I went to the internet to price a ticket to Ukraine. Leaving Arkansas on Monday, Dec. 16 and returning the following Monday, the round trip comes to $6,109.00 (baggage fees not included). One of the discount travel sites offered a “Mystery Flight” for less than $1,300 (baggage fees not included), but already there’s enough mystery surrounding Ukraine, so I think the higher fare is the wiser course.
It may be mysterious but it’s no secret: There is good money to be made in Ukraine. Not that it necessarily is “good” money, as opposed to bad or merely odiferous. Just a lot of money. Any certified capitalist can scarcely resist. Certainly a fellow named Hunter Biden could not resist, as he signed on as a board member to a Ukrainian energy company and was paid $50,000 per month for his services. As he had no known experience in energy save turning on or off the lights, or filling his tank, the nature of his services is uncertain. For a fact, though, his father was vice president of the United States, and more or less in charge of what’s called the Ukrainian portfolio, which included pressuring that former Soviet republic to clean up its act. Cleaning up its act involved purging its notoriously corrupt criminal and civil justice apparatus, to include expelling its notoriously corrupt prosecutors.
Hunter Biden months ago severed all ties with the Ukrainian company, and to this date there exists not a shred of evidence that any of his activities or connections there influenced U.S. policy in way, shape, form or fashion. Getting rid of a dirty prosecutor who was supposedly investigating the firm was, after all, a long-established objective not only of Washington but our Western European allies. Still, for Biden to establish a relationship with any Ukrainian enterprise, even a KFC franchise, was (a) unwise unto stupid given his father’s position, and (b) certain to come under scrutiny when the latter became a presidential candidate.
And so it has, providing the White House and its congressional allies a convenient if transparently political tool to obscure the president’s attempts to kneecap Biden’s father (his name is Joe) using U.S. assistance to Ukraine as a cudgel. The boomerang, of course, is the movement that will almost certainly impeach Mr. Trump but fall short at trial. The acquittal, like the son’s Ukrainian retainer, will be shoved under the elder’s nose should the father win his Democratic party’s presidential nomination. (Our governor, whose son represents some companies in foreign lands from which the senior Hutchinson is trying to attract investment in Arkansas, might sympathize.)
You’ve noticed, perhaps, that Ukraine rather resembles the Arkansas General Assembly: As a source of money and trouble, it is an equal opportunity, bi-partisan siren. Witness the controversy surrounding not only Mr. Trump but his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, formerly “America’s Mayor” and at present the shadow secretary of state. It would appear Giuliani has the Ukrainian portfolio, and is determined to make the most of it. While searching for dirt on Biden pere et fils, smearing veteran U.S. diplomats and strong-arming the reform government in Kyiv, Giuliani is reported to have negotiated side deals worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to his personal business. The contracts were never executed, though, Giuliani having concluded that things were getting “too complicated.” Such complications now include criminal charges against two of his pals, Russian-born operatives who assisted Giuliani in his Ukrainian exploits and who say they paid him $500,000 to line them up with some Trump administration big shots. The U.S. Attorney, appointed by Mr. Trump to the job Giuliani once held in the city Giuliani once ruled, has all three men under investigation. Other associates of America’s Mayor have been smothered in subpoenas.
So the political class wonders: Who will be indicted? How high will it reach? Who will squeal — choose to be a witness rather than a defendant? How long will this episode continue? It reminds one of the Arkansas scandals, the felonious draining of millions of dollars from the Department of Human Services and the since abolished General Improvement Fund. And the deservedly demolished reputations of state legislators from Fort Smith and Pine Bluff and a half-dozen other cities.
Hunter Biden’s personal life has been troubled: a corrosive divorce, a subsequent relationship with his brother’s widow, struggles with addiction. And a further complication, as Giuliani might style it: an Arkansas toddler whose paternity Biden evidently concedes. His local counsel has either recused or been dismissed, maybe both — it isn’t clear why — and the judge hearing the child support case has ordered related financial documents to be sealed. Don’t be surprised if Joe Biden’s adversaries demand they be released.
Fifty grand per month. Ten times that amount for “introductions.” And only $6,000 to get in on the action.
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