Although former Vice President Joe Biden just scored a big win in the South Carolina primary, a recent announcement may put his political aspirations in serious jeopardy.
According to the Washington Examiner, Ukrainian officials are now investigating Biden’s involvement in the 2016 firing of one of the country’s top prosecutors.
Suspicions of corruption
By now, the facts regarding Biden and his son Hunter’s dealings in Ukraine are widely known.
According to Fox News, Hunter Biden, while his father was vice president, obtained an extremely lucrative position on the board of a Ukrainian natural gas firm called Burisma Holdings, despite having no experience either in the energy sector or in Ukraine. It is well-established that this indeed happened, although it is unclear exactly how or why.
It is also known that during Hunter Biden’s stint with Burisma, the company was facing allegations of corruption, and Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin had been looking into those claims before ultimately being ousted from his role, Fox reported. The underlying reason for his dismissal is the subject of the recently-initiated inquiry.
It is believed that Joe Biden played a role in Shokin’s dismissal, and the then-vice president virtually admitted as such, boasting during a 2018 Council on Foreign Relations event: “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 b****. He got fired.”
The money Biden was threatening to withhold amounted to $1 billion in American loan guarantees. In the end, Shokin was indeed fired, Burisma and Hunter Biden escaped further investigatory scrutiny, and Ukraine received its expected aid.
Joe Biden’s role in Shokin’s ouster is thought to be the primary focus of the new probe by Ukrainian officials. The investigation is being opened by the State Bureau of Investigations as the result of a court order issued in an appeal filed by Shokin and his lawyer, Oleksandr Teleshetsky.
“They need to investigate this,” Teleshetsky told The Washington Post. “They have no other alternative. They are required to do this by the decision of the court. If they don’t, then they violate a whole string of procedural norms.”
Although the State Bureau of Investigations has confirmed that such an investigation is taking place, they have not named Joe Biden specifically as its focus.
Bad timing for Biden
This, of course, couldn’t have come at a worse time for Joe Biden. After struggling mightily in the initial Democratic primaries and caucuses, the former VP finally managed to score a big win in South Carolina on Saturday, which has vaulted him into second place in the overall delegate count behind Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT), according to CNBC.
Only time will tell what kind of impact Ukraine’s investigation and its eventual findings will have on Joe’s electoral prospects going forward.