The Ukrainian energy company that hired former Vice President Joseph R. Biden’s son Hunter for its board of directors pressed the Obama State Department at the time to end a corruption investigation into the company, according to State Department documents.
Burisma Holdings, which employed the younger Biden as a board member with a $50,000-per-month salary, pushed for a meeting with a top State Department official to discuss terminating the Ukraine investigation in February 2016, the documents show.
As part of the push to end the Ukraine probe, a Burisma representative name-dropped the younger Biden.
The revelations strike at the heart of the House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry against President Trump, who is accused of abusing Oval Office power by prodding Ukraine to investigate the elder Biden, a political rival.
The State Department documents were first reported by journalist John Solomon, who obtained them through a Freedom of Information Act request.
A Feb. 24, 2016, email between State Department officials noted Karen Tramontano of Blue Star Strategies, a lobbying firm hired by Burisma to end the natural gas company’s corruption probe, invoked Hunter Biden’s name.
“She noted that two high-profile U.S. citizens are affiliated with the company (including Hunter Biden as a board member),” the email says.
The exchange occurred roughly one month before the elder Biden, who was leading President Obama’s effort in Ukraine, forced Kyiv to fire the country’s top prosecutor, who was looking into Burisma.
Ms. Tramontano secured a meeting with Undersecretary of State Catherine A. Novelli on March 1, 2016, but it is not clear if the meeting ever took place. Ms. Novelli was the most senior official overseeing international energy issues for the State Department.
Another U.S. citizen on Burisma’s board, Devon Archer, a business associate of Hunter Biden and then-Secretary of State John Kerry’s stepson Christopher Heinz, was able to secure a meeting with Mr. Kerry, according to the documents.
It was unclear if that meeting happened.
Roughly one month after the two scheduled meetings, the elder Biden threatened to withhold a $1 billion aid package for Ukraine unless the country’s leaders fired Viktor Shokin, the prosecutor investigating Burisma Holdings.
Mr. Shokin has claimed pressure from the United States as the reason for his firing. Ukrainian leaders have insisted that isn’t true, saying he was fired for not aggressively investigating corruption.