Politics

Career State Department Official George Kent Testifies in Impeachment Probe

Career State Department official George Kent testified before lawmakers from three House committees on Oct. 15 as part of the Democrat-run impeachment inquiry.

Kent has served as the deputy assistant secretary in the European and Eurasian Bureau at the State Department since 2018. He oversees policy toward Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan.

Congressional Democrats issued a subpoena to Kent after the State Department ordered him not to testify, according to an official involved with the inquiry.

The chairmen of the Houses Oversight, Intelligence, and Foreign Affairs committees first notified the State Department (pdf) about seeking Kents testimony on Sept. 27. The request came one day after Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) released the whistleblower complaint that had triggered the impeachment inquiry before it was made public.

The whistleblower complained about a July 25 call between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. During the call, Trump asked Zelensky to look into the business dealings of Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joe Biden, which the whistleblower suggested amounted to a violation of campaign finance law. The Justice Department reviewed the complaint and determined no further action was necessary.

In an interview with ABC News published on Oct. 15, Hunter Biden defended his work in Ukraine and China, even as he conceded that he made a political mistake by creating the appearance of a conflict of interest. According to an Oct. 14 statement from his attorney, Biden committed to step down from the board of a Chinese company and not work for any foreign companies if his father wins the presidential election in 2020.

Trumps request to Zelensky referenced the treatment of a top Ukrainian prosecutor. Early last year, Joe Biden bragged about forcing the removal of the prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, by threatening—while Biden was vice president—to withhold $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees to Ukraine. Shokin later said in a sworn statement that he was removed due to pressure from Biden, because he refused to drop the investigation into Burisma, Ukraines largest independent natural gas producer. Hunter Biden held a paid position on the companys board when his father forced the prosecutors firing.

Kent is the latest official to testify in the impeachment inquiry. Trumps former Russia adviser, Fiona Hill, testified the day before. House lawmakers also have interviewed former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch and former Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volcker.

Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, is expected to testify later in the week, in response to a congressional subpoena.

Yovanovitch, who testified on Oct. 11, denied several accusations against her, telling lawmakers that she isnt disloyal to Trump and has never handed Ukrainian officials a so-called “do not prosecute” list. Yovanovitch said she believes she was removed based “on unfounded and false claims by peoplRead More – Source

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