November 9, 2023 / by emptywheel


Donald Trump’s DOJ Shut Down a Burisma Corruption Investigation Opened while Joe Biden Was VP

Right in the middle of an impeachment for extorting Volodymyr Zelenskyy to dig up dirt on the Bidens and Burisma, Bill Barr’s DOJ shut down a corruption investigation into Burisma’s Mykola Zlochevsky.

Then, days later, Barr set up a process that would insert an allegation that Zlochevsky bribed Joe Biden into the ongoing investigation of Hunter Biden.

That is — by far — the most scandalous allegation that has come out of the Jamie Comer and Jim Jordan-led effort to gin up an impeachment of Joe Biden. Bill Barr’s DOJ shut down an investigation into Zlochevsky’s corruption, and then mainlined an allegation of corruption involving Zlochevsky into the investigation of Joe Biden’s son.

To be fair, the claim that Bill Barr’s DOJ shut down a corruption investigation of Zlochevsky didn’t come from Comer or Jordan. It came from Chuck Grassley.

In a letter Grassley sent Merrick Garland on October 23, he described what he knew about the genesis of an FD-1023 he and Comer released during the summer. He described that the 2017 informant report that included a mention of Hunter Biden and led Scott Brady to reinterview that informant in June 2020 came from a Kleptocracy investigation — a bribery investigation — into Mykola Zlochevsky which “was opened in January 2016 by a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act FBI squad based out of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.”

While Joe Biden was Vice President and his son was on the board of Burisma, according to Chuck Grassley, DOJ opened a corruption investigation into Burisma’s owner.

That corruption investigation into Mykola Zlochevsky was shut down — again, per Chuck Grassley — around five months after Donald Trump tried to extort the President of Ukraine for dirt on the Bidens and Burisma and just two months after Rudy Giuliani planned to fly to Vienna to get dirt on Hunter Biden from Dmitry Firtash and a Burisma executive. Grassley described that it was shut down in the very same month, December 2019, the House voted to impeach Donald Trump for soliciting dirt on the Bidens and Burisma, the same month that IRS and FBI obtained a laptop purported to be owned by Hunter Biden — followed, a day later, by Barr’s aides telling him they were sending him a laptop.

“[I]n December 2019, the FBI Washington Field Office closed a “205B” Kleptocracy case, 205B[redacted] Serial 7, into Mykola Zlochevsky, owner of Burisma,” Chuck Grassley revealed.

Weeks or days after that investigation was (again, per Grassley) shut down, on January 3, 2020, Bill Barr set up a process by which dirt on Hunter Biden — in part, dirt that Rudy Giuliani obtained from a known Russian agent, Andrii Derkach, and possibly even dirt that Rudy obtained directly from Burisma, dirt that was once pitched to include a laptop from Hunter Biden — could be shared with the ongoing investigation of Hunter  Biden.

On January 3, 2020, Seth DuCharme “discreetly” tasked the US Attorney for Pittsburgh, Scott Brady, to accept the information from Rudy. But Brady did more than that. He did a search on Hunter Biden and Burisma — or maybe it was Zlochevsky and Burisma, he claimed not to remember in his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee — which led his team to discover the 2017 informant report. That’s the process that led to the re-interview of an informant used in 2017 in that Zlochevsky investigation, which led to the report that in 2019 that Zlochevsky claimed to have made payments to Joe Biden that were so well hidden it would take ten years to find. Unbelievably, FBI failed to write down the date when Zlochevsky made that claim, even though Scott Brady testified his team learned the precise details surrounding the informant’s travel to London where he had the conversation; it had to have happened relatively late in 2019, probably during the impeachment investigation.

As Lev Parnas and anyone else who knows these details remotely well will tell you, that claim from Zlochevsky was a new claim. When Rudy sent questions to Zlochevsky during the spring of that year, Zlochevsky said that Hunter Biden had never lobbied for Burisma.

At a meeting of the BLT Team, Giuliani and Solomon came up with a series of 12-14 questions about the Bidens that we would propose to Zlochevsky. Eventually, we managed to get Zlochevsky’s answers back. But his answers gave us nothing – because there was nothing. On reading Zlochevsky’s reply, Giuliani turned red and yelled, “What is this shit? This is bullshit. Make sure nobody sees this. Bury this.”

I will remind you that Zlochevsky’s answers are in the report that the House Oversight Committee published. In this document, he stated that Hunter Biden was never asked or assigned to speak with anybody in the U.S. on behalf of Burisma, that there were no political or lobbying efforts on behalf of Burisma, that nobody from the company had ever spoken to Joe Biden, and that Hunter Biden was essentially innocent of what people had been implying. His letter debunked all the conspiracy theories.

The truth is Burisma tried to compromise Joe Biden, with Vadym Pozharskyi making much, for example, of a 2015 World Food Program dinner to which Biden dropped in to meet someone else. And a lobbying campaign by Blue Star Strategies set up through Devon Archer and run by Eric Schwerin did push Ukraine to halt its investigation into Zlochevsky. It did set up two meetings for Zlochevsky’s attorney in the United States. Here’s how BSS described that effort in a filing submitted retroactively in 2022.

Registrant was asked in 2016 to help schedule meetings with U.S. Government officials so counsel for Mr. Zlochevsky could present an explanation of certain adverse proceedings in the U.K. and Ukraine involving Mr. Zlochevsky. Registrant scheduled 2 meetings, and a representative of registrant accompanied counsel for Mr. Zlochevsky to the meetings. Registrant did not have a written agreement or letter creating any engagement on behalf of Mr. Zlochevsky, and no compensation for Blue Star Strategies’ assistance was provided by Mr. Zlochevsky.

In an October 2016 email not involving Hunter Biden (who had a role in setting up the relationship with BSS, but not once they were brought in), BSS noted — and took credit for — Ukraine halting the investigation into Zlochevsky.

According to Chuck Grassley, by that point, DOJ under Obama had opened its own investigation into Zlochevsky.

In spring 2019, Zlochevsky said he had no dirt on Joe Biden but — again according to Lev Parnas — he said he could get dirt, possibly in the form of a laptop, if Rudy could do something to “curry favor” at DOJ. And then, in the same month that DOJ obtained a Hunter Biden laptop, DOJ shut down the investigation into Zlochevsky. And around the same time, Zlochevsky randomly offered up to an FBI informant, for the first time, that he had bribed Joe Biden.

Here’s the thing that Chuck Grassley doesn’t understand. It makes no sense to shut down a corruption investigation into the head of Burisma, then interview an informant about what he knows of corruption allegations involving the head of Burisma. (Remember, at the time, the US Attorney for EDNY served as a gatekeeper for any investigations pertaining to Ukrainian corruption, so to reopen that investigation, DC would have had to get EDNY’s approval.) If you care about corruption allegations, you pursue both sides of that, the guy alleged to be making the bribe along with the guy whose bank accounts and public actions show no sign of accepting one.

Unless the guy alleged to be making the bribe only made the allegation after being bribed to do so.

This claim is not coming from Hunter Biden’s attorney Abbe Lowell. It’s not Jamie Raskin claiming that Barr shut down a bribery investigation into Burisma. It’s Chuck Grassley making the claim.

Bill Barr’s DOJ shut down a bribery investigation into Mykola Zlochevsky in December 2019. And then days later, on January 3, 2020, he set up a way to get a claim that Mykola Zlochevsky had bribed Joe Biden injected into the investigation of Hunter Biden.

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