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Ukrainian Prosecutor Says Yet To See Evidence Of Biden Wrongdoing, Case Reviews Under Way


Ukrainian Prosecutor-General Ruslan Ryaboshapka speaks during a news conference in Kyiv on October 4.
Ukrainian Prosecutor-General Ruslan Ryaboshapka speaks during a news conference in Kyiv on October 4.

Ukraine's top prosecutor says he doesn't know of any evidence showing illegal activity by the son of former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden but that his office is reviewing several closed cases, including ones related to a gas company where Hunter Biden worked.

Speaking to reporters in Kyiv on October 4, Prosecutor-General Ruslan Ryaboshapka said he had not been contacted by any foreign lawyers about the case surrounding Burisma, the gas company that hired Biden in 2014.

A July 25 phone call between President Donald Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, where the U.S. leader pressed for an investigation of the Bidens has become the focal point of an impeachment inquiry.

U.S. lawmakers are looking into whether Trump sought personal political gain by pushing a foreign government to investigate one of his main political rivals.

"I have no such information," Ryaboshapka said in answer to a question on whether he had evidence of wrongdoing by Biden's son.

When asked whether Trump's personal lawyer, Rudolph Giuliani, had contacted him, the Ukrainian prosecutor stressed that no foreigners had been in touch with his office, adding that "prosecutors are outside politics."

The comments from Kyiv come after news broke late on October 3 that top U.S. diplomats appeared to have offered Zelenskiy a high-profile visit to Washington, D.C., in return for the newly elected president's promise to conduct an investigation into Biden's family.

The evidence comes from a cache of correspondence made public late on October 3 by U.S. House of Representative officials following a 10-hour interview with Kurt Volker, the former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine who resigned last week after his name surfaced in a whistle-blower complaint.

In the morning ahead of the July 25 phone call, the envoy wrote a text message that said: "Heard from White House -- Assuming President Z convinces trump he will investigate / 'get to the bottom of what happened' in 2016, we will nail down date for visit to Washington."

An adviser to Zelenskiy appeared to accept the proposal, which included a probe into Burisma. Biden's son Hunter was on the board of the firm at the same time his father was leading the Obama administration's dealings with Kyiv.

"Phone call went well," Andriy Yermak wrote in a text to Volker the day after Trump and Zelenskiy spoke.

Yermak then suggested several dates in September when Trump and Zerenskiy could hold a meeting. But the deal fell through when Yermak failed to put out a statement about the investigations.

Trump and Zelenskiy eventually met on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York but not at the White House in Washington.

In his October 3 meetings with House lawmakers, Volker said that "multiple people" in the State Department were worried about apparent efforts to link military aid to Kyiv to the administration's desire for an investigation related to Biden, a leading Democratic presidential candidate to challenge Trump in 2020.

Volker became the first State Department official who is directly connected to the Eastern European country to testify before three House panels conducting an impeachment probe into Trump's actions.

The House has also scheduled a meeting on October 11 with Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Kyiv who was suddenly recalled earlier this year after an apparent dispute with the administration over Ukraine policy.

After the meeting, Representative Eric Swalwell (Democrat-California), a member of the Intelligence Committee, said text messages showed that officials were particularly concerned about the role of Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal lawyer who has admitted taking a leading role in relations with Kyiv.

Republicans leaving the meeting said Volker's testimony helped show there was no quid pro quo when the officials asked for a probe.

Swalwell disputed that, describing a text from one senior State Department official that read, "It's crazy if we are trying to leverage U.S. dollars in security assistance for help in a political campaign."

Trump has accused Biden and his son of corruption in their political and business dealings in Ukraine, but he has offered no evidence to support his claims.

On October 3, Trump again appeared to invite a foreign investigation into internal U.S. politics by publicly calling on China to investigate the former vice president.

The impeachment inquiry, which Trump has called a witch-hunt, stems from a government whistle-blower's complaint that in part details the July 25 phone call.

Leading up to the call, Trump had abruptly withheld some $400 million in military funding for Ukraine, which has been battling Russia-backed separatists since 2014.

A day after the Trump-Zelenskiy call, Volker, who was mentioned in the whistle-blower complaint, and U.S. Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland gave the Ukrainian president advice on how to "navigate" Trump's demands.

Volker resigned after his name surfaced in the complaint last week.

With reporting by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Politico, Reuters, and AP
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