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‘The Joe Biden Impeachment Hearing Says Everything About Republicans and Nothing About the President’

Lev Parnas’ bombshell testimony shows the Republicans’ have ‘absolutely no evidence’ against President Joe Biden

Lev Parnas, a former associate of Rudy Giuliani, is sworn in during the House Oversight and Accountability Committee hearing into Joe Biden on 20 March 2024. Photo: Tom Williams/Associated Press/Alamy

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When former US President Donald Trump was impeached, for the first time, the cry from the (far) right was that this was all an act of political theatre. This, of course, was not true, but it may be that Republicans in Congress have come to believe their own lies and see impeachment as simply a political tool to tarnish an opponent. What they have overlooked is that like any other kind of trial against an accused person, getting to conviction requires evidence. The testimony of Lev Parnas at the impeachment hearing related to President Joe Biden on Wednesday brutally exposed the fact that the Republicans leading this charge have absolutely no evidence of any wrongdoing by either Biden or his son Hunter.

That the bombshell testimony from Parnas has exposed the GOP scam is all the more ironic for the fact that he, a former associate of disgraced former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, had been on the side of those who were responsible for fabricating the whole story in the first place.

The concocted tale revolves around an energy company in Ukraine called Burisma. In short, Hunter Biden had served on its Board while his father was the Vice President and point man for the Obama White House. Ukraine was already at war at that time after Russia created the hot war in the Donbas as well as illegally seizing Crimea in 2014. Biden’s remit related to those hostilities.

The allegations against the Bidens were that they had each received a $5 million bribe from Burisma, and got the then Prosecutor General of Ukraine, Viktor Shokin, fired for sniffing around Burisma too closely. The big problem here is that not a single part of that story is true. The bigger problem is that, according to Parnas, Fox News host Sean Hannity and several members of Congress were engaged in “knowingly” pushing disinformation from Russia.


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It is with alarming regularity that the acts of the Republican Party and the Russian state align. The Russians have several motivations behind their troublemaking. Most glaringly, it would be thrilled by a Trump presidency because another tenure in the White House will certainly lead to chaos in the United States at a time when Russia is involved in a full-scale war against Ukraine. A war that saw 31 missiles fired at the capital city of Kyiv just the night before last. Another reason is that this story deepens the belief that Ukraine is a thoroughly corrupt country, one of the chief issues put forward by those who argue against the provision of further military aid.

The story of Burisma first entered the American body politic in 2020, as I wrote for Byline Times back then it was an attempt to distract from the facts of what Trump was then being impeached for. This is a disinformation tactic called ‘whataboutism’, there’s an allegation from one side, and so the other side screams “what about….?” Whataboutism is one of the standard tools of Russian dis- and misinformation operations, frequently employed by their armies of online trolls and useful idiots, and now the GOP.

The impeachment of Trump and the attempt to find grounds for the impeachment of President Biden could not be more different. The former was based on the “prefect phone call” between the Presidents of the US and Ukraine, in which Trump threatened to withhold a military aid package unless President Volodymyr Zelensky did him “a favour” by announcing an investigation into his political rival. The latter was based on Russian lies readily taken up and believed to be fact by large numbers of people in the US, both in and out of political circles.

As an outsider, and as a person directly affected by Russia’s war against Ukraine, it is astonishing that there are so many American minds polluted by Russian propaganda. Some are genuinely duped, others are engaging in and embracing it for reasons of political expediency. Whatever the reason behind it, toeing the Russian line is something that would have horrified the old school of the Republican Party, who realised full well the danger that Russia, and the Soviet Union before it, represented.

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Trump was impeached because he attempted to use a package of weapons destined for an ally at war with an adversary as a tool of leverage for his personal political benefit. As Parnas testified, he was instructed by the personal lawyer to Trump, Giuliani, to deliver a message that “unless Zelensky announced an investigation into the Bidens by Monday, that there would be no cooperation, no aid to Ukraine from the United States.” This was a President who not only believed that manipulating the assets of the nation for his personal benefit was perfectly fine, but who also, being unable to deny the charge because there were witnesses to this crime, insisted instead that the call was “perfect”.

Had the Republicans followed the evidence at that first impeachment (or for that matter at the second one) the inescapable conclusion would have been that Trump was guilty as charged and ruling such, the world would not be facing the theoretical possibility of this man, a convicted fraudster and rapist, reassuming the role of the most powerful man in the world.

The evidence in the hearings trying to establish grounds to impeach President Biden is just not there on the other hand. Again, according to Parnas, “I found precisely zero evidence of the Bidens corruption in Ukraine. No credible source has ever provided proof of criminal activity, not the FBI, the CIA, or the NSA. No respected Ukrainian official has ever said that the Bidens did anything criminal in Ukraine.” And “the only information ever pushed on the Bidens on Ukraine has come from one source and one source only, Russia and Russian agents.”


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There was no $5 million bribe. Shokin, the Prosecutor General, was not fired because he was getting too close to finding wrongdoing in his investigation of Burisma, because he was not in fact investigating Burisma. Shokin was fired because he was acorrupt man who would look the other way for the right price. His belated dismissal was greeted with applause by Ambassadors to Ukraine from a great number of countries when it happened.

As for the underlying (Russian/GOP) message that Ukraine is a fundamentally corrupt country and therefore undeserving of US aid, the clear Russian goal is to leave Ukraine defenceless so that they can prosecute their war even more ruthlessly. But the fact is that a decade ago millions of brave Ukrainians across the country decided to stand up to the corrupt rule of the Yanukovych regime, and much has changed since then in terms of anti-corruption developments in the country.

At the insistence of civil society, under the watchful eye of allies such as the United States and the European Union, a great number of anti-corruption programs have been successfully implemented. Ukraine, as a nation that fights corruption, has created a new national police force from scratch and developed an award-winning app through which pretty much all government services are delivered, efficiently and transparently. In fact, just one month before the beginning of the big war, as it is called here, I wrote for Byline Times that it is precisely because Ukraine is a model for fighting corruption (and a democracy) that war was inevitably coming.

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