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Tipsheet

Actually, It Was Joe Biden Who Bribed the Ukrainians to Fire a Prosecutor Looking Into His Son

AP Photo/David J. Phillip

Over the past four days, the media has been consumed with an allegation President Trump "bribed" or pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to look into Hunter Biden's business dealings inside the country. The claim comes from a whistleblower, who filed a complaint with the Inspector General and said he or she heard, but did not directly witness, President Trump pressuring a Ukrainian official.

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From Fox News:

The whistleblower who sparked a mounting controversy over President Trump’s July phone call with Ukraine’s president did not have “firsthand knowledge” of the conversation, a person familiar with the situation told Fox News -- even as the issue fuels impeachment calls from Democrats.

The source said that it is made clear in the complaint itself that the whistleblower did not have direct knowledge of the July phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

But it turns out, it was former Vice President Joe Biden who actually admitted to doing what President Trump is currently being accused of.

The New York Times wrote about it in May (bolding is mine): 

It was a foreign policy role Joseph R. Biden Jr. enthusiastically embraced during his vice presidency: browbeating Ukraine’s notoriously corrupt government to clean up its act. And one of his most memorable performances came on a trip to Kiev in March 2016, when he threatened to withhold $1 billion in United States loan guarantees if Ukraine’s leaders did not dismiss the country’s top prosecutor, who had been accused of turning a blind eye to corruption in his own office and among the political elite.

The pressure campaign worked. The prosecutor general, long a target of criticism from other Western nations and international lenders, was soon voted out by the Ukrainian Parliament.

Among those who had a stake in the outcome was Hunter Biden, Mr. Biden’s younger son, who at the time was on the board of an energy company owned by a Ukrainian oligarch who had been in the sights of the fired prosecutor general.

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During remarks to reporters Sunday before leaving for the United Nations General Assembly in New York City, Trump said he did discuss Joe Biden during a recent call with Ukrainian President Zelensky and cautioned about reading too far into what was said.

"The conversation I had was largely congratulatory, with largely corruption, all of the corruption taking place and largely the fact that we don't want our people like Vice President Biden and his son creating to the corruption already in the Ukraine and Ukraine has got a lot of problems. The new president is saying that he's going to be able to rid the country of corruption, and I said that would be a great thing, we had a great conversation," Trump said. "We had a conversation on many things, in fact, I believe Ukraine put out a statement yesterday saying that we covered many different topics and it was a warm and friendly conversation. I backed Ukraine from the beginning, but I'm very upset that other countries aren't doing the same. Germany should be spending much more, France, all of the European Union should be spending money. Why are we spending money and they're not? Or at least they're spending very little by comparison, so I'm not happy about that."

The White House is now reportedly weighing the option of releasing the transcript of the call to clear the air.

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"I may do it because it was a very interesting call," Trump said Monday afternoon about the potential release.

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