Newly released State Department memos reveal that the Ukrainian gas company Burisma Holdings landed a deal with an Obama administration renewable energy program. Burisma signed the deal with the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Municipal Energy Reform Project in Ukraine (MERP) in October 2014. A copy of this agreement was obtained by Just The News.
There are several troubling details about this deal that support the belief that Hunter Biden was selling access and influence with the Obama administration. Let’s look at the facts:
The deal was made soon after Hunter Biden joined the board at Burisma
Hunter Biden got his lucrative position on the board of Burisma Holdings in May 2014, despite having no experience in the field. His only qualification was that his father was the vice president of the United States and was Obama’s point man for U.S. relations with Ukraine. Despite Hunter Biden’s lack of qualifications, he made between $80,000 and $166,000 a month, sparking allegations that he was selling access to the White House. Burisma’s MERP deal with the Obama administration was made six months after Hunter Biden joined their board. Are we really supposed to believe that was just a coincidence?
Burisma was under a corruption investigation at the time of the deal
The timing of the deal is also noteworthy because when the deal was signed Burisma was the subject of two separate corruption investigations into the company’s alleged financial schemes. One investigation was by the British government and the other by the Ukrainian government. Burisma’s notorious corruption would have been enough of a red flag to avoid entering into a deal with them, but being the subject of two corruption investigations raises even more questions about how that deal could have possibly been approved without the Biden connection.
The program was championed by one of Joe Biden’s key advisers
Amos Hochstein, Joe Biden’s energy advisor at the time, had championed the MERP program during a July 2014 Senate hearing in July 2014—a mere three months before the Memorandum of Understanding between Burisma and MERP was signed.
“It is critical that Ukraine reduce the country’s energy intensity,” Hochstein testified. “Thankfully, the United States has a long history of support for energy efficiency in Ukraine. Most recently, USAID’s Municipal Energy Reform Project (MER Project) is designed to enhance Ukraine’s energy security as well as to reduce and mitigate GHG emissions resulting from the poor use of energy resources in Ukrainian municipalities.”
Last year, the Washington Examiner reported that Hochstein also met with the American firm Blue Star Strategies, which had been hired by Bursima to repair its public image with regard to corruption. According to a report from New Yorker magazine, Hochstein also had a “direct conversation” with then-Vice President Joe Biden about his son’s role with Burisma.
Now, let’s look at what we previously knew about the corrupt Biden/Burisma connection:
The State Department ‘raised alarms’ about Hunter Biden’s position at Burisma
Last October, Biden campaign spokeswoman Kate Bedingfield revealed that the Obama administration gave Hunter the green light to serve on board of Burisma Holdings. “Every single independent outlet that’s looked into this has said there’s no issue of wrongdoing here,” Bedingfield claimed, before adding, “In 2014 the White House cleared Hunter Biden serving on that board.” But later, a career State Department official overseeing Ukraine policy testified that he raised concerns about then-Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter serving on the board of Burisma Holdings back in early 2015, but was “turned away by a Biden staffer.” According to the Washington Post, George Kent, a deputy assistant secretary of state, was “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.” Kent was concerned that Ukrainian officials would see Hunter Biden as a “conduit for currying influence with his father.”
According to several sources connected with the company, Hunter Biden was regarded as “a helpful non-executive director with a powerful name” to protect the company during a time that it was facing multiple investigations.
In 2016, Joe Biden threatened Ukrainian officials that he would withhold a $1 billion loan to the country unless they fired Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin, who was investigating Burisma at the time.
Hunter Biden was directly communicating with the Obama state department before Shokin was fired
Hunter Biden and other officials at Burisma Holdings had multiple contacts with the Obama State Department in 2016, “including one just a month before Vice President Joe Biden forced Ukraine to fire the prosecutor investigating his son’s company for corruption.”
Three weeks after Ukrainian officials raided the home of Burisma’s owner, who employed Hunter Biden, a U.S. representative for Burisma “sought a meeting with Undersecretary of State Catherine A. Novelli to discuss ending the corruption allegations against” the company. Hunter Biden was specifically mentioned in a February 2016 email between two State Department employees as a reason the Obama State Department should help quash the investigation.
On May 22, 2015, Hunter Biden set up a meeting with his father’s longtime trusted aide and Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken. That meeting occurred on May 27, 2015, and State Department records show that they met again for lunch on July 22, 2015. It’s not known what they discussed.
Devon Archer, who sat on the board of Burisma, met with Secretary of State John Kerry on March 2, 2016. “Devon Archer coming to see [Secrtary of State] today at 3pm – need someone to meet/greet him at C Street,” reads an email from Kerry’s office manager.
It’s clear that representatives of Burisma, including Hunter Biden, had multiple contacts inside the State Department while they were trying to quash multiple investigations into their company.
Shokin was fired because his investigation wasn’t in the best interest of the Bidens
When asked about his threat to withhold $1 billion from Ukraine to protect Burisma, Biden said he was simply carrying out the “official policy” of the Obama administration to root out corruption in Ukraine. “It was a fully transparent policy carried out in front of the whole world and fully, fully embraced by the international community of democracies,” he claimed.
But, according to Viktor Shokin, Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko told him not to investigate Burisma because it was not in the best interests of Joe and/or Hunter Biden.
Leaked audio posted to YouTube last month also proves that Joe Biden pushed for Shokin’s ouster despite there being no evidence of wrongdoing against him.
“Despite the fact that we did not have any corruption charges, we don’t have any information about him doing something wrong… I special [sic] asked him to resign,” Ukrainian president Poroshenko told Biden. Shokin also had the support of parliament.
Joe Biden has lied about his knowledge of Hunter’s business dealings
Joe Biden has repeatedly claimed that he never discussed his son’s business dealings, but these claims were previously undermined by the release of a photo showing the two Bidens playing golf with Devon Archer, and by Hunter Biden himself, who told The New Yorker back in July that they had discussed it at least once.
When you look at this evidence, none of it looks good for Joe Biden.
Matt Margolis is the author of Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis