In a newly reported development that further complicates the Democrats’ Ukraine corruption investigation, a State Department witness told congressional investigators this week that in early 2015 he warned about the problematic optics of the vice president’s son, Hunter Biden, serving on the board of a Ukrainian energy company while his father was tasked with overseeing Ukraine-U.S. relations. The career State Department official told investigators his warning was rebuffed by Biden’s office. Months later, Biden would pressure the Ukraine — by withholding a billion dollars in aid — to fire the prosecutor who had looked into the company employing Hunter.
Citing sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity, The Washington Post reported Friday that George Kent, a deputy assistant secretary of state and career State Department official, “testified Tuesday that he worried that Hunter Biden’s position at the firm Burisma Holdings would complicate efforts by U.S. diplomats to convey to Ukrainian officials the importance of avoiding conflicts of interest.”
The sources told the Post that Kent “had concerns that Ukrainian officials would view Hunter Biden as a conduit for currying influence with his father, said the people.”
Kent reportedly told congressional investigators that Biden’s office dismissed his warning about the potentially problematic situation by saying the vice president did not have the “bandwidth” to address the Hunter-Burisma question because he was dealing with his other son, Beau, battling cancer.
“Kent, who also testified about how Trump’s associates raised unfounded allegations about the former ambassador to Ukraine, is the first known example of a career diplomat who raised concerns internally in the Obama administration about Hunter Biden’s board position,” the Post reports, noting that the paper “has previously reported that there had been discussions among Biden’s advisers about whether his son’s Ukraine work would be perceived as a conflict of interest, and that one former adviser had been concerned enough to mention it to Biden, though the conversation was brief.” (Read more from “Impeachment Witness Warned About Biden-Ukraine Problem in 2015 – Biden’s Office Dismissed Claim” HERE)