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Kent transcript: Obama administration tried to partner with Hunter Biden’s Ukrainian gas firm but was blocked over corruption concerns

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For those who are on the “there is no reason to investigate anything related to the Bidens and 2015-2016” train, the wheels are getting wobbly just as you might be running out of track. 

 

George Kent, State Department official responsible for Ukraine and currently a Dem and Demedia darling, said something in his testimony that seems to have gone overlooked by the Demedia. Specifically, he told Congress that the Obama Admin tried to partner with Burisma in 2016. That USAID wanted to co-sponsor a clean energy contest with Burisma but could not because Burisma was under investigation in Ukraine for possible corruption. And Kent was the one who put the cabBash on USAID’s project. 

 

So we have the Obama Administration trying to work with Burisma, Joe Biden trying to get the prosecutor fired and Hunter Biden on the Board. I don’t know about the timeline here but it is a curious nexus of activity, no? 

 

Testimony bombshell: Obama administration tried to partner with Hunter Biden’s Ukrainian gas firm but was blocked over corruption concerns

 

November 7, 2019

 

A State Department official who served in the U.S. embassy in Kiev told Congress that the Obama administration tried in 2016 to partner with the Ukrainian gas firm that employed Hunter Biden but the project was blocked over corruption concerns.

 

George Kent, the former charge d’affair at the Kiev embassy, said in testimony released Thursday that the State Department’s main foreign aid agency, known as USAID, planned to co-sponsor a clean energy project with Burisma Holdings, the Ukrainian gas firm that employed Hunter Biden as a board member. 

 

At the time of the proposed project, Burisma was under investigation in Ukraine for alleged corruption. Those cases were settled in late 2016 and early 2017. Burisma contested allegations of corruption but paid a penalty for tax issues.

 

Kent testified he personally intervened in mid-2016 to stop USAID’s joint project with Burisma because American officials believed the corruption allegations against the gas firm raised concern.

 

“There apparently was an effort for Burisma to help cosponsor, I guess, a contest that USAID was sponsoring related to clean energy. And when I heard about it I asked USAID to stop that sponsorship,” Kent told lawmakers.

 

When asked why he intervened, he answered: “”Because Burisma had a poor reputation in the business, and I didn’t think it was appropriate for the U.S. Government to be co-sponsoring something with a company that had a bad reputation.”

 

Kent’s testimony confirms earlier text messages I reported on in September. Those text messages show that Devon Archer — Hunter Biden’s business associate and fellow board member on Burisma — boasted to an American lawyer in December 2015 that the pair was seeking to do a project with USAID.

 

At the time of the text, the New York Times had just reported that Burisma was under investigation in Ukraine and that the probe and Hunter Biden’s role in the company was undercutting Vice President Joe Biden’s efforts to root out corruption in Ukraine.

 

Archer’s text to the lawyer suggested he was working on a strategy to counter the “new wave of scrutiny” about Burisma caused by the Times’ story. He stated that he had just met at the State to discuss a new “USAID project the embassy is announcing with us” and that it was “perfect for us to move forward now with momentum.”

 

Kent’s stoppage of the USAID project adds to a growing body of evidence that Burisma and its corruption issues were causing heartburn inside the State Department during the end of Joe Biden’s tenure as Vice President.

 

Another State official has reportedly testified he tried to warn Biden’s office that the Burisma matter posed a conflict of interest but was turned away by the vice president’s aides.

 

And internal State memos I obtained this week under FOIA show Hunter Biden and Archer had multiple contacts with Secretary of State John Kerry and Deputy Secretary Tony Blinken in 2015-16, and that Burisma’s own American legal team was lobbying State to help eliminate the corruption allegations against it in Ukraine.

 

Hunter Biden’s name was specifically invoked as a reason why State officials should assist, the memos show. A month after Burisma’s contact with State, Joe Biden leveraged the threat of withholding U.S. foreign aid to force Ukraine to fire its chief prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, who at the time was overseeing the Burisma probe.

 

Joe Biden says he forced the firing because he believed Shokin was ineffective, but Shokin says he was told he was fired because the American ice president was unhappy the prosecutor would not drop the Burisma probe.

