(CNSNews.com) – In an exclusive report on Thursday, The Daily Mail noted that then-Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Ukraine on April 21, 2014 to push for increased natural gas production, among other things.
The timing of Biden’s 2014 trip also came to the attention of Senate investigators, who remarked that Biden’s 2014 trip to Ukraine came five days after Vice President Biden met with his son’s business partner, Devon Archer, at the White House.
The day after Biden arrived in Ukraine, on April 22, Archer joined the board of the Ukrainian energy company Burisma — a natural gas producer, the Senate report said.
And three weeks later, on May 12, Hunter Biden joined the Burisma board. (The Daily Mail says Hunter joined Burisma three days before Biden arrived in Ukraine, but the Burisma press release announcing Hunter’s employment is dated May 12, 2014.)
According to The Daily Mail report, a senior official — identified by the newspaper as Jake Sullivan — “briefed reporters on the plane that the VP was pushing “medium- and long-term strategies to boost conventional gas production, and also to begin to take advantage of the unconventional gas reserves that are in Ukraine.”
Sure enough, here is a link to that senior official’s press briefing, which happened during Biden’s April 21 flight to Kyiv:
At the time, Sullivan was serving as Vice President Biden’s national security advisor. (He currently serves as President Biden’s national security advisor.)
“We’re about an hour and a half out of Kyiv, and I just wanted to lay out for you what the Vice President will be doing while he’s here, and then speak to some of the themes from the trip and then answer some of your questions,” the senior administration official (Sullivan) said, according to the White House transcript of his remarks.
Sullivan mentioned that Biden would be meeting with the U.S. embassy team; and also with various Ukraine officials and civil society representatives to discuss “the full range of issues confronting Ukraine.”
“He will speak about both the short- and long-term energy situation in Ukraine,” the official said. “As he arrives, there will also be a team on the ground from the United States, a team of experts working on the reverse flow issue.” (Reverse gas flows from European countries to Ukraine would allow Ukraine to avoid punitive Russian price hikes.)
“That team will be in Kyiv and then will travel also to Slovakia, Poland and Hungary to help address the issue of reversing the flow of natural gas to provide Ukraine with some measure of short-term supply of natural gas as they look to replenish their stores,” Sullivan said.
“But also he’ll discuss with them medium- and long-term strategies to boost conventional gas production, and also to begin to take advantage of the unconventional gas reserves that are in Ukraine.”
The official (Sullivan) also told reporters that Biden would be discussing “a package of economic and energy and governance assistance.”
“What kind of energy assistance can the U.S. provide broadly?” a reporter asked.
The official again mentioned the reverse flow issue, intended to shield Ukraine from Russian price hikes.
“The second is technical assistance to help them be able to boost production in their conventional gas fields, where presently they aren’t getting the maximum of what they could be.
“Third, technical assistance relating to a regulatory framework, and also the technology that would be required to extract unconventional gas resources; and Ukraine has meaningful reserves of unconventional gas according to the latest estimates.
“And then, finally, various forms of technical assistance relating to energy efficiency, where experts have shown that the Ukraine could substantially lessen its energy dependence and deny any country the capacity to use energy as a political weapon through a combination of all those things, but in no small part through greater energy efficiency and use of its existing energy.”
Another reporter asked Sullivan, “Could you just say how this trip came about? Obviously the Vice President has a long history of diplomatic relations with Ukraine. Was this something that was his initiative? Did the President ask him to go because of those relationships? Or how did that come?”
“The reason I’m pausing here is, it’s one of those — it’s one of those conversations where it’s a little hard to say whether the President asked him or he said, I want to go. It grew out of a conversation that the two of them had, and both of them agreed that it was important for the U.S. to send a high-level signal of support for all of the lines of effort that this government is undertaking.
“Obviously, the most pressing and acute right now is the security situation. But these other lines of effort are also existential for Ukraine. Its politics, its economics and its energy also matter acutely, and so they felt it was important to have somebody with deep ties to and a deep passion for the U.S.-Ukraine relationship to come and send that message both privately and publicly.
“And there’s no better messenger for that than the Vice President. So that’s what brings us here…”
On Thursday, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), a member of the Homeland Security Committee, told “Mornings With Maria” that he’s not at all surprised to be reminded by “The Daily Mail” of what transpired in 2014 — Hunter Biden getting a job at Burisma right after his father arrived in Ukraine to urge increased natural gas production.
“It really shouldn’t surprise anybody,” Johnson said.
“It certainly shouldn’t surprise members of the mainstream media who have been covering up for Joe Biden for literally decades. This is all part and parcel what the Biden family does. They trade off the family name; there’s all kinds of conflict of interest.
“President Biden is a now compromised president. We may not know all of the financial entanglements he has, but the Chinese intelligence does, Russian intelligence, probably Iranian intelligence, and they’re probably wielding that over him. It’s a very sad state of affairs.”
Biden forces ouster of Ukraine prosecutor investigating Burisma
Years later, in January 2018, Joe Biden recalled another one of his trips to Ukraine, this one in 2016, amid concerns about government corruption in that country:
“I’ll give you one concrete example,” Biden told the Council on Foreign Relations in 2018:
“And I was supposed to announce that there was another billion-dollar loan guarantee. And I had gotten a commitment from Poroshenko and from Yatsenyuk that they would take action against the state prosecutor. And they didn’t.
So…they were walking out to a press conference. I said, nah, I’m not going to — or, we’re not going to give you the billion dollars. They said, you have no authority. You’re not the president. The president said — I said, call him.
“I said, I’m telling you, you’re not getting the billion dollars. I said, you’re not getting the billion. I’m going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money. Well, son of a bitch. (Laughter.) He got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time.”
“In 2016, Ukraine’s top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, had an active and ongoing investigation into Burisma and its owner, Mykola Zlochevsky. At the time, (Devon) Archer and Hunter Biden continued to serve on Burisma’s board of directors.
“According to news reports, then-Vice President Biden ‘threatened to withhold $1 billion in United States loan guarantees if Ukraine’s leaders did not dismiss [Shokin].’ After that threat, Ukraine’s Parliament fired Shokin.”
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