranking State Department officials” in 2015. The letter also points out that “just one day after Tramontano was scheduled to meet with Under Secretary Novelli about Burisma, Devon Archer was scheduled to meet with Secretary of State John Kerry.”

These people are exhausting. I hope everyone knows that if Biden does manage to win the presidency this will be flogged relentlessly by the Republicans.

And it's BS:

Why was Ukraine’s top prosecutor fired?

The allegation at the heart of the controversy is that while Mr. Biden was vice president, he pushed to have Ukraine’s top prosecutor removed for investigating a company connected to Mr. Biden’s son Hunter, the Ukrainian natural gas firm Burisma. Videos pushing this theory began appearing on Twitter in late September and early October and have been viewed tens of millions of times. Mr. Trump’s campaign has also asserted the claim in ads on Facebook.

Vice President Biden was overseeing American policy toward Ukraine at the time, and he did push for the removal of the country’s top prosecutor, who was seen as corrupt or ineffectual by the United States and Western European governments. But there is no evidence he did so to benefit Hunter Biden or the oligarch who owns Burisma, Mykola Zlochevsky.

In 2014, Hunter joined the board of Burisma, which was then mired in a corruption scandal. Authorities in Ukraine, Britain and the United States had opened investigations into the company’s operations. Mr. Zlochevsky had also been accused of marshaling government contracts to companies he owned and embezzling public money.

At the time of his board appointment, the younger Mr. Biden had just been discharged from the Navy Reserve for drug use. He had no apparent experience in Ukraine or natural gas. And while accepting the board position was legal, it reportedly raised some eyebrows in the Obama administration. The Burisma board position was lucrative: Mr. Biden received payments that reached up to $50,000 per month.

A year later, Viktor Shokin became Ukraine’s prosecutor general, a job similar to the attorney general in the United States. He vowed to keep investigating Burisma amid an international push to root out corruption in Ukraine.

But the investigation went dormant under Mr. Shokin. In the fall of 2015, Joe Biden joined the chorus of Western officials calling for Mr. Shokin’s ouster. The next March, Mr. Shokin was fired. A subsequent prosecutor cleared Mr. Zlochevsky.

As I said: an exhausting cascade of unadulterated bullshit. And it's not ever going to end unless Trump is defeated by someone other than Joe Biden. And even then --- they're still chanting "lock her up" at Trump rallies."

I think fascism often wins simply by wearing down the opposition.