The State Department and several US government officials were satisfied with Ukraine’s former top prosecutor’s anti-corruption efforts in the weeks leading up to a pressure campaign spearheaded by then-Vice President Joe Biden to force his ouster, documents show.
The government memos, obtained by Just the News and released on Monday, indicate a conflict with the prevailing narrative put forward by Democrats arguing that Biden’s threat to withhold $1 billion in US loan guarantees for Ukraine in order to remove former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin from office was consistent with US policy goals.
“Ukraine has made sufficient progress on its reform agenda to justify a third guarantee,” an Oct. 1, 2015, missive from the Interagency Policy Committee, which advised former President Barack Obama’s White House on anti-corruption reform efforts in Ukraine, reads.
In another document, a letter sent to Shokin by Victoria Nuland, the State Department’s top point person on Ukraine at the time, the US official praises the Ukrainian prosecutor for his work combating corruption in the former Soviet state.
“We have been impressed with the ambitious reform and anti-corruption agenda of your government,” Nuland writes in the June 2015 letter.
“The challenges you face are difficult, but not insurmountable. You have an historic opportunity to address the injustices of the past by vigorously investigating and prosecuting corruption cases and recovering assets stolen from the Ukrainian people. The ongoing reform of your office, law enforcement, and the judiciary will enable you to investigate and prosecute corruption and other crimes in an effective, fair, and transparent manner.”
The glowing reviews of Shokin’s job performance by US officials continued into the fall of 2015.
“All, thank you for a productive meeting yesterday. Please find a SOC below. It was agreed: The IPC concluded that (1) Ukraine has made sufficient progress on its reform agenda to justify a third guarantee and (2) Ukraine has an economic need for the guarantee and it is in our strategic interest to provide One,” former White House Director of International Economic Affairs Christina Segal-Knowles wrote to government officials advising the Interagency Policy Committee in September 2015.
“As such, the IPC recommends moving forward with a third loan guarantee for Ukraine in the near‐term, noting State/F’s preference to issue the guarantee as late as possible to allow more clarity on the budget context and Embassy Kyiv and Treasury’s assessment that Ukraine needs the guarantee by end‐2015,” she added.
By November 2015, there were still no suggestions in government memos that Shokin needed to be sacked or that the prosecutor was failing to go after corruption in Ukraine.
US officials continued to make the case for Ukraine to receive the loan guarantee and even invited senior leadership of Shokin’s office to join them in Washington for meetings in January 2016.
During their visit, reports emerged in Ukraine that US aid to the country would be tied to Shokin’s ouster, which stunned US officials on the IPC task force.
“Yikes. I don’t recall this coming up in our meeting with them on Tuesday, although we did discuss the fact that the [Prosecutor General’s Office Inspector General] condition has not yet been met,” Eric Ciarmella, a CIA official who would later blow the whistle on Donald Trump’s infamous call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky demanding an investigation into the Biden family, wrote in a memo.
Ciarmella would add, “We were super impressed with the group, and we had a two-hour discussion of their priorities and the obstacles they face,” referring to the DC meeting with Shokin’s aides.
Shokin was booted from his post in April 2016, amid accusations that his office was blocking major cases against allies and influential figures.
Biden bragged to the Council on Foreign Relations in 2018 that on a December 2015 trip to Kyiv, “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 bitch. He got fired.”
First son Hunter Biden’s former business partner Devon Archer told former Fox News host Tucker Carlson earlier this month that Shokin was “a threat” to natural gas company Burisma Holdings, which paid Hunter Biden up to $1 million per year to sit on its board of directors.
“He was a threat. He ended up seizing assets of [Burisma owner] Nikolai [Zlochevsky] — a house, some cars, a couple properties. And Nikolai actually never went back to Ukraine after Shokin seized all of his assets,” Archer said, while noting that “It certainly wasn’t made clear to us at the board level… that [getting Shokin fired] was a favor to be done.”