Key impeachment witness linked to Soros, Hunter Biden

Acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor, a key witness in Rep. Adam Schiff’s secretive “impeachment inquiry,” led an election observation delegation in Ukraine earlier this year for a George Soros-funded organization that listed Hunter Biden on its chairman’s council, Breitbart News reported on Oct. 28.

Two months before he came out of retirement to serve as the highest ranking U.S. official in Ukraine, Taylor led an election observer delegation to Ukraine’s April 21, 2019 second round presidential election for the Soros-backed National Democratic Institute (NDI), the report said.

Acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor. / Public Domain / USEmbassy.gov

Hunter Biden, son of former Vice President Joe Biden, served on NDI’s ten person Chairman’s Council, which describes itself as bringing together “leaders from corporate, philanthropic, and academia sectors to provide expertise, counsel and resources to help the Institute meet these evolving challenges.”

The WayBack Internet archive shows Hunter Biden was listed on NDI’s website as being on the chairman’s council until at least August 2019, encompassing the period when Taylor led NDI’s delegation to Ukraine.

Hunter Biden was also a board member for Burisma, the Ukranian natural gas company at the center of allegations regarding Joe Biden’s involvement in Ukraine policy during the Obama administration.

Breitbart News noted that an itinerary for a trip to Ukraine for a group of congressional aides in August organized by the Atlantic Council showed that a staffer on Schiff’s House Intelligence Committee held a meeting during the trip with Taylor who by then had taken on his role as acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.

The pre-planned trip took place after the so-called whistleblower officially filed his Aug. 12 complaint and reportedly after a Schiff aide was contacted by the so-called whistleblower.

The Atlantic Council is funded by and works in partnership with Burisma.

Related: Atlantic Council has many links to latest anti-Trump coupOctober 25

Last week, Breitbart reported that Taylor had a close relationship with the Atlantic Council, writing Ukraine policy pieces with the organization’s director and analysis articles published by the Council.

In addition to a direct relationship with the Atlantic Council, Taylor for the last nine years also served as a senior adviser to the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC), which has co-hosted events with the Atlantic Council and has participated in events co-hosted jointly by the Atlantic Council and Burisma, Breitbart reported. USUBC events have been financially sponsored by Burisma.

Another senior adviser to the USUBC is David J. Kramer, a long-time adviser to Sen. John McCain. Kramer played a central role in disseminating the anti-Trump dossier to the news media and Obama administration.

What many observers say are improper Obama-Biden Ukraine links have been surfacing for several months.

In March, The Hill’s John Solomon wrote:

While the 2016 presidential race was raging in America, Ukrainian prosecutors ran into some unexpectedly strong headwinds as they pursued an investigation into the activities of a nonprofit in their homeland known as the Anti-Corruption Action Centre (AntAC).

The focus on AntAC — whose youthful street activists famously wore “Ukraine F*&k Corruption” T-shirts — was part of a larger probe by Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s Office into whether $4.4 million in U.S. funds to fight corruption inside the former Soviet republic had been improperly diverted.

The prosecutors soon would learn the resistance they faced was blowing directly from the U.S. Embassy in Kiev, where the Obama administration took the rare step of trying to press the Ukrainian government to back off its investigation of both the U.S. aid and the group.

“The investigation into the Anti-Corruption Action Center (sic), based on the assistance they have received from us, is similarly misplaced,” then-embassy Charge d’ Affaires George Kent wrote the prosecutor’s office in April 2016 in a letter that also argued U.S. officials had no concerns about how the U.S. aid had been spent.

At the time, the nation’s prosecutor general had just been fired, under pressure from the United States, and a permanent replacement had not been named.
A few months later, Yuri Lutsenko, widely regarded as a hero in the West for spending two years in prison after fighting Russian aggression in his country, was named prosecutor general and invited to meet new U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.

Lutsenko told me he was stunned when the ambassador “gave me a list of people whom we should not prosecute.” The list included a founder of the AntAC group and two members of Parliament who vocally supported the group’s anti-corruption reform agenda, according to a source directly familiar with the meeting.

It turns out the group that Ukrainian law enforcement was probing was co-funded by the Obama administration and liberal mega-donor George Soros. And it was collaborating with the FBI agents investigating then-Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort’s business activities with pro-Russian figures in Ukraine.

The implied message to Ukraine’s prosecutors was clear: Don’t target AntAC in the middle of an America presidential election in which Soros was backing Hillary Clinton to succeed another Soros favorite, Barack Obama, Ukrainian officials said.

“We ran right into a buzzsaw and we got bloodied,” a senior Ukrainian official told me.

Lutsenko suggested the embassy applied pressure because it did not want Americans to see who was being funded with its tax dollars. “At the time, Ms. Ambassador thought our interviews of the Ukrainian citizens, of the Ukrainian civil servants who were frequent visitors in the U.S. Embassy, could cast a shadow on that anti-corruption policy,” he said.

State officials told me privately they wanted Ukraine prosecutors to back off AntAC because they feared the investigation was simply retribution for the group’s high-profile efforts to force anti-corruption reforms inside Ukraine, some of which took authorities and prestige from the Prosecutor General’s Office.

But it was an unusual intervention, the officials acknowledged. “We’re not normally in the business of telling a country’s police force who they can and can’t pursue, unless it involves an American citizen we think is wrongly accused,” one official said.

In the end, no action was taken against AntAC and it remains thriving today. Nonetheless, the anecdote is taking on new significance.
First, it conflicts with the State Department’s official statement last week after Lutsenko first mentioned the do-not-prosecute list. The embassy responded that the claim was a fabrication and a sign that corruption is alive and well inside Ukraine.

But Kent’s letter unequivocally shows the embassy did press Ukrainian prosecutors to back off what normally would be considered an internal law enforcement matter inside a sovereign country. And more than a half-dozen U.S. and Ukrainian sources confirmed to me the AntAC case wasn’t the only one in which American officials exerted pressure on Ukrainian investigators in 2016.

When I asked State to explain the letter and inclusion of the Soros-connected names during the meeting, it demurred. “As a general rule, we don’t read out private diplomatic meetings,” it responded. “Ambassador Yovanovitch represents the President of the United States in Ukraine, and America stands behind her and her statements.”

Second, the AntAC anecdote highlights a little-known fact that the pursuit of foreign corruption has resulted in an unusual alliance between the U.S. government and a political mega-donor.

After the Obama Justice Department launched its Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative a decade ago to prosecute corruption in other countries, the State Department, Justice Department and FBI outsourced some of its work in Ukraine to groups funded by Soros.

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