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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
John Bowden

Ex-Ukraine president derides ‘crazy’ figure at centre of GOP’s Biden allegations in Fox News interview

AFP via Getty Images

Ukraine’s former president chuckled and derided a former prosecutor general who claimed that he was fired at the behest of Joe Biden during an interview on Monday morning.

Petro Poroshenko called Viktor Shokin a “completely crazy person” as he denied both the allegation that he had fired Mr Shokin at the behest of the US and the assertion that Ukraine had meddled in any way in US elections, a frequent claim raised by the far right.

The moment played out on Fox News in front of Brian Kilmeade, whose only response was to respond quizzically, “I don’t get it, he’s not your friend?” after the eye-opening tirade by the former president against one of the Biden investigation’s supposed star witnesses.

Republicans in the House, led by the Oversight committee, have launched a formal investigation (and now, an impeachment inquiry) into the president and his son, alleging that Mr Biden was raking in millions as a result of his son’s supposedly illegal business interests abroad.

That has yet to be proven, and on numerous occasions the GOP’s assertions have been thrown into doubt by their own witnesses or others who rejected their credibility.

No conclusive proof has emerged yet to show that Mr Biden knew the specifics or had any financial interest in his son’s business dealings. Another Republican claim, that Hunter Biden promised foreign interests and others access to his father in exchange for money, gifts or anything else, has also not been proven conclusively.

Still, the House GOP caucus has expanded their Oversight probe into a full-fledged impeachment inquiry. Mr McCarthy, bowing to a far-right contingent in his party, made the decision to do so without a House floor vote after Republicans apparently realised they did not have the votes to do so; he had previously vowed not to do that.

Mr Shokin was fired in 2016 when Mr Biden was still vice-president and had responsibility for America’s Ukraine policy. Mr Biden said publicly that he had conditioned $1bn of US aid on Shokin being fired, a policy backed by European allies on the grounds that the prosecutor was failing to carry out investigations into corrupt companies. Figures on the right in the US seized on the remarks to claim that Mr Shokin was investigating Burisma, an energy company that Hunter Biden had served on the board of, and that the US vice-president was secretly seeking to protect his son. However, it seems there was no current investigation into Burisma and that Mr Shokin’s sacking was consistent with Western policy on fighting corruption in the former Soviet state.

Any impeachment of Joe Biden is largely a fruitless endeavour, unless something significantly changes in the course of the GOP’s investigation. As it stands, it’s unclear (perhaps unlikely) that an article or articles of impeachment would even pass the Republican-controlled House, let alone a Democrat-controlled Senate where it would need the vote of 2/3 of the chamber’s members for Mr Biden’s removal.

While Republicans close to Donald Trump insist otherwise, a growing number of members in their own party including Ken Buck of the Freedom Caucus have cast doubt on the strength of the evidence against Mr Biden and his son.

Hunter Biden remains charged separately with criminal counts stemming from unpaid taxes and an allegation that he lied during the process of purchasing a firearm.

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