Yuriy Lutsenko, the Ukrainian prosecutor who closed an investigation into Burisma —the Ukrainian gas company President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden worked for — said a lobbying company linked to Hunter Biden and Burisma had “pitched” him the offer of providing access to Hilary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, newly released emails revealed on Friday.
In an email released via FOIA request to Citizens United and shared with American Military News, former Obama State Department official George Kent described a meeting with Lutsenko in September 2016 to discuss his contacts with Blue Star Strategies — the lobbying firm that helped represent Burisma Holdings, on whose board Hunter Biden sat.
Fox News reported Hunter Biden joined Burisma in 2014 as it faced corruption allegations. Upon joining Burisma, Biden reportedly connected the firm with Blue Star Holdings in an effort to help them fight the corruption charges.
Viktor Shokin was the Ukrainian prosecutor originally tasked with investigating Burisma, but he was fired in April 2016. Lutsenko replaced Shokin and shut down the investigation into Burisma.
In Kent’s newly disclosed email, with the subject line “Lutsenko now likely not to go to DC with Blue Star, other Ukr issue comments,” Kent states Lutsenko “confirmed he has been pitched by Blue Star, not sought them out.”
“He said he honestly didn’t know how Blue Star was to get paid — he didn’t have funds — and that some BPP MP that we probably didn’t know ‘and that’s good’ (Truhubenko??) had introduced them to him,” Kent’s email continued. It’s unclear who “Truhubenko” is.
“Blue Star CEO [Karen] Tramantano’s pitch was that she could gain him access to high levels of the Clinton campaign (GPK note: she was Podesta’s deputy as deputy COS the last year of Bill Clinton’s tenure), and that was appealing—to meet the possible next Presidential Chief of Staff,” Kent’s email added. “But I pointed out that wasn’t too likely 6 weeks before the election, and that the embassies could arrange meetings at DOJ and State, and the Ukr embassy on the Hill.”
In his email, Kent noted Blue Star Strategy’s connections with Burisma, writing, “In connection to Blue Star, I noted their representation of Burisma/Zlochevsky,” referring to its owner Mykola Zlochevsky, who was also the subject of investigation.
Kent reportedly sent that email to the former assistant secretary for fossil energy Christopher Smith, former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch and Alan Purcell, who served as the chief political officer at the U.S. Embassy in Kiev from 2014 to 2017.
President Donald Trump’s questions to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy about the firing of the Ukrainian prosecutor Shokin were the subject of a Democrat-led 2019 impeachment effort. Kent and Yovanovitch both testified in the impeachment trial.
In his impeachment testimony, Kent said he warned Joe Biden’s office in 2015 that Hunter Biden’s role on the board of Burisma could present “the perception of a conflict of interest.” Kent also said he would “love” to see Ukraine look into the circumstances surrounding the closure of the Burisma investigation.
In her impeachment testimony, Yovanovitch said didn’t know much about Burisma and only learned of its connections to Biden through “press reports.”
Last week Politico first reported Blue Star Strategies may be under investigation for potential illegal lobbying practices. That investigation is reportedly being run out of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Delaware. That same office is leading the federal investigation into Hunter Biden’s “tax affairs.”
In December, Hunter Biden announced he was aware of the investigation into his tax affairs. He said, “I take this matter very seriously but I am confident that a professional and objective review of these matters will demonstrate that I handled my affairs legally and appropriately, including with the benefit of professional tax advisors.”
In a 2018 panel discussion, Joe Biden described his role as then-vice president two years earlier in overseeing the Barack Obama administration’s foreign policy mission to Ukraine. In the panel discussion, the elder Biden talked about a 2016 visit to Ukraine in which he described withholding a $1 billion loan guarantee to the country in exchange for the firing of a Ukrainian prosecutor. That fired prosecutor is believed to be Shokin and in February 2020, Ukraine’s State Bureau of Investigations said they were investigating the firing incident.