No evidence of corruption has ever been found—here’s what actually happened:
- In May 2014, Hunter Biden took a board seat on Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma Holdings. He was reportedly paid $50,000 per month.
- Burisma had ties to Ukraine’s previous president Viktor Yanukovych, who was ousted from office.
- As vice president, Joe Biden was tasked with reducing corruption in Ukraine after Yanukovych—eventually charged with “mass killing of civilians”— exiled himself to Crimea amid threats of civil war.
- The overlap between the vice president and his son raised concerns over a potential conflict of interest. The Obama White House said there was no issue with Hunter Biden’s work, and that no conflict of interest existed.
- In 2016, and with the support of other world leaders, Joe Biden threatened to withhold $1 billion of U.S. aid unless Ukraine’s leaders fired the country’s top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, for being too soft on corruption—which they did.
- Before Shokin was fired, he had been conducting an investigation of Burisma, and Hunter Biden allegedly was a subject. But the investigation had been inactive for over a year by the time Joe Biden pushed for Shokin’s ouster.
- Hunter Biden stepped down from his Burisma board seat in April 2019. He had been offered another term but refused because it could possibly hurt Joe Biden’s presidential campaign.
Key background: The Bidens’ prior involvement with Ukraine bubbled up over the past week when reports emerged that a whistleblower had raised concerns about Trump’s interaction with a foreign leader. The White House released records of that phone call Wednesday, which appear to confirm that’s what happened. That phone call is now the basis of a formal impeachment inquiry by House Democrats.