 

Also on Thursday, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson, R-Wis., asked the State Department to provide them all documents about Hunter Biden’s and Burisma’s contacts by end of this month.

 

It follows calls earlier in the week by Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C,, that there is enough concern about the Burisma case to now warrant an official Senate investigation. (Snipped)

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Al this going on around the same time as this

 

Quote

Ukrainian government officials tried to help Hillary Clinton and undermine Trump by publicly questioning his fitness for office. They also disseminated documents implicating a top Trump aide in corruption and suggested they were investigating the matter, only to back away after the election. And they helped Clinton’s allies research damaging information on Trump and his advisers, a Politico investigation found.

 

A Ukrainian-American operative who was consulting for the Democratic National Committee met with top officials in the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington in an effort to expose ties between Trump, top campaign aide Paul Manafort and Russia, according to people with direct knowledge of the situation.

The Ukrainian efforts had an impact in the race, helping to force Manafort’s resignation and advancing the narrative that Trump’s campaign was deeply connected to Ukraine’s foe to the east, Russia. 

Makes you think, dont it?  

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5 mins ago, Dave S said:

Al this going on around the same time as this

 

Makes you think, dont it?  

If you want something to think about, how’s this for a case of the Democrats’ over-reach slowly morphing into the ultimate narrative torpedo? They just HAD to make Ukraine, where the Biden’s have issues, the basis for their fauxpeachment investigation.

 

While we can argue whether the Dems collectively didn’t mind if Joe got thrown under the bus with Trump, they probably did not think about the public relations disaster it would be if it turned out Trump’s concerns about the 2016 election and Bidens’ conflicts were true. A good prosecutor never asks a question of a hostile witness in court to which the prosecutor does not already know the answer. Starting and investigation without knowing what other dirt will be raised is not smart. 

 

So yeah, the timing on all these things does make me think....

Johnson, Grassley ask State Department for Hunter Biden docs

Trump and Republicans have sought to deflect attention from the impeachment inquiry.

In a letter sent Wednesday, Johnson and Grassley requested the State Department provide additional information about how the Obama administration took steps to “ensure that policy decisions relating to Ukraine and Burisma were not improperly influenced by the employment and financial interests of family members.” 

 

In addition to records related to Hunter Biden, Johnson, the Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman, and Grassley, the Senate Finance Committee Chairman, asked for information related to his business partners Devon Archer and Christopher Heinz. Hunter Biden co-founded Rosemont Seneca Partners with Heinz, the stepson of former Secretary of State John Kerry, and Archer, who attended Yale with Heinz. 

 

The letter cites information newly released by the State Department under the Freedom of Information Act, and first reported by John Solomon, a contributor to Fox News. 

 

The release includes an internal State Department email detailing efforts by Karen Tramontano, chief executive of the consulting firm Blue Star Strategies, to meet with undersecretary of State Catherine Novelli in February 2016. Tramontano, whose firm worked for Burisma, wanted to raise concerns about remarks made by Geoffrey Pyatt, then the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, condemning Burisma for corruption, according to the email, which states that Tramontano cited Burisma’s ties to Hunter Biden. Grassley and Johnson requested additional information about the meeting. 

 

The release also includes emails referring to a 2015 meeting between Hunter Biden and Antony Blinken, a longtime Joe Biden aide who was then serving as deputy secretary of state, and a March 2, 2016, meeting between Kerry and Archer. Archer served on Burisma’s board alongside Hunter Biden.

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1 hour ago, The Dude said:

Is that the same Ron Johnson that put his signature on a letter to the Ukraine in 2016 asking them to remove the prosecutor? 

 

Yes. Yes it is.

 

:laugh:

And your point would be one in reality? Fact of the matter is, the chairs of these investigative committee’s, have oversight and can review those emails and react accordingly. With Johnson did or didn’t do back then somehow disqualifies his ability to conduct this review now?

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1 hour ago, The Dude said:

Is that the same Ron Johnson that put his signature on a letter to the Ukraine in 2016 asking them to remove the prosecutor? 

 

Yes. Yes it is.

 

:laugh:

Johnson's involvement is new to me, and It's kinda extensive. This is interesting

 

 

GOP senator says he doesn't remember signing 2016 letter urging 'reform' of Ukraine prosecutor's office

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) told reporters Thursday he did not recall signing a letter urging reforms in the office of the Ukrainian prosecutor President Trump has alleged former Vice President Joe Biden improperly had ousted, The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported.

