An aide to then-VP Joe Biden told him that Biden “didn’t have the ‘bandwidth’ to deal with the issue…”
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent told Congress on Tuesday that in 2015 he raised concerns about Hunter Biden sitting Burisma Holding’s board.
He feared Hunter working for the company “would complicate efforts by U.S. diplomats to convey to Ukrainian officials the importance of avoiding conflicts of interest.”
The office of then-Vice President Joe Biden brushed him off.
In 2014, Biden’s son Hunter and then-Secretary of State John Kerry’s family friend Devon Archer joined Burisma’s board of directors. This happened right after President Barack Obama appointed Biden to oversee the relationship between America and the new Ukrainian government.
Back then the media had their own concerns about Hunter’s position at Burisma Holdings. He assured everyone that his appointment could weed out the corruption within the energy company.
Obama’s administration vowed there was no conflict of interest.
Kent went to Biden’s office, but an aide told him Biden “didn’t have the ‘bandwidth’ to deal with the issue involving his son as his other son, Beau, was battling cancer, said the people familiar with his testimony.”
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Meanwhile, during his deposition on Tuesday, sources told Fox News that Kent spoke extensively about accusations of corruption linked to Burisma, noting it was a “big problem” as it relates to Ukraine.
Kent had repeatedly raised concerns with the Obama administration about the company, specifically providing an example in 2016, when he raised concerns with the Obama administration’s USAID about dropping a planned event with Burisma. Kent testified that the event involved children, and he did not feel comfortable with photos of children in conjunction with Burisma.
Sources also told Fox News that Kent told congressional investigators about the Obama administration’s efforts to remove Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin from his post. At the time, Shokin was investigating Mykola Zlochevsky, the former minister of ecology and natural resources of Ukraine — also the founder of Burisma.
Obama’s administration plus other European leaders did not think Shokin showed enough effort into the Burisma and Zlochevsky investigation.
Obama’s administration became so frustrated that they wanted to launch their own investigation into Burisma and Zlochevsky.
Ukraine’s parliament dismissed Shokin in 2016.
A former national security aide to Biden does not remember Kent voicing his concerns to the office. The aide also said that Beau’s cancer did not affect Biden’s work:
“I don’t understand what the optics thing means other than someone thinking it looked bad in a political way,” the aide said. “Did it have any effect on US policies, either on what we were doing or what the Ukrainians were doing? It didn’t…. In the aggregate it didn’t have any discernible effect.”
The aide said that Joe Biden was dealing with a lot during Beau Biden’s bout with cancer, but that it had a minimal impact on his work.
“Day to day the vice president was at work and he was pretty focused,” the aide said. “Does that mean it’s inconceivable that someone said, ‘Hey look it’s not the time to raise a family issue?’ I guess it’s conceivable. But I never saw evidence he wasn’t capable of doing the VP role and dealing with his family at the same time.”
Other Biden advisers also had questions about Hunter working on the board. One brought it up with Biden, “though the conversation was brief.”
The impeachment inquiry is a double-edged sword. While aimed at President Donald Trump, it has shown to cause problems with the Democrats since it raises “questions about the former vice president’s handling of his son’s foreign work at a precarious moment for his 2020 presidential campaign.”
An old statement from Shokin came out in September. He swore he lost his job because Biden threatened then-President Petro Poroshenko he would withhold US aid if he did not fire Shokin.
A few years ago Biden bragged about getting Shokin fired.
Hunter said on Good Morning America that “he did nothing improper.” He admitted “poor judgment” on his part to accept a position on Burisma Holding’s board.DONATE
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