Emails to Hunter Biden show plans to meet with State Department officials about Burisma probe
Senate report: Obama officials knew Hunter Biden’s Burisma tie was ‘problematic’
Jim Hanson, president of security studies, on concerns about the business dealings of Joe Biden’s son.
An adviser for Ukrainian natural gas firm Burisma Holdings in 2014 requested that Hunter Biden give “advice” on how the son of then-Vice President Joe Biden could use his “influence to convey a message” to “stop” what the company considered to be “politically motivated actions,” according to emails obtained by Fox News on Wednesday.
The email from Burisma adviser Vadim Pozharskyi came as part of a longer email chain, in which Hunter Biden and his business partner Devon Archer purportedly discussed issues and an investigation into Burisma Holdings and its founder, the former Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources of Ukraine, Mykola Zlochevsky, as well discussions with an attorney, Heather King, to help orchestrate meetings at the State Department during the Obama administration about Burisma.
In an email dated May 12, 2014, obtained by Fox News, Pozharskyi, writing to Hunter Biden and Archer, raised concerns that “one or more pretrial proceedings were initiated by the Ministry of Internal Affairs with regard to Burisma Holdings companies that are heavily engaged in gas production and happen to be our Holdings’ key companies.”
Pozharskyi also wrote that they had received “unofficial ‘communications,” which “would entail blackmailing: in case we don’t cooperate.”
“The Ministry of Internal Affairs contacted the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources and the State Geological and Subsurface Survey of Ukraine to obtain all documents concerning licenses issued since 2006 until now to the companies of our Holding,” Pozharskyi wrote. “These are typical instruments to destabilize business.”
Re_ urgent issue-IMPORTANT … by Fox News
He wrote to Hunter Biden seeking help with the matter.
“We urgently need your advice on how you could use your influence to convey a message / signal, etc .to stop what we consider to be politically motivated actions,” Pozharskyi wrote.
The same day, Archer forwarded the email to Heather King, a partner for Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP, requesting to “discuss” once she reviewed Pozharskyi’s email.
King replied that the email from Pozharskyi “has precipitated a conversation I wanted to have with you anyway.”
“As part of our ongoing strategy, I would ideally like for BSF to engage a lobbyist of our choosing to work with me,” King wrote, adding that the law firm would “lead all this work and can execute the political and legal work right up to the line where we would need to register as lobbyists, but I don’t want to register under the lobbying disclosure act or the foreign agents registration act.”
King writes that she has “the right person picked out” and can “casually and broadly discuss the issues with him.”
The individual King was referring to was a David Leiter, who she describes as “good, trust-worthy, understands energy issues and Ukraine, and he is very close” with Secretary of State John Kerry.” King notes that he was formerly Kerry’s chief of staff, which is how she knew him.
“If it’s okay with you, I’ll have a more pointed conversation with him today so we can get moving, starting with key State [Department] officials we need to start talking to this week,” she wrote.
Archer replied: “Move ahead.”
Later that day, King sent Hunter Biden and Archer an email, saying that “the immediate plan is to reach out to the Energy and Ukraine desks, respectively at State [Department] to introduce them to Burisma and ‘update’ them on Burisma’s current situation, which will include the issues you’ve emailed me about today per Vadim’s emails to you.”
“We can’t just go in there with a hard ask but it is often the case that the conversation is open to an ask, assuming it goes well,” King wrote. It is unclear what “ask” she was referring to.
Archer replied saying that it sounded “appropriate,” and directed King to “communicate to Vadim the immediate moves.”
At the time, Burisma Holdings, and its founder Mykola Zlochevsky, was under investigation in Ukraine by prosecutor Viktor Shokin. Shokin, in an interview with former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani in 2019, said that Zlochevsky appointed Hunter Biden to the board of Burisma “in order to protect himself.”
The emails to set up meetings at the State Department regarding the investigation into Burisma came nearly two years before former Vice President Biden purportedly pressured government officials in Ukraine to fire Shokin.
Biden once famously boasted on camera that when he was vice president and spearheading the Obama administration’s Ukraine policy, he successfully pressured Ukraine to fire Shokin, who was the top prosecutor at the time.
“I looked at them and said: I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money,” Biden infamously said to the Council on Foreign Relations in 2018.
“Well, son of a b—,” he continued. “He got fired.”
Biden and Biden allies have maintained, though, that his intervention prompting the firing of Shokin had nothing to do with his son, but rather was tied to corruption concerns.
The firing of Shokin was broadly sought by U.S. and European officials due to his failure to rein in corruption in Ukraine, and reflected official Obama administration policy.
