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Burisma Consultant with Links to Hunter Biden Tried to Meet with State Dept. Official about ‘Troubling Events’ in Ukraine

Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter attend an NCAA basketball game in Washington, D.C., January 30, 2010. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

A consultant for Burisma with links to Hunter Biden approached a top State Department official in June 2016 to discuss “troubling events” in Ukraine, according to newly released State Department emails.

Consultant Sally Painter of Blue Star Strategies was at the time working with Burisma, the Ukrainian natural gas company, to quash corruption investigations into the firm. Painter approached then-deputy secretary of state Tony Blinken at an event for the Truman National Security Project, and sent an email to Blinken’s top aide three days later requesting a second meeting with the deputy secretary.

“Per my conversation with Tony at the Truman event, [Painter’s Blue Star partner] Karen Tramontano and I would like to have a brief coffee with Tony at his earliest convenience regarding some troubling events we are seeing n [sic] Ukraine,” Painter wrote in a June 27, 2016 email first reported by the Daily Caller.

The email shows an instance of Burisma’s efforts to contact State Department officials at the same time it was being investigated for corruption. However, the email does not specify whether Painter discussed Burisma with Blinken. Other emails show that Tramontano had been in contact with the state department specifically regarding Burisma.

Painter and Hunter Biden both served on the board of the Truman Project, a D.C.-based liberal think tank (Biden left the Project in 2019). The New York Times has reported that Biden connected Burisma with Painter’s firm, Blue Star.

Hunter Biden served on Burisma’s board from 2014 to 2019, overlapping with Joe Biden’s tenure as vice president. President Trump and allies have repeatedly accused Hunter Biden of a conflict of interest and corruption over his business dealings in Ukraine.

On Tuesday, the Daily Caller reported that Hunter Biden was director of the Center for U.S. Global Leadership, a trade group, from 2012 to 2018. The group lobbied for increased aid to Ukraine at the same time Joe Biden was pressing the Obama administration to increase Ukraine funding.

Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

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