Politics

Biden retained records related to Ukraine, China; Comer demands ‘unfettered access’ amid impeachment inquiry

President Biden retained documents marked ‘secret’ and ‘confidential’ related to Ukraine and China, according to Special Counsel Robert Hur’s report.

Hur, who released his report to the public on Thursday after months of investigating, did not recommend criminal charges against Biden for mishandling and retaining classified documents — and stated that he wouldn’t bring charges against Biden even if he were not in the Oval Office. 

Those records included classified documents about military and foreign policy in Afghanistan and other countries, among other records related to national security and foreign policy, which Hur said implicated ‘sensitive intelligence sources and methods.’ 

But Biden also kept classified documents related to Ukraine and China.

House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., who is currently co-leading the impeachment inquiry against Biden, had asked Hur last year if any of the classified records Biden held were related to the countries that his family conducted business with.

Comer is now demanding ‘unfettered access to these documents to determine if President Biden’s retention of sensitive materials were used to help the Bidens’ influence peddling.’

Hunter Biden, joined the board of Ukrainian natural gas firm Burisma Holdings in June 2014. Hunter Biden also had joint business ventures with Chinese energy firms.

With regard to the Ukraine documents, according to the special counsel report, Biden kept a September 2014 memo with the subject line ‘U.S. Energy Assistance to Ukraine.’ That memo was marked as confidential.

Biden, at the time, did run U.S.-Ukraine policy.

The report also states that the FBI located a green file folder Biden kept, labeled ‘Ukraine 2/19/15.’ That folder was inside an ‘unlabeled green hanging folder.’ Also, inside that folder was a red file folder labeled ‘VP Personal.’

In the ‘VP Personal’ file folder was a telephone call sheet from Dec. 12, 2015, and talking points for a call with Ukrainian Prime Minister Yatsenyuk. There is a handwritten note attached addressed to Biden’s executive assistant that states: ‘Get copy of this conversation from Sit Rm for my Records please.’ The note is signed ‘Joe.’ That document was marked as ‘Secret.’

Attached to that document was another, dated Dec. 11, 2015. The report describes that document as ‘a transcript documenting the substance of a Dec. 11, 2015 call between Mr. Biden and Ukrainian Prime Minister Yatsenyuk.’ The document is marked ‘CONFIDENTIAL’ and ‘EYES ONLY DO NOT COPY.’

The special counsel’s report analyzes the documents, saying there ‘is reasonable doubt that Mr. Biden willfully retained’ the documents.

‘Mr. Biden’s handwritten note does not request that executive assistant save the classified call sheet containing talking points for the call (A9) in his records; rather, he only requested the transcript of the phone call itself,’ the report states. ‘And no jury could reasonably find that the substance of the call between Mr. Biden and the Ukrainian Prime Minister was national defense information.’

The report states that Biden and the Ukrainian prime minister ‘exchanged pleasantries and the Prime Minister heaped praise upon Mr. Biden for his December 9, 2015 speech to Ukraine’s parliament.’

‘They did not engage in a substantive policy discussion. There may be technical or nuanced reasons to maintain the classification of the call, but no reasonable jury could conclude the call or its contents were national defense information after the end of Obama administration, or that by asking for a transcript of the call Biden intended to retain national defense information,’ the report states.

Biden, on Dec. 9, 2015, gave a speech in which he discussed corruption in Ukraine.

‘And it’s not enough to set up a new anti-corruption bureau and establish a special prosecutor fighting corruption,’ Biden said in the speech. ‘The Office of the General Prosecutor desperately needs reform.’

In that speech, Biden also said Ukraine’s ‘energy sector needs to be competitive, ruled by market principles — not sweetheart deals.’

‘It’s not enough to push through laws to increase transparency with regard to official sources of income,’ he said. ‘Senior elected officials have to remove all conflicts between their business interest and their government responsibilities.  Every other democracy in the world — that system pertains.’

At the time, Burisma Holdings was under investigation by Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin. Several months later, in March 2016, Biden successfully pressured Ukraine to remove Shokin. At the time Shokin was investigating Burisma Holdings, Hunter had a highly lucrative role on the board receiving tens of thousands of dollars per month.

Biden, at the time, threatened to withhold $1 billion of critical U.S. aid if Shokin was not fired.

‘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,’’ Biden recalled telling then-Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. Biden recollected the conversation during an event for the Council on Foreign Relations in 2018.

‘Well, son of a b—-, he got fired,’ Biden said during the event. ‘And they put in place someone who was solid at the time.’

Biden allies maintain the then-vice president pushed for Shokin’s firing due to concerns the Ukrainian prosecutor went easy on corruption, and say that his firing, at the time, was the policy position of the U.S. and international community.

But Comer blasted the discovery of this information as ‘concerning’ and questioned the timeline.

‘It’s no secret Hunter Biden made millions by sitting on the board of Burisma when Joe Biden was Vice President and that Burisma benefited from the firing of Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin,’ Comer told Fox News Digital, saying it is ‘concerning Joe Biden retained classified materials related to Ukraine around the same timeframe he called for the firing of Viktor Shokin.’

‘The Justice Department must provide Congress with unfettered access to these documents to determine if President Biden’s retention of sensitive materials were used to help the Bidens’ influencing peddling schemes,’ Comer said.

Meanwhile, with regard to China, Biden retained a memo with the subject, ‘Engagement with China in the Second Term.’ That document ‘suggests activities Vice President Biden could do in his second term to ‘build on my work last year by engaging with China’s leaders in the second term.’  The document was marked as confidential.

Comer’s investigation and the House impeachment inquiry is probing Hunter Biden and James Biden’s Chinese business dealings, and whether Joe Biden was involved or had knowledge of the ventures.

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