The new emails, specifically those referring to the State Department, come just weeks after the Senate Homeland Security Committee and Senate Finance Committee released an interim report on their months-long investigation into Hunter Biden’s role with Burisma.
The 87-page report stated that Obama administration officials “knew” that Hunter Biden’s position on the board of Burisma was “problematic” and that it interfered “in the efficient execution of policy with respect to Ukraine.”
“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 report’s executive summary stated.
“Even though Hunter Biden’s position on Burisma’s board cast a shadow over the work of those advancing anticorruption reforms in Ukraine, the Committees are only aware of two individuals who raised concerns to their superiors,” the Senate report stated. “Despite the efforts of these individuals, their concerns appear to have fallen on deaf ears.”
The report stated that State Department official George Kent, who testified during Trump’s impeachment hearings last year, and Amos Hochstein, the former U.S. special envoy and coordinator for International Energy Affairs, raised concerns to the former vice president’s office.
During the impeachment inquiry, Kent testified that he repeatedly raised concerns with the Obama administration about Burisma. Kent said that he raised concerns with the former vice president's office in 2015 that Hunter Biden’s role on the board of Burisma could present “the possibility of the perception of a conflict of interest.”
Kent also testified that it was his and other officials’ “strong assumption” that the founder of Burisma, Mykola Zlochevsky, had stolen money, and that a prosecutor had taken “a bribe to close the case.”
Shokin was fired in April 2016, and the case was closed by the prosecutor who replaced him, Yuriy Lutsenko.
Meanwhile, the new emails obtained by Fox News come after the New York Post obtained emails that reveal that Hunter Biden introduced his father to a top executive at Burisma Holdings in 2015.
The Post report revealed that Biden, at Hunter’s request, met with Vadym Pozharskyi in April 2015 in Washington, D.C.
Meeting for coffee .rtf by Fox News
The meeting was mentioned in an email of appreciation, according to the Post, that Pozharskyi sent to Hunter Biden on April 17, 2015 — a year after Hunter took on his position on the board of Burisma.
“Dear Hunter, thank you for inviting me to DC and giving an opportunity to meet your father and spent some time together. It’s realty [sic] an honor and pleasure,” the email read.
The emails turned up in the hard drive of a laptop dropped off at a repair shop in 2019, the Post reported, adding that a copy of the hard drive ended up in the hands of Robert Costello, a lawyer for Rudy Giuliani, a personal attorney for President Trump.
The Biden campaign hit back on Wednesday: "Investigations by the press, during impeachment, and even by two Republican-led Senate committees whose work was decried as 'not legitimate' and political by a GOP colleague have all reached the same conclusion: that Joe Biden carried out official U.S. policy toward Ukraine and engaged in no wrongdoing.”
A Biden campaign spokesman said that Trump administration officials testified that the former vice president did not engage in wrongdoing.
"The New York Post never asked the Biden campaign about the critical elements of this story," Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates said. "They certainly never raised that Rudy Giuliani — whose discredited conspiracy theories and alliance with figures connected to Russian intelligence have been widely reported — claimed to have such materials.”
Bates said campaign officials also reviewed Biden's officials schedules from the time and the meeting alleged by the New York Post did not take place.
Meanwhile, the Post reported Wednesday the emails were part of a trove of data recovered from a laptop, which was dropped off at a repair shop in Delaware in April 2019.
The Post reported that other material turned up on the laptop, including a video, which they described as showing Hunter smoking crack while engaged in a sexual act with an unidentified woman and other sexually explicit images.
The FBI reportedly seized the computer and hard drive in December 2019. The shop owner, though, said he made a copy of the hard drive and later gave it to Costello.
The Post reported that the FBI referred questions about the hard drive and laptop to the Delaware U.S. Attorney’s Office, where a spokesperson told the outlet that the office “can neither confirm nor deny the existence of an investigation.”
A lawyer for Hunter Biden did not comment on specifics, but instead told the Post that Giuliani “has been pushing widely discredited conspiracy theories about the Biden family, openly relying on actors tied to Russian intelligence.”
Biden’s role on the board of Burisma and his business dealings emerged during the Trump impeachment inquiry in 2019.
Trump, during his now-infamous July 25, 2019, phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, pressed for Kiev to look into the elder Biden's role pressing for the ouster of a Ukrainian prosecutor who had been investigating the founder of Burisma.
Trump's pressure campaign against Ukraine prompted a whistleblower complaint, and, in turn, the impeachment inquiry.
The president’s request came after millions in U.S. military aid to Ukraine had been frozen, which Democrats cited as a quid pro quo arrangement.
Trump was acquitted on both articles of impeachment – abuse of power and obstruction of Congress – this past February.
Fox News' Sam Dorman contributed to this report.
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