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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss leaked audio conversations exposing a real Ukraine-US quid pro quo and mafia tactic threats between former US Secretary fo State John Kerry, former US Vice President Joe Biden and former Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko.
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Leaked audio recordings of phone conversations between U.S. officials and Ukrainian officials detail how the Obama administration, led by then-Vice President Joe Biden, was able to strong-arm Kiev into replacing its top prosecutor—who was investigating a company that employed Hunter Biden, his son.
The recordings were released by a group calling itself NABU Leaks. NABU is the acronym for Ukrainian prosecutor general’s office. According to the release, the negotiations over the firing of Viktor Shokin began in early December of 2015—not with Biden leading the discussion on the U.S. side, but then-Secretary of State John Kerry.
Poroshenko is fluent in English, so the conversations in the recordings are all in what appears to be his voice. The American voices also likewise sound to be the people described by the presenters of the recordings.
The top U.S. diplomat said the vice president was “very concerned” about allowing Shokin to remain in place as the prosecutor. Then-Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko then explained why it would be so difficult to do what the Obama administration was demanding, particularly when the European Union had praised the reforms he had just made.
“The vice president is going to take that up with you and will have a more detailed discussion about it.”
Poroshenko then thanks the secretary of state, referring to him by his first name.
The recordings then switch to a February 18, 2016, conversation between Poroshenko and Biden. It’s not clear if they have spoken to one another since the December conversation between Kerry and Poroshenko, but this recording suggests it begins mid-conversation after some technical difficulties in the first connection between Washington and Kiev.
The new conversation begins with the Ukrainian president saying he’d like to someday meet with Biden in Minnesota. The vice president doesn’t seem all that eager to be there in the dead of winter, saying he’d much rather be in Kiev.
Poroshenko then gets down to business, saying that, despite having no just cause to do so, he’s asked Shokin for his resignation. That happened the day before, and about one hour before the call began, Shokin tendered his resignation to Poroshenko.
Biden’s reaction was just one word: “Great.”
Poroshenko added: “This is my second step for keeping my promises.”
Biden replied: “I agree.”
The recordings then jump ahead to a new conversation—also between Poroshenko and Biden—that was held March 22, 2016. The vice president says he’s aboard Air Force Two during the conversation. At some point in the conversation, he then turned the conversation to the appointment of a new prosecutor general.
He said he was prepared to do a “public signing” of the $1 billion loan guarantee through the International Monetary Fund, but said it would be contingent upon the “reforms” he was insisting upon. Poroshenko described the strong-arm tactic as “extremely strong motivation,” then described the candidates to replace Shokin, including his eventual successor, Yuriy Lutsenko.
Biden noted there was a “sense of urgency here,” and said he would huddle with his Ukraine team as soon as their conversation was done to go over his proposal.
It’s not immediately clear how the Biden team reacted, but the recording immediately jumps to a new conversation on May 13, 2016, in which the vice president praises Poroshenko on his new prosecutor general, adding “it’s going to be critical for him to work quickly to repair the damage Shokin did.”
“I’m a man of my word. And now that the new prosecutor general is in place, we’re ready to move forward to signing that new one billion dollar loan guarantee.”
The vice president and Poroshenko then discuss the logistics of having the loan guarantee signed. The Ukrainian president notes in the midst of that conversation that “it was a very tough challenge” and a “very difficult job” to replace Shokin and to establish new regulations for how the office would operate.
They also discussed having an American federal prosecutor working within the Justice Department—who was of Ukrainian descent—to provide “professional assistance” to the new prosecutor general in Kiev. Poroshenko also notes he had a meeting with Biden in Washington—sometime between the March and May phone conversations—in which they more fully discussed replacing Shokin with Lutsenko.
The recording then abruptly ends. Click here to listen to the entire package: https://youtu.be/EbmDLhJ43cU