- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 7, 2019

Two Republican senators are calling on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to release documents related to former Vice President Joseph R. Biden’s son and his work for a Ukrainian energy company, saying Hunter Biden’s role may have been used to influence the Obama State Department.

Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Sen. Charles E. Grassley of Iowa sent a letter to Mr. Pompeo on Wednesday requesting all State Department records related to Hunter Biden and Burisma Holdings, the company at issue in the impeachment inquiry.

They also want to know if the inspector general or another official at the State Department is reviewing potential conflicts of interest in connection to Hunter Biden’s work for Burisma while his father was vice president.

“Emails recently obtained and made public through a [Freedom of Information Act] request indicate that Burisma’s consulting firm used Hunter Biden’s role on Burisma’s board to gain access and potentially influence matters at the State Department,” the senators said.

The Ukrainian energy company hired Mr. Biden’s son for its board of directors, and then subsequently pressed the Obama State Department to end a corruption investigation into the company, according to the recently released 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.

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 Barack 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.

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.

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

• Alex Swoyer can be reached at aswoyer@washingtontimes.com.

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