EXCLUSIVE: Former Ukrainian prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko told former Obama State Department official George Kent he was “presented” by a lobbying firm linked to Hunter Biden and Burisma to give him “access “at ‘high levels’ of the Clinton campaign in the weeks leading up to the 2016 presidential election, according to emails between former Obama State Department officials obtained by Fox News.
Lobbying firm Blue Star Strategies is reportedly under federal investigation for possible illegal lobbying. Politico first reported the investigation, which would take place as the Justice Department ramps up enforcement efforts by foreign governments to influence US policy. These efforts have been linked to the work of Republicans, but the Blue Star investigation also puts companies and agents linked to the Democratic Party under the microscope.
In an email released Thursday to Citizens United as part of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) filing, and obtained by Fox News, the former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eastern European George Kent has written to a number of Obama administration officials about a meeting he had with Ukrainian Prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko in September 2016 regarding Blue Star Strategies.
EMAILS TO HUNTER BIDEN SHOW MEETING PLANS WITH STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICERS ABOUT BURISMA
The email, with the subject line “Lutsenko now likely not to go to DC with Blue Star, further comments on the Ukr problem”, was sent by Kent to the former deputy secretary at the fossil fuel Christopher Smith, former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch and Alan Purcell, Kyiv Embassy Policy Officer from 2014 to 2017.
In the email dated September 4, 2016, Kent writes that he met Lutsenko “one-on-one after I texted him about stories he was using a third-party lobbyist to organize a planned trip. in DC turned into a cat on Thai food at DCR. ”
Kent, a key witness to the first impeachment proceedings against former President Trump in 2019, said the two discussed options of a trip Lutsenko had planned to the United States and “confirmed that it was presented by Blue Star, not wanted. ”
“He said he honestly didn’t know how Blue Star was to be paid – he didn’t have any money – and that a BPP MP we probably didn’t know” and that’s good “(Truhubenko? ?) had presented them to him, “Kent wrote. It is not known who “Truhubenko” is.
“CEO of the Blue Star [Karen] Tramantano’s argument was that she could allow him access to high levels of the Clinton campaign (GPK note: she was Podesta’s deputy as Deputy COS in the last year of Bill Clinton’s tenure), and it was attractive – meeting the possible next presidential chief of staff, ”Kent wrote.
“But I stressed that it was not too likely 6 weeks before the elections and that the embassies could organize meetings at the DOJ and in the state, as well as at the Ukrainian embassy on the Hill,” he continued. “As for the Hill, few members would be about 6 weeks before an election when Congress was on vacation, and the attention of the talkative think tank class would be on UNGA. This isn’t the best. moment, aside from the DOJ and the State. ”
Kent then wrote on Blue Star Strategies, which helped represent Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma Holdings, where Hunter Biden served on the board.
“As for Blue Star, I noted their portrayal of Burisma / Zlochevsky,” Kent wrote.
Hunter Biden joined Burisma in 2014 and, at the time, reportedly connected Burisma with Blue Star to help the company fight corruption charges. The founder of Burisma, Mykola Zlochevsky, the former minister of ecologies, had been the subject of an investigation in Ukraine.
The Obama administration has been pushing for the prosecutor investigating Zlochevsky, Viktor Shokin, to be removed from his post. Shokin was sacked in April 2016 and the case was closed by the prosecutor who replaced him, Lutsenko. Joe Biden once bragged on camera that when he was vice president he had successfully put pressure on Ukraine to sack Shokin.
Biden’s allies, however, argue that his intervention had nothing to do with his son, but rather related to the administration’s concerns over corruption in Ukraine. At the time, as vice president to former President Obama, Biden led US-Ukraine policy and anti-corruption campaigns.
HUNTER BIDEN SAYS IN BRIEF THAT HE WON’T RETURN TO WORK AT BURISMA, BUT INSISTS IT WAS NOT “IMALTHIC”
Burisma Holdings was at the center of the first impeachment proceedings against former President Trump in 2019, after pressing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during a phone call to examine the Biden family’s relations in Ukraine.
In the email, Kent went on to describe the 2016 election reporting related to Ukrainian lobbying, including the work of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who had a lucrative political consultancy business that understood Ukraine and then pleaded guilty to financial crimes arising from it. job; as well as the work of Tony Podesta, brother of former Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, who also lobbied Ukraine; money from Ukrainian businessman Victor Pinchuk to the Clinton Foundation; and others.
Kent said during his conversation with Lutsenko that he “mentioned the various cash flows from Ukraine to lobbyists who made headlines last month, be it Manafort / Klueyev via Brussels to the group. Podesta and Weber / Mercury, Justice Minister from Yanu Lavrynovych to Skaden / arps-and Greg Caid-and Pinchuk to the Clinton Foundation, and media attention currently being given to the Kiev / Washington lobbyists’ gravy train… And he got it. Not ideal timing, unresponsive audience and poor host, “Kent wrote.
Kent added: “He said he would find a better time where there was more traction / a better audience.”
Kent and Yovanovitch both testified in connection with Trump’s impeachment in 2019.
Kent, during his testimony, said he raised concerns with Biden’s office in 2015 that Hunter Biden’s role on Burisma’s board could present “the possibility of the perception of conflict of interest “.
Kent also said he “would love” to see Ukraine examine the circumstances surrounding the closure of the Burisma investigation.
STATE DEPARTMENT E-MAILS INDICATE THAT YOVANOVITCH MET THE BURISMA REPRESENTATIVE, DESPITE A TESTIMONY
Yovanovitch said she didn’t know much about Burisma Holdings and noted that she only learned of her connection to Biden through “news articles” she read while preparing for his confirmation hearing in the Senate.
Fox News, however, first reported last year after getting a note posted via a Citizens United FOIA that Yovanovitch had met Blue Star Strategies CEO Karen Tramontano as a representative for Burisma at the interior of the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine on December 8, 2016.
Meanwhile, last year, the Senate Homeland Security Committee, chaired at the time by Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., Approved subpoenas for Blue Star Strategies as part of its investigation into Hunter Biden’s role on Burisma’s board of directors; and whether individuals in the company abused the relationship with the then vice president’s son to “influence” US government agencies.
At the time, Tramontano said the company would cooperate with the committee.
Meanwhile, the investigation into Blue Star Strategies is said to be led by the Delaware attorney’s office – the same office that heads the federal investigation into Hunter Biden’s “tax matters”.
The Justice Department declined to comment on the existence of an investigation.
Biden announced he was under a federal investigation for his tax matters in December 2020, following the presidential election.
At the time, a prominent government source told Fox News that Hunter Biden was the subject / target of a grand jury investigation. According to the source, a “target” means that there is a “high probability that this person has committed a crime”, while a “subject” is someone who “you are not sure” has committed. a crime.
The source also told Fox News that the investigation was based, in part, on Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) regarding foreign transactions. Another source close to the investigation told Fox News that the SAR involved funds coming from “China and other foreign countries.”
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The investigation, according to a source familiar with the matter, began in 2018.
Hunter Biden maintained that he had done nothing wrong. In his December statement making the inquiry public, Hunter Biden said he took “this matter very seriously” and was “confident that a professional and objective review of these matters will demonstrate that I have treated my affairs in a manner that is correct. legal and appropriate, including with the assistance of professional tax advisers. “
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