Emails Reveal Biden/Burisma Influence at State Department

John Solomon has posted State Department emails involving a lobbyist named Karen Tramontano and Burisma, the Ukrainian natural gas company that paid Hunter Biden $3 million:

Hunter Biden and his Ukrainian gas firm colleagues had multiple contacts with the Obama State Department during the 2016 election cycle, including one just a month before Vice President Joe Biden forced Ukraine to fire the prosecutor investigating his son’s company for corruption, newly released memos show.

During that February 2016 contact, a U.S. representative for Burisma Holdings sought a meeting with Undersecretary of State Catherine A. Novelli to discuss ending the corruption allegations against the Ukrainian firm where Hunter Biden worked as a board member, according to memos obtained under a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. …
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Hunter Biden’s name, in fact, was specifically invoked by the Burisma representative as a reason the State Department should help, according to a series of email exchanges among U.S. officials trying to arrange the meeting.

This is a screen shot of the key email:

Blue Star Strategies is an upper-end Washington lobbying firm:

A dynamic, bipartisan interdisciplinary government relations and public affairs consultancy based in Washington, DC with offices in Europe and Latin America serving global clients.

Karen Tramontano is the CEO of Blue Star Strategies, so Burisma and Hunter Biden were well represented. Ms. Tramontano’s request resulted in a State Department meeting within a week.

Another interesting connection: In July 2017, Daniel Erikson was named a Managing Director of Blue Star, in charge of the firm’s Latin American practice:

Erikson has had an outstanding career as a diplomat in the U.S. State Department and the White House, where he served as special advisor for Western Hemisphere Affairs to Vice President Joseph Biden on national security and economic matters related to Mexico, Canada, Central America, the Caribbean, and South America. In that capacity, Erikson was a key architect of the U.S.-Mexico High Level Economic Dialogue, U.S.-Caribbean-Central America Energy Summit, and the U.S. strategy for the Northern Triangle of Central America.

So the evidence is clear that Burisma parlayed its $3 million connection with Hunter Biden into access to the U.S. State Department.

In my opinion, this is icing on the cake. Hunter Biden doesn’t speak Ukrainian. He has not worked in the natural gas industry, and knows little or nothing about business in Ukraine. There is only one reason why a Ukrainian natural gas company would pay him $3 million: his last name. Hunter essentially admitted as much in a television interview. Burisma obviously thought it was buying influence in the United States government, probably including particularly the State Department. Such influence would come not through Hunter Biden, who is of little consequence, but through his father, who was vice president and in charge of Ukraine policy for the Obama administration.

This is how bribes are usually paid. Not many people who seek improper influence are foolish enough to write checks to a public official, nor are many public officials foolish enough to cash such checks. The usual routine is to write checks to a family member of the public official, usually in exchange for nominal or nonexistent services. That evidently is what happened here.

Whether Joe Biden ever actually did anything for Burisma is beside the point. Burisma thought it was buying $3 million worth of influence in the Obama administration. This latest email exchange shows that Burisma did, in fact, get something for its money. But the corruption issue is the same, regardless.

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