On Friday, Ukraine’s Prosecutor General announced that his office would be reopening all cases involving the addition of Hunter Biden to the board of Ukrainian energy company Burisma.
The Associated Press reports Ruslan Ryaboshapka’s comments to reopen the investigations come as the result of a July 25 call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
In the conversation, Trump mentioned the investigation and Zelenskiy said he would deploy a new prosecutor to “look into the situation.”
“The other thing, there’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son. [And] that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it … It sounds horrible to me,” Trump said according to a transcript released by the White House.
“I wanted to tell you about the prosecutor. First of all, I understand and I’m knowledgeable about the situation. Since we have won the absolute majority in our Parliament, the next prosecutor general will be 100% my person, my candidate who will be approved by the parliament and will start as a new prosecutor in September,” the Ukrainian president answered.
“He or she will look into the situation, specifically to the company that you mentioned in this issue. The issue of the investigation of the case is actually the issue of making sure to restore honesty so we will take care of that and will work on the investigation of the case,” Zelenskiy added.
According to the Associated Press, Prosecutor General Ryaboshapka said his prosecutors would be auditing all cases which were formerly closed or dismissed that involved gas company Burisma, who hired Hunter Biden, and its owner Mykola Zlochevsky.
“We are now reviewing all the cases that were closed or split into several parts or were investigated before, in order to be able to rule to reverse those cases where illegal procedural steps were taken,” Ryaboshapka said.
And, from the Associated Press:
Asked by The Associated Press about Trump’s comment Thursday that the U.S. has an “absolute right” to ask foreign leaders to investigate corruption cases, Zelenskiy said that Ukraine is “open” and that all the cases under investigation are “transparent.”
The Prosecutor General’s Office later said that among the cases they are reviewing, there are 15 where Zlochevsky is mentioned. None of the Zlochevsky-related cases has been revived yet, they said.
They did not specify how many, if any, were related to Hunter Biden’s work at Burisma.
Ryaboshapka was mentioned in the July 25 call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who assured Trump that Ryaboshapka was “his man” and that he would resume investigations into Burisma.
The prosecutor general insisted on Friday that he did not feel any pressure over the Burisma case.
“Not a single foreign or Ukrainian official or politician has called me or tried to influence my decisions regarding specific criminal cases,” he said.
The Washington Examiner reports the former Ukrainian prosecutor responsible for investigating the company which hired Hunter Biden was told to prematurely end it.
“Viktor Shokin made the claim to President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani during a meeting earlier this year,” the Washington Examiner reports. “Some of the details of that conversation were handed over to Congress by the State Department’s inspector general on Wednesday, Fox News reported.”
“Mr. Shokin attempted to continue the investigations but on or around June or July of 2015, the U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey R. Pyatt told him that the investigation has to be handled with white gloves, which according to Mr. Shokin, that implied do nothing,” the notes from the interview continued.
Biden, while vice president, threatened to withhold U.S. aid to Ukraine if that country did not fire Shokin, who was investigating his son’s company. Some have claimed that the U.S. push to get the prosecutor fired were for his own alleged corruption and not related to the younger Biden.