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State Department releases Biden emails, shows pay to play

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Does the appearance of Hunter Biden’s name in State Department e-mail traffic show corrupt influence on US policy? E-mails dug up by John Solomon in his reporting on influence-peddling, then and now, suggest that the timing of Joe Biden’s infamous intervention in Ukraine might be even more suspect than it has looked before. Biden insists — nay, bragged — that he threatened to withhold a billion dollars in aid in March 2016 unless Petro Poroshenