A tie vote on witnesses? Republican witnesses? A few Q+A.

If the Senate votes are a 50-50 split on witnesses,  Chief Justice Roberts could decide.  I agree with commentators who say he will simply rule that with neither party having a majority, the motion to call witnesses fails.  So it takes 4 Republicans to jump the fence.

Ok, who would testify for the Republicans? It’s a good question.  In a real courtroom trial, the defense does not have to call witnesses.   The defense can simply rest its case, saying the prosecution has failed to prove its case beyond “a reasonable doubt” or a “shadow of a doubt”  depending on the crime.

Calling House Manager Adam Schiff,  Hunter Biden or  Joe Biden would be a disaster for Republicans.   I will explain why:

Adam Schiff 

Adam Schiff will be asked about his comment that there was no contact between the whistle blower and his committee, when in fact there was contact.   He has already explained this many times,   When the whistle blower decided there was sufficient reason to reveal inappropriate demands on the Ukraine as a condition for military assistance, this individual did not know how to go about an official complaint.   A staff member on Schiff’s committee recommended to him to get a lawyer and the lawyer would explain to him the proper means of filing a complaint.  The complaint would not be immediately turned over to the House Intelligence Committee, but had to be first reviewed by the National Security Council,  to be deemed sufficiently urgent and important for the Committee to examine.

Despite Trump’s tweets that Schiff probably wrote the whistle blower’s complaint,  the bottom line is that the Intelligence Committee acted properly in telling the whistle blower to get a lawyer.

If Adam Schiff is asked to divulge the name of the whistle blower, he would simply respond that the identity of the whistle blower is protected by law.

Hunter Biden + Joe Biden

Democrats would immediately object to calling Hunter Biden on the basis of foundation and relevance.   There has been zero evidence introduced to support the  allegation that Hunter Biden did anything wrong by serving on the board of Burisma.  However, Trump has pushed a false allegation that Joe Biden was involved in a scheme to benefit his son  as follows: Vice President Joe Biden pressured Ukraine to dismiss their General Prosecutor Shokin  so that the corrupt practices of Burisma could continue, hence his son could continue his lucrative position on the Board.

Just the opposite is true and the facts are all on Joe Biden’s side.  The firing of Shokin made it more likely that Burisma’s investigation would continue.    It is part of the testimony record of witnesses that the Shokin was not reforming the corrupt system in the Ukraine and numerous organizations including the International Monetary Fund  and the leaders of the  European Union wanted him out.  Any claims of wrongdoing  by Joe Biden are really limited to a barrage of tweets and Fox News commentary.

Calling Hunter Biden to testify would backfire.    No one is sure of the exact payments he received, and any revelation would be immediately objected to as irrelevant.    It is very common for a corporation to bring in individuals from outside the company  who can help the company establish its image and reputation.  President Ford was on dozens of corporate boards, making a lot of money in director fees.  He did nothing wrong and neither did Hunter Biden.

Republicans, I think, like more of talking about Hunter Biden than actually calling him to testify.   His past drug problems and infidelity are irrelevant to the Senate hearing, but great for the tabloids.

So,  I’ve yet to hear of a witness that Republicans seriously could call to testify.

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

Hunter Biden

Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani and likely Mike Mulvaney were out to smear Joe Biden, because he looked like the most likely Democratic candidate in 2020.  In the process, they would have to smear his son, Hunter Biden.  Trump didn’t care about the truth.    There were enough bits of truth  where falsehoods could be inserted.  Giuliani and Mulvaney just did what the President wanted.   There was a lot of collateral damage, including the firing of Ambassador Yovanovitch.     Burisma was code for the Bidens.

The Republicans wanted Hunter Biden to testify at the impeachment inquiry in order to create a false narrative  that the good mayor of NYC, Rudy  Giuliani  was so concerned about the Ukrainian company, Burisma, and prior connection with Hunter Biden, that he flew to Ukraine to launch his own investigation and uncover the truth.  The truth of the matter is   Giuliani went to Ukraine for two reasons – as Trump’s personal lawyer to help Trump win 2020 by creating a scandal built on lies , and to make himself rich (really richer) dealing with corrupt politicians in Ukraine and two con artists posing as investors with a made up company, called Global Energy Partners.

What was revealed in the inquiry, was that after the Ukrainian revolution, corruption was widespread, and the US and other countries grew concern that at the very top of government, Chief Prosecutor Viktor Shokin, would do nothing  to investigate corruption including the natural gas company, Burisma.  Typically, when faced with illegal actions, corrupt officials seen a chance to get a piece of the action.    I have included the biographical summaries of Viktor Shokin and others.  .

