USA TODAY US Edition

GOP-led Se­nate pan­els is­sue Hunter Bi­den re­port

Find­ings: Con­flict of in­ter­est; im­pact un­clear

- Eric Tucker and Mary Clare Jalonick As­so­ci­ated Press US Elections · U.S. News · US Politics · Politics · Elections · Republican Party (United States) · United States Senate · Joe Biden · Washington · Ukraine · Barack Obama · U.S. government · Donald Trump · Department of Homeland Security · Homeland · United States of America · Kent · U.S. State Department · Hunter Biden · Kiev

WASH­ING­TON – Two Repub­li­can­led Se­nate com­mit­tees is­sued a po­lit­i­cally charged re­port Wed­nes­day al­leg­ing that the work Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Joe Bi­den’s son did in Ukraine con­sti­tuted a con­flict of in­ter­est for the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion at a time when Bi­den was en­gaged in Ukraine pol­icy as vice pres­i­dent.

But the re­port said it was ul­ti­mately “un­clear” what im­pact Hunter Bi­den’s po­si­tion on the board of a Ukrainian gas com­pany had on Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion pol­icy with re­gard to Ukraine. And it of­fered no ev­i­dence to sup­port one of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s more in­cen­di­ary al­le­ga­tions – that Joe Bi­den pres­sured Ukraine to fire its top pros­e­cu­tor as a way to pro­tect his son.

Bi­den’s cam­paign im­me­di­ately panned the re­port, re­leased six weeks be­fore the elec­tion, as an ef­fort by an ally of Trump to dam­age his elec­tion op­po­nent.

Trump has re­peat­edly drawn at­ten­tion to Hunter Bi­den’s work in Ukraine even as his own ad­min­is­tra­tion has warned of a con­certed Rus­sian ef­fort to den­i­grate Joe Bi­den and as­serted that a Ukrainian law­maker who is in­volved in spread­ing anti-Bi­den claims is an “ac­tive Rus­sian agent.”

Repub­li­can Sen. Ron John­son, whose Home­land Se­cu­rity and Gov­ern­men­tal Af­fairs Com­mit­tee is one of the two pan­els that re­leased the 87-page re­port, had ac­knowl­edged in in­ter­views his goal of mak­ing the doc­u­ment pub­lic be­fore the elec­tion, telling The As­so­ci­ated Press last month that the “Amer­i­can peo­ple de­serve the truth” about his probe.

The Se­nate re­port ex­am­ines Hunter Bi­den’s deal­ings in Ukraine, where he held a paid seat on the board of gas com­pany Burisma, and al­leges that work posed a con­flict of in­ter­est be­cause Bi­den was vice pres­i­dent at the time and deal­ing with Ukraine pol­icy.

It ref­er­ences a 2016 email from Ge­orge Kent, the for­mer act­ing deputy chief of mis­sion at the U.S. Em­bassy in Kyiv, that de­scribed the pres­ence of Hunter Bi­den on the Burisma board as “very awk­ward for all U.S. of­fi­cials push­ing an an­ti­cor­rup­tion agenda in Ukraine.” Kent tes­ti­fied about his con­cerns dur­ing the im­peach­ment pro­ceed­ings against Trump last year.

Another State Depart­ment of­fi­cial, Amos Hochstein, is de­scribed in the re­port as hav­ing raised con­cerns di­rectly to Bi­den be­cause he was con­cerned that Rus­sians were us­ing his son’s role with the com­pany to sow dis­in­for­ma­tion.

The re­port says that even though State Depart­ment of­fi­cials re­garded the head of the com­pany, Mykola Zlokevsky, as cor­rupt, Bi­den did not con­front him.

“What the Chair­men dis­cov­ered dur­ing the course of this in­ves­ti­ga­tion is that the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion knew that Hunter Bi­den’s po­si­tion on Burisma’s board was prob­lem­atic and did in­ter­fere in the ef­fi­cient ex­e­cu­tion of pol­icy with re­spect to Ukraine,” the re­port says.

“More­over, 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,” it adds.

Even so, the Repub­li­can se­na­tors ac­knowl­edge that the ex­tent to which Hunter Bi­den’s role on the board af­fected Ukraine pol­icy is “un­clear,” and the re­port does not de­scribe how, if at all, spe­cific pol­icy de­ci­sions were in­flu­enced by Bi­den’s po­si­tion.

 ?? AN­DREW HARNIK/AP ?? Sen. Ron John­son, R-Wis., made clear that he wanted the re­port out be­fore the elec­tion.
AN­DREW HARNIK/AP Sen. Ron John­son, R-Wis., made clear that he wanted the re­port out be­fore the elec­tion.

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