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Official: I Tried to Warn Biden

George Kent says he worried about the optics of Burisma
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 19, 2019 5:40 PM CDT
Family members gather for a road naming ceremony with then-US Vice President Joe Biden, his son Hunter Biden, and his sister Valerie Biden Owens at a ceremony to name a national road after his late son...   (Associated Press)

(Newser) – A career diplomat says he voiced concerns about Joe Biden's son, but to little effect. In closed-door testimony this week, George Kent told congressional investigators he'd warned the office of then-Vice President Biden about his son's position at a Ukrainian energy company, sources tell the Washington Post. The deputy assistant secretary of state said it looked bad for America to warn Ukraine about conflicts of interest while allowing Hunter Biden to hold a $50,000-a-month seat on the board of Burisma Holdings. "Regardless of whether anything is wrong, it looks terrible," Kent told lawmakers conducting the President Trump impeachment inquiry, per the Wall Street Journal.

But when Kent raised the alarm, someone in Biden's office apparently said Biden lacked the "bandwidth" to handle it while his other son had cancer. Seems Kent is the first diplomat to raise the issue inside the Obama administration; Biden's advisers also discussed it internally, and a former adviser briefly mentioned it to Biden. Kent's lawyers responded to reports on his testimony by saying individual remarks don't necessarily reflect his 10 hours before lawmakers, the AP reports. "Those engaged in the broader political debate on either side will likely find both utility and inconvenience in his testimony," the lawyers said. "He was not there to testify on behalf of any side." (Indeed, other Kent testimony didn't look good for Rudy Giuliani.)

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