Here’s the complete story as summarized by Wikipedia:

In the aftermath of the 2014 Ukrainian revolution, Mykola Zlochevsky faced a money laundering investigation,[27][28] and his company Burisma Holdings, the largest natural gas producer in Ukraine,[8] assembled a “high-profile international board” in response.[29][28] Biden, then an attorney with Boies Schiller Flexner, was hired to help Burisma with corporate governance best practices, and a consulting firm in which Biden is a partner was also retained by Burisma.[30][31][32] Chris Heinz, John Kerry’s stepson, opposed his partners Devon Archer and Hunter Biden joining the board in 2014 due to the reputational risk.[28] Among those who joined the board of directors in April 2014 were Biden, Archer and former Polish president Aleksander Kwaśniewski.[33] Biden served on the board of Burisma until his term expired in April 2019,[34] receiving compensation of up to $50,000 per month in some months.[15][35][36] Because Vice President Biden played a major role in U.S. policy towards Ukraine, some Ukrainian anti-corruption advocates[37][38] and Obama administration officials expressed concern that Hunter Biden’s having joined the board could create the appearance of a conflict of interest and undermine Vice President Biden’s anti-corruption work in Ukraine.[8][28] While serving as vice president, Joe Biden joined other Western leaders in encouraging the government of Ukraine to fire the country’s top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin,[39][40] who was widely criticized for blocking corruption investigations.[41][42] The Ukrainian parliament voted to remove Shokin in March 2016.[43][44]

In 2019, President Donald Trump and his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, claimed that Vice President Biden had actually sought the dismissal of Shokin in order to protect his son and Burisma Holdings,[45][37] however, there is no evidence that this was what happened.[39][46] There has also been no evidence produced of wrongdoing done by Hunter Biden in Ukraine.[47] The Ukrainian anti-corruption investigation agency stated in September 2019 that the current investigation of Burisma was restricted solely to investigating the period of 2010 to 2012, before Hunter Biden joined Burisma in 2014.[48] Shokin in May 2019 claimed that he was fired because he had been actively investigating Burisma,[49] but U.S. and Ukrainian officials have stated that the investigation into Burisma was dormant at the time of Shokin’s dismissal.[28][49][50] Ukrainian and United States State Department sources have maintained that Shokin was fired for failing to address corruption, including within his office.[46][38][51]

As usual,  Wikipedia backs up it facts with several references, which can be found online.

The Board of Directors do not run a company.  It is very commonplace to select outside directors to help establish the legitimacy of a company. A former Burisma board member, ex Polish President Kwasniewsky,  has stated that Hunter Biden was on the board of Burisma because of his name.   See link below.  I usually don’t quote from Fox News, but this article comes from a first hand account of Hunter Biden, and directly contradicts the Trump- Giuliani narrative.

It seems Hunter Biden and Joe Biden were part of the solution, not the problem with Burisma.   According to Wikipedia:  “Ukrainian prosecutor general Yuriy Lutsenko said in May 2019 that Hunter Biden had not violated Ukrainian law. After Lutsenko was replaced by Ruslan Ryaboshapka as prosecutor general, Lutsenko and Ryaboshapka said in September and October 2019 respectively that they had seen no evidence of wrongdoing by Hunter Biden.[39][58][59]”  According to the testimony at the impeachment inquiry,  the IMF and others in the European community were glad when VP Biden demanded the firing of Viktor Shokin, so anti-corruption prosecutions could go forward.

The Republicans would love to put Hunter Biden  in the spotlight because he has abused drugs and alcohol in the past by his own admission.   He was divorced in 2016, and Republicans would have a field day with his ex-wife’s accusations, as reported in Refinery29:  “In 2016, Hunter’s wife Kathleen Biden filed for divorce, stating in the motion filed a year later that Hunter “created financial concerns for the family by spending extravagantly on his own interests (including drugs, alcohol, prostitutes, strip clubs, and gifts for women with whom he has sexual relations), while leaving the family with no funds to pay legitimate bills.” After the divorce, he went on to date his late brother’s widowed wife, Hallie Biden.”   Pretty juicy stuff.  Republicans would also love to focus on Hunter Biden’s dismissal from the Naval Reserves because he tested positive for cocaine.

So:  Republican talking points would be a long one,  really coming down hard  on Hunter Biden’s past personal problems.   Somehow, this made the dirt collecting mission of Giuliani permissible.   Trump continues his attacks on Hunter Biden.

None of these problems seem to affect his legal and business consulting career.  Today, he is re-married and by all appearances, is doing well.  See links below.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

Wikipedia: Hunter Biden 

Wikipedia:  Viktor Shokin

Refinery29:  Hunter Biden Opens Up About Struggles With Addiction

Why Giuliani Singled Out 2 Ukrainian Oligarchs to Help Look for Dirt

AP/ Fox Business News:  Hunter Biden hired because of his name: Burisma board member

Nice to see Fox Business News doing some news reporting!

USA Today: Trump’s conspiracy theories thrive in Ukraine, where a young democracy battles corruption and distrust

And there’s tons more:   Wikipedia: Dmytro Firtas    

(Conspiracy advocates, take a look at the names,  William Barr,  Victoria Toensing, Joseph diGenova,  Rudy Giuliani,  Dmytro Firtas accused of bribery).  Money doesn’t talk, it swears (Bob Dylan).

Wikipedia:  ” As vice president, Joe Biden had urged the Ukrainian government to eliminate middlemen such as Firtash from the country’s natural gas industry, and to reduce the country’s reliance on imports of Russian natural gas. Firtash denied involvement in collecting or financing damaging information on the Bidens.[86]”

The bigger scandal is how Putin worked with the corrupt oligarchs in Ukraine.