Trump has repeatedly alleged Biden used his office to have Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin fired and prevent him from investigating a gas company whose board included Biden’s son Hunter.

CNN on Thursday reported that three Republican senators, including Johnson, Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and then-Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) signed a 2016 letter urging “urgent reforms to the Prosecutor General’s office and Judiciary.”

"I send out all kinds of oversight letters ... I don't know which 2016 oversight letter you're referring to so I will look at that and then we'll issue a press release, statement, or something — but I don't engage in hypocrisy. I'm looking at getting the truth,” Johnson said when asked about the letter.

Johnson did acknowledge the letter in an interview Thursday on WIBA's "The Vicki McKenna Show," saying "The whole world, by the way, including the Ukranian caucus, which I signed the letter, the whole world felt that this that Sholkin wasn't doing a [good] enough job. So we were saying hey you've ... got to rid yourself of corruption."

 

https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/464302-gop-senator-says-he-doesnt-remember-signing-2016-letter-urging-reform-of

 

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...."CNN uncovered a letter dated February 12, 2016, in which Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH), Ron Johnson (R-WI), and Mark Kirk (R-IL), along with several Democratic senators, called for Ukraine’s then-president to “press ahead with urgent reforms to the Prosecutor General’s office and judiciary.” Four days later, Shokin resigned (although he didn’t officially leave until the following month when Ukraine’s Parliament voted him out).

In other words, both Republicans and Democrats in the US — and many European nations — wanted Shokin gone for failing to clamp down on graft.

The letter is a major blow to Trump’s argument that Biden somehow went rogue and tried to get Shokin fired to protect his son. Biden himself has been incredibly consistent on this point, saying he legitimately pushed for the prosecutor’s ouster with international backing and that he never spoke to his son about his Ukraine work...

 

 

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10 mins ago, RiverRaider said:

 Roque from who ? 

He wasn't going rogue from those R's and D's in Congress who signed the letter, was he?

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21 mins ago, patchyfog said:

He wasn't going rogue from those R's and D's in Congress who signed the letter, was he?

Dunno’ but I’d take anything Trump sez’ with a grain of salt 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, FishinMortician said:

Well I don’t believe this OP.....because no way anything was seen as corrupt under the Obama regime.

It was just the way things were done in Chicago and Kenya.

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6 hours ago, patchyfog said:

...."CNN uncovered a letter dated February 12, 2016, in which Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH), Ron Johnson (R-WI), and Mark Kirk (R-IL), along with several Democratic senators, called for Ukraine’s then-president to “press ahead with urgent reforms to the Prosecutor General’s office and judiciary.” Four days later, Shokin resigned (although he didn’t officially leave until the following month when Ukraine’s Parliament voted him out).

In other words, both Republicans and Democrats in the US — and many European nations — wanted Shokin gone for failing to clamp down on graft.

The letter is a major blow to Trump’s argument that Biden somehow went rogue and tried to get Shokin fired to protect his son. Biden himself has been incredibly consistent on this point, saying he legitimately pushed for the prosecutor’s ouster with international backing and that he never spoke to his son about his Ukraine work...

 

 

Help me out, are you saying that there could not be different reasons for wanting Shokin out, depending on the player. It is easy to argue that the GOP senators and others wanted him out because he was corrupt himself and was not cleaning up corruption. But isn’t it also possible that Shokin's existing Burisma investigation was a problem specifically for those too close to the company, including Hunter Biden? 
 

It has been argued that Shokin was trying to shakedown Burisma and extract money from the company for his own gain, provided he not dig too deep. So I laugh when people think that the letter you cite somehow exonerates the Biden and/or nullifies Trump's concerns. 
 

But to your point, if this is all the world coming together to get rid of Shokin, then there should be nothing in any State Dept emails regarding Hunter Biden that the Bidens need to worry about, no? 
 

So if the Bidens have done no wrong, why should people need to complain about Johnson's alleged hypocrisy? Let the emails come out and then when it is proven there’s nothing to them, we can all laugh at Johnson together.

 

Good deal? 

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