Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-TX), one of House impeachment managers, took aim at GOP-backed conspiracy theories around Burisma during the second day of opening impeachment arguments on Thursday, dismantling a key allegation linking Joe Biden to the Ukrainian gas company on whose board Hunter Biden sat.
Introducing the theory early on into arguments suggests that the impeachment managers are anticipating Trump’s defense team leaning heavily into the validity of the Burisma conspiracy, among others, for their own defense.
Trump was impeached in part over his attempts to pressure the Ukrainian government into announcing investigations into Burisma, among other topics.
The nub of the conspiracy theory is that Joe Biden abused his power as vice president to have a Ukrainian prosecutor investigating Burisma fired. Biden withheld a U.S. government loan to Ukraine on the condition that the prosecutor be fired; Giuliani and others take this as evidence of bribery.
Relying on footage of testimony from the public portion of the House’s impeachment inquiry and other documentary evidence, Rep. Garcia demolished the theory, pointing out that the timeline does not add up, that Biden pushed for the prosecutor’s firing because it was “consistent with U.S. policy,” and that the loan had to do with shoring up anti-corruption efforts in Ukraine. Hunter Biden had nothing to do with what happened.
“Vice President Biden’s conduct was uniformly validated by the witnesses in the House investigation who confirmed his conduct was consistent with U.S. policy,” Garcia said. “Every single witness who was asked about the allegations again and said that Biden had nothing to do with it and it was false. They testified that he acted properly and every witness with knowledge of this issue testified that Vice President Biden was carrying out official U.S. policy.”
To be fair, this is not a hard theory to debunk: it was clear from the beginning that the Burisma allegations were nonsense.
But as a trial strategy, it does suggest that the House feels the need to establish early on the insanity of the allegations that Trump’s defense may put forward.