A new report confirmed by multiple outlets claims concerns about Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s links to Ukraine were voiced as early as 2015, while Biden was still vice president in the administration of former President Barack Obama.
On Friday, The Washington Post cited what it said was testimony to congressional investigators that the concerns were rejected by members of the former vice president’s staff in early 2015. The Post cited three unnamed people as the sources for this report.
According to The Post, Kent testified Tuesday that Hunter Biden’s position at the Ukrainian energy firm Burisma Holdings was worrisome because of its optics, considering Hunter Biden was the son of a sitting U.S. vice president.
At the time, U.S. officials were trying to encourage Ukraine government officials to avoid conflicts of interest.
Kent testified that Hunter Biden would appear to be what The Post termed “a conduit for currying influence with his father,” the outlet reported its sources said.
Kent reportedly testified that he raised his concerns with Biden’s office.
He said he was rebuffed with the response that the then-vice president did not have the “bandwidth” to address the issue because he was focused on his other son, Beau, who was dying of cancer, according to The Post.
Citing an unnamed congressional source, Fox News reported Friday that Kent testified Biden’s staff “blew him off” and ignored Kent’s concerns.
During his Tuesday deposition, Kent said Burisma, the company for which Hunter Biden worked, was a concern due to allegations of corruption against it, adding that it was a “big problem” in Ukraine at the time, according to Fox.
Kent testified that although Biden pushed Ukraine to drop one prosecutor looking into Burisma on the grounds of corruption, a second prosecutor who was considered similarly corrupt was not the target of U.S. pressure, Fox reported.
The Biden campaign released a sharp statement in response to the allegations.
“Donald Trump’s unprecedentedly corrupt administration is melting down because of the scandal he touched-off by trying to get Ukraine to lie about Joe Biden — and as the vice president said yesterday, he should release his tax returns or shut up,” campaign spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement to CNN.
“On Joe Biden’s watch, the US made eradicating corruption a centerpiece of our policies toward Ukraine, including achieving the removal of an inept prosecutor who shielded wrongdoers from accountability.”
However, President Donald Trump said Kent’s comments held vast significance,
“He excoriated the Obama administration and Joe Biden and Joe Biden’s son, saying that he has tremendous problems, tremendous problems, with Joe Biden’s son and the Ukraine,” Trump said Friday. “It’s been a big deal.”
Corey Lewandowski, who served as Trump’s campaign manager in 2016, said the significance of Kent’s testimony is being underplayed by the media in order to protect Joe Biden.
“We haven’t seen any of the mainstream media covering this because this is an attack on Joe Biden,” he said Friday on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle.”
“The liberal left is rallying around Joe Biden. And, the truth is, we know what Hunter Biden has now said: If his father gets elected president, he won’t join any foreign boards [and] he won’t try and influence his father,” Lewandowski said in reference to comments made by Hunter Biden to the media that he would eschew any role in a Biden administration.
“When it’s the Democrats doing this, [the media] turns a blind eye to it,” Lewandowski said. “It’s just not going to happen, we know that, so these are just false promises.”
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