Just a day before the House of Representatives will likely impeach President Donald Trump for abusing his power to get his political opponent investigated and obstructing Congress in its inquiry, Trump’s right-wing media allies are continuing their effort to shift the focus on the Bidens. On Tuesday, Fox’s John Solomon posted an article on his personal, non-Fox website titled “Latvian government says it flagged ‘suspicious’ Hunter Biden payments in 2016,” and soon after, Fox’s prime-time host and Trump adviser Sean Hannity posted the article on Twitter.
In his column, Solomon wrote that in 2016, a Latvian prosecutorial agency asked the Ukrainian government for information that might indicate that a series of “suspicious” funds were transferred to the Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma and that Hunter Biden, who was a Burisma board member at the time, and other colleagues might have benefited from it. Solomon repeatedly framed Hunter Biden as the possible recipient of money laundering -- even though he also repeatedly admitted that the information Ukraine gave to Latvia in response contained no evidence of any incriminating activity:
Latvian authorities said they did not get any incriminating information back from Ukraine to warrant further investigation and did not take additional action in 2016.
Arturs Saburovs, the Third Secretary at the Latvian embassy in Washington, confirmed his country flagged the transactions in February 2016 after seeing public reports that Burisma was under investigation in Ukraine and that Hunter Biden served on the company’s board. He said Latvia did not receive any evidence back from Ukraine to further its investigation.
“The Latvian FIU (Financial Intelligence Unit) is the institution which receives, processes, and analyses reports on banking transactions as well as conducts information exchange with foreign FIUs,” he explained. “If a matter comes to public attention as it did here, the FIU processes that information.
“In this case, the Latvian FIU reached out to its Ukrainian counterpart seeking additional clarifications,” he added. “Information was received, yet no incriminatory evidence for further analysis was provided by the Ukrainian authorities.”
After showing that the information Latvia received from Ukraine did not contain any “incriminatory evidence,” Solomon fell back to the weak claim that the Latvian government’s action to request information is in itself incriminatory enough: “The memo adds to a growing body of evidence that questions and investigations of Burisma were swirling in early 2016 just before Joe Biden used his authority as vice president to force the firing of Ukraine Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin in March 2016.”
Solomon has been deeply involved in pushing conspiracy theories surrounding Ukraine. He collaborated with Trump personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani in pushing baseless claims of wrongdoing by the Bidens in Ukraine, publishing content trying to discredit the investigation into Russian election interference, and smearing the American ambassador to Ukraine in an effort to get her removed. Multiple impeachment witnesses called out Solomon’s work for being full of falsehoods. This new story seems to have the regular Giuliani-Solomon collaborative stamp on it as Giuliani recently pushed the same Latvian document during a propaganda interview on the pro-Trump One America News Network.