American politics is in the midst of its latest political controversy, rocked by fresh impeachment proceedings against its president Donald Trump.
But while US politicians pour over a transcript of the call and the “deeply disturbing” whistleblower complaints levelled against the president, the spotlight has shifted towards the origins of the whole debacle.
Mr Trump and his allies accuse former Vice President Joe Biden of improperly intervening in Ukraine’s affairs to protect his son Hunter from criminal investigation.
But what have the Bidens got to do with Ukraine? And why does it matter to the president?
What are Joe Biden’s links to Ukraine?
While serving as Vice President to Barack Obama, Mr Biden became a frequent visitor to the eastern European country.
The 76-year-old travelled there about a dozen times over the course of two years, beginning in early 2014.
In February that year, the country was rocked by a revolution, which saw pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovyc amid fierce corruption allegations.
Pro-Western president Petro Poroshenko took over the position, with the backing of international institutions, including the US Government.
But President Obama and his fellow heads of state remained concerned about the country’s endemic corruption, so the US leader regularly sent his right-hand man there to keep a check on things.
Who is Hunter Biden and what’s he got to do with it?
Hunter, 49, is an American lawyer and businessman and Mr Biden’s second son.
His brother Beau, Mr Biden’s eldest, died of a brain tumour in 2015 aged 56.
Hunter entered the world of Ukrainian business at a time when his father was urging the Government to clean up its act.
In Spring 2014, Hunter took a position on the country’s largest private gas company, Burisma, where he was reportedly paid up to $50,000 a month.
The question of a possible conflict of interest – with Hunter reaping vast sums of money in a country where his father was actively working with the government – was raised publicly at the time.
Mr Biden reportedly told his son: “I hope you know what you are doing.”
“I do,” Hunter replied, in what he claims is the only time they ever discussed Burisma.
The Vice President insisted that he followed his government’s code of ethics and argued that his son was a private citizen who made his own decisions.
The Obama administration looked into the gas company during this period because the owner, Mykola Zlochevsky, was close to the ousted president.
Both Zlochevsky and Yanukovyc had both fled the country before the Bidens became regular visitors.
So are there any signs of wrongdoing by either Joe Biden or his son?
Despite the allegations levelled by Mr Trump and his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, they have not provided any evidence of illegal actions by the Bidens.
They argue that the Vice President to steps to protect his son from being investigated by Ukrainian prosecutors, but these accusations are uncorroborated.
Mr Biden has also reminded critics that he was tasked with helping to weed out corruption in Ukraine, not contribute towards it.
Hunter stepped down from his role at Burisma in April when his term expired.
He reportedly turned down an offer to have it extended, recognising that his position was causing issues for his father’s 2020 presidential campaign.
“My qualifications and work are being attacked by Rudy Giuliani and his minions for transparent political purposes,” he said in a statement announcing his departure from the company.
And why did all this lead to impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump?
Mr Trump and the current Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had what Mr Trump has described as a “perfect” phone conversation on July 25 this year.
A transcript of the call released yesterday shows that the US president pressed his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate Mr Biden and his son.
The call came days after the Trump administration announced it was delaying the release of US military funds to Ukraine until mid-September.
The US president says he has done nothing wrong, calling the impeachment proceedings a “joke” and the “single greatest witch hunt in US history.”
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