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.
The Post also stresses that Kent’s testimony demonstrates that the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry has the potential to dig up information related to the Bidens that could undermine the Democratic presidential candidate, who is still the party frontrunner, according to multiple polls.
The Post goes on to acknowledge that Trump is not the only one who has raised allegations about the Bidens and Ukraine, as the Democratic frontrunner has “faced questions about why he didn’t anticipate concerns about potential conflicts of interest as he took a leading role in carrying out U.S. policy toward Ukraine.”
A former senior Biden national security aide told the Post that while the former Vice President was dealing with Beau’s ultimately fatal bout with cancer at the time, it had a “minimal impact on his work,” the Post reports.