Headline of the Day

“Moreover, this investigation has illustrated the extent to which officials within the Obama administration ignored the glaring warning signs when the vice president’s son joined the board of a company owned by a corrupt Ukrainian oligarch.”

The Republican-led Senate Homeland Security and Finance Committees released the interim report on Joe Biden’s son Hunter’s role on the Burisma board, a Ukrainian natural gas firm.

I remember many publications raising an eyebrow when Hunter joined the Burisma board, especially since President Barack Obama appointed his then-Vice President Joe Biden to oversee Ukraine’s transition from a presidency under a pro-Russian president to a pro-Western president:

On April 16, 2014, Vice President Biden met with his son’s business partner, Devon Archer, at the White House. Five days later, Vice President Biden visited Ukraine, and he soon after was described in the press as the “public face of the administration’s handling of Ukraine.” The day after his visit, on April 22, Archer joined the board of Burisma. Six days later, on April 28, British officials seized $23 million from the London bank accounts of Burisma’s owner, Mykola Zlochevsky. Fourteen days later, on May 12, Hunter Biden joined the board of Burisma, and over the course of the next several years, Hunter Biden and Devon Archer were paid millions of dollars from a corrupt Ukrainian oligarch for their participation on the board.

The 87-page report found that people in Obama’s administration knew that Hunter’s position was “problematic” and it interfered with the U.S. trying to execute “policy with respect to Ukraine.” But concerns went ignored:

Moreover, this investigation has illustrated the extent to which officials within the Obama administration ignored the glaring warning signs when the vice president’s son joined the board of a company owned by a corrupt Ukrainian oligarch. And, as will be discussed in later sections, Hunter Biden was not the only Biden who cashed in on Joe Biden’s vice presidency. Former Acting Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Kyic (sic) George Kent and State Department official Amos Hochstein raised concerns.

State Department official Amos Hochstein “raised concerns” with Biden and Hunter about the role because it “enabled Russian disinformation efforts and risked undermining U.S. policy in Ukraine.”

Also in 2015, former Acting Deputy Chief of Mission at the u.S. Embassy in Kyiv George Kent told Biden’s office that Hunter’s position on the board was an obvious conflict of interest. No one listened to him. Kent stressed in a 2016 email: “Furthermore, the presence of Hunter Biden on the Burisma board was very awkward for all U.S. officials an anticorruption agenda in Ukraine.”

Kent repeated these concerns when he testified last November:

“The pervasive and longstanding problem of corruption in Ukraine included exposure to a situation involving the energy company Burisma,” said Kent. “The primary concern of the U.S. government since 2014 was Burisma’s owner, Mykola Zlochevsky, whose frozen assets abroad we had attempted to recover on Ukraine’s behalf.”

Burisma was owned by Mykola Zlochevsky, an ally of the pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych. A 2012 Ukrainian investigation included allegations against him of money laundering, tax evasion, and corruption.

The Senate report found that Hunter “formed significant and consistent financial relationships” with Zlochevsky. It also found that Archer’s firms “made millions of dollars from that association:”

In addition to the over $4 million paid by Burisma for Hunter Biden’s and Archer’s board memberships, Hunter Biden, his family, and Archer received millions of dollars from foreign nationals with questionable backgrounds.

Archer received $142,300 from Kenges Rakishev of Kazakhstan, purportedly for a car, the same day Vice President Joe Biden appeared with Ukrainian Prime Minister Arsemy Yasenyuk and addressed Ukrainian legislators in Kyiv regarding Russia’s actions in Crimea.

Hunter Biden received a $3.5 million wire transfer from Elena Baturina, the wife of the former mayor of Moscow.

Hunter Biden opened a bank account with Gongwen Dong to fund a $100,000 global spending spree with James Biden and Sara Biden

Hunter Biden had business associations with Ye Jianming, Gongwen Dong, and other Chinese nationals linked to the Communist government and the People’s Liberation Army. Those associations resulted in millions of dollars in cash flow.

Hunter Biden paid nonresident women who were nationals of Russia or other Eastern European countries and who appear to be linked to an “Eastern European prostitution or human trafficking ring.”

Hunter was on the Burisma board “when Zlochevsky allegedly paid a $7 million bribe to officials serving under Ukraine’s prosecutor general, Vitaly Yarema, to ‘shut the case against Zlochevsky.’”

Kent and the Resident Legal advisor “reported this allegation to the FBI.”