The tussle between Democrats calling for Trump’s impeachment and Republicans calling for an investigation into Joe Biden’s influence-peddling in the Ukraine is just the latest act in the never-ending saga of American political theatre.
Still, there is value in examining the details of this particular drama–as objective observers rather than as polarized partisans–in order to strengthen our understanding of our role as citizens impacted by all the machinations within the political arena.
That’s precisely what Joe Martino and I attempt to do in our latest episode of ‘The Collective Evolution Show’ on CETV. Below is a clip from the show that outlines the strong-arm tactics Joe Biden used–by his own admission–against the Ukranian government to fire a prosecutor who was investigating an energy company that was paying Biden’s son an exorbitant salary for being on their executive board. You can see the whole episode when you start a free 7-day trial on CETV.
The Sequence Of Events
The saga all starts with Joe Biden’s meeting in March 2016 with then-president of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, where he threatened to cancel $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees to pressure the president to fire prosecutor Viktor Shokin. Biden himself discloses exactly this in a 2018 speech to the Council on Foreign Relations.
The problem here? While Joe Biden claims he wanted the prosecutor fired because he was inept and corrupt, Biden’s son Hunter Biden was on the executive board of Burisma Holdings, which Shokin was in the process of investigating. U.S. banking records show that Hunter’s American-based firm Rosemont Seneca Partners LLC received regular transfers into one of its accounts—usually more than $166,000 a month—from Burisma from spring 2014 through fall 2015.
This significant remuneration is brought further into question by the fact that Hunter Biden reportedly has no formal knowledge about the energy industry.
In a sworn affidavit, Viktor Shokin makes it clear why he believes he was fired:
“I was forced out because I was leading a wide-range corruption probe into Burisma Holdings, a natural gas firm active in Ukraine, and Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, was a member of the board of directors.”
“We had plans that included interrogations and other crime-investigation procedures into all members of the executive board, including Hunter Biden.”
And memos that are now surfacing from the Ukraine offer some corroboration for Shokin’s claims that he was not fired because he was corrupt or inept:
Burisma’s American legal representatives met with Ukrainian officials just days after Biden forced the firing of the country’s chief prosecutor and offered “an apology for dissemination of false information by U.S. representatives and public figures” about the Ukrainian prosecutors, according to the Ukrainian government’s official memo of the meeting. The effort to secure that meeting began the same day the prosecutor’s firing was announced. (source)
In other words, Burisma was made well aware of the decision to fire Viktor Shokin the day it was made, and worked quickly to ensure their influence over the new prosecutors coming in, whom Joe Biden characterized as “solid.”
Was Joe Biden involved in some ‘pay-to-play’ scheme in which one or more Ukranian businesses would be able to count on Joe Biden’s influence in exchange for payments that were being made to Biden’s son Hunter, sheltering Joe Biden himself from those transactions? It would seem so.
Trump Calls On New Ukranian President For Help
But all this only became news after the electoral victory of new Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in March of 2019, and a phone call from Donald Trump on July 25th, 2019, where Trump requested that Mr. Zelenskiy cooperate with AG Bill Barr and Rudy Giuliani in investigating the firing of prosecutor Victor Shokin.
In turn this phone call only surfaced because an anonymous ‘whistleblower’ came out in August and claimed to have first-hand knowledge of the phone call and disclosed that Donald Trump had pressured Zelinskiy to investigate Biden, and that Trump’s tactics involved a quid pro quo.
Mainstream media ran with this right away and ramped up rhetoric that this phone conversation was the new and serious grounds for impeachment, which was then taken up by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
This prompted Trump to release a transcript of the phone call, in order to certify that he had done nothing wrong. Democrat Adam Schiff, in an attempt to spin the gist of the phone conversation, seems to ignore the fact that the transcript had just been released and went ahead with his ‘interpretation’ which he later excused as a ‘parody’, while making it seem as though he was quoting from the transcript:
On September 25th Trump held an in-person press conference with Zelinskiy to quash any rumors that he had pressured the Ukranian PM, and followed with an ongoing counter-attack against Schiff on Twitter that continues today:
Congressman Adam Schiff should resign for the Crime of, after reading a transcript of my conversation with the President of Ukraine (it was perfect), fraudulently fabricating a statement of the President of the United States and reading it to Congress, as though mine! He is sick!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 2, 2019
Left-Right Political Theatre
So where does this leave us? What are we to make of this debacle?
Well, if you’re on the right, you are probably getting absolutely fed up that high ranking people on the left who have obviously been involved in criminal activity have not yet been indicted and prosecuted. If you’re on the left, you may see Trump as an embarrassment and are desperate to see him removed from power, whether legitimately or even through questionable political maneuvers.
But there is a bigger question here. Amidst the ever-polarizing political battle that has been playing out since Trump became president, over a host of issues of which this Ukraine matter is only the most recent, how do we really want to participate in this?
If we continue to take sides, and believe that some form of legal action within the political theatre will solve our problems, whether it be indictment or impeachment, we are only supporting the madness and continuing to give our power away to forces who clearly don’t have our best interests at heart.
What is needed is to see current politics as it is, truly theatre of the absurd, and its only real value to us is to awaken us to what we are really giving our power away to, so that we eventually gain the conviction to withdraw our consent to these systems in favor of something that really is in service to us, the people.
So rather than getting angry, and continuing to believe that the people on our chosen side of the aisle will save the day for us, tempting as this continues to be for some, what will really benefit us is to move to neutrality, observe how senseless and pointless this drama has become–comical, we could even say–and begin having clear-minded conversations about how we step away from the whole ugly production.
At CE, we encourage people to look at world events as a projection of our collective consciousness. When we see polarized turmoil being played out in front of us, it means our inner grievances and prejudices are being brought to the surface, smack in front of our eyes in order for us to confront them. When we have finally had enough of investing in the never-ending struggle between two polarities, neither of which offers the whole truth or the prospects of peace and harmony, we can choose to disengage from identifying with one side or the other, and transcend the battle in search of greater possibilities for ourselves and for humanity.