Sep 26, 2019

Ukrainian prosecutor named by whistleblower says Hunter Biden did not violate any laws

Photo: Angela WEISS/AFP/Getty Images

Former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuri Lutsenko told the Washington Post on Thursday that he does not believe Joe Biden's son, Hunter, has violated any Ukrainian laws.

Why it matters: A whistleblower complaint released Thursday details how beginning in March 2019, Lutsenko floated allegations that Joe Biden pressured Ukraine to fire former Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin in order to quash an investigation into a company called Burisma Holdings, where Hunter Biden served as a board member. Rudy Giuliani and President Trump capitalized on the allegations — which Lutsenko later walked back — in a campaign to get the Ukrainian government to open an investigation into Biden.

The big picture: Lutsenko first said that there was no evidence of wrongdoing by Biden or his son in an interview with Bloomberg in May. Nonetheless, Trump and Giuliani have continued to push for an investigation, even after House Democrats announced they would launch an impeachment inquiry into Trump for allegedly soliciting foreign interference in the 2020 election.

  • The whistleblower complaint states that according to multiple U.S. officials, Ukrainian leadership was "led to believe" that a phone call or meeting between Trump and President Volodymyr Zelensky — which Ukraine desperately wanted — would depend on whether Zelensky showed a willingness to "play ball" on the Biden issues aired by Lutsenko and Giuliani.

Go deeper: Read the whistleblower complaint with summaries of each section

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Giuliani: "It is impossible that the whistleblower is a hero and I’m not"

Photo: Ty Wright/Getty Images

In a series of interviews Thursday, Rudy Giuliani responded to the release of the full Trump-Ukraine whistleblower complaint, arguing his actions should be "praised" and that "when this is over, [he] will be the hero."

The big picture: The full complaint details Giuliani's involvement in pressuring the Ukrainian government to investigate Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, over unsubstantiated corruption allegations. Details show that Giuliani traveled to Madrid to meet with one of Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky's advisers and has been in contact with a number of other Ukrainian officials regarding the matter.

Go deeperArrowSep 26, 2019

Whistleblower alleges Trump abused power to solicit foreign interference

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky with President Trump. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

The whistleblower complaint at the heart of a controversy over President Trump and Ukraine alleges that Trump used "the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 election," and that Rudy Giuliani and Attorney General Bill Barr appeared to be involved in the effort as well.

Why it matters: The Trump administration's initial refusal to turn over the complaint is what led to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's watershed decision on Tuesday to finally support a formal impeachment inquiry. Likely as a result of pressure from that announcement, the administration released both the complaint and, earlier in the day, a summary of Trump's July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Sep 26, 2019

Graham defends Trump's Ukraine call as "ethical" and calls for Biden probe

Speaking to CBS' "Face the Nation" on Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) attacked the Trump-Ukraine whistleblower complaint as a "political setup" and suggested appointing a special investigator to look into allegations that Joe Biden forced Ukraine to fire a prosecutor investigating his son.

Go deeperArrowSep 29, 2019