The House impeachment hearings against President Donald Trump heard testimony Friday that the Obama-era State Department was so concerned about the role of former Vice President Joe Biden’s son in the Ukrainian energy sector that they prepped the future U.S. ambassador on the issue before her confirmation hearings in 2016.
In her earlier testimony behind closed doors, former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovich told investigators that she was coached to answer the question “What can you tell us about Hunter Biden being named to the board of Burisma?” before her confirmation hearings in the U.S. Senate, according to a portion of the transcript read aloud by Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) Friday.
Yovanovitch first claimed the "previous administration" never "raised the issue of either Burisma or Hunter Biden with me."— Jason Howerton (@jason_howerton) November 15, 2019
Later, she tells Rep. @EliseStefanik that a "practice" Q&A from Obama admin was all about Hunter Biden and Burisma. pic.twitter.com/7iPdjFkNsH
Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, served on the board of the Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma Group from 2014 until April of this year. At the time, his father — vice president at the time — was tasked by the administration of former President Barack Obama with helping Ukraine reduce corruption.
The Trump administration has alleged that Hunter Biden was capitalizing on his father’s name when he accepted the position.
In the ongoing impeachment proceedings against Trump, Republicans have sought permission to question Hunter Biden about his role at Burisma, but have been rebuffed by the Democrats. In Friday’s hearings, Stefanik said Yovanovich’s assertion offers further evidence that Biden should be questioned.
“So for the millions of Americans watching, President Obama’s own State Department was so concerned about potential conflicts of interest from Hunter Biden’s role at Burisma that they raised it themselves while prepping this wonderful ambassador nominee before her confirmation,” Stefanik said. “And yet our Democratic colleagues and the chairman of this committee cry foul when we dare ask that same question that the Obama State Department was so concerned about. But we will continue asking it.”