A State Department official who outed Joe and Hunter Biden during House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry late last year has just gotten a boost from President Donald Trump.
According to the Washington Examiner, promotions were finalized this week for a number of State Department officials, including deputy assistant secretary for European and Eurasian affairs George Kent.
The Examiner reported Saturday that Kent “acknowledged” in testimony before House investigators last fall “that Hunter Biden (former Vice President Joe Biden’s son) sitting on the board of Burisma (a Ukrainian gas company) while his father was leading the Obama administration’s Ukraine policy created the ‘perception of a conflict of interest.'”
Kent’s promotion, along with several others, was first proposed by Trump ahead of the House’s inquiry. The promotions weren’t approved by the Senate until June of this year.
A look back
It was in mid-December that the Democrat-led House voted to impeach President Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — charges of which he was later acquitted by the Senate, as Politico noted at the time. In their failed attempt to make a case against the president, House Dems called in dozens of witnesses to testify about Trump’s infamous July 2019 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Dems alleged that during that call, Trump pressured the Ukrainian leader to launch an investigation into Joe Biden and his son over alleged misconduct with regard to Burisma — a move that Dems saw as an attempt by Trump to enlist a foreign government’s help in his re-election efforts.
But Trump maintained that he was merely trying to root out corruption by the prior Obama administration. After all, Hunter Biden had little experience in energy companies and Ukrainian affairs, and, as Kent noted in his testimony, Hunter’s ascension to a top role in at Burisma during his father’s tenure as VP — for which he served as Obama’s point-man on Ukraine — made it appear as though things weren’t on the up-and-up.
“When I was on a call with somebody on the Vice President’s staff — and I cannot recall who it was — just briefing on what was happening into Ukraine, I raised my concerns that I had heard that Hunter Biden was on the board of a company owned by somebody that the U.S. government had spent money trying to get tens of millions of dollars back and that could create the perception of a conflict of interest,” Kent explained in his testimony before House investigators in October 2019.
Pressed to reveal what happened next, Kent went on: “The message that I recall hearing back was that the Vice President’s son Beau was dying of cancer and that there was no further bandwidth to deal with family-related issues at that time.”
A look ahead
Of course, Kent’s testimony wasn’t all pro-Trump, and Foreign Policy reported Friday that the official’s “job standing and promotion were seen by some diplomats as a bellwether for how far political retaliation would go inside the State Department in the aftermath of impeachment.” Another impeachment witness, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, resigned just last week, with his lawyer citing a “campaign of bullying, intimidation, and retaliation,” Foreign Policy noted.
But as usual, Trump isn’t interested in playing political games; he’s interested in getting to the truth. It seems those who have the same mentality, like Kent, will be rewarded in kind. Others apparently won’t be so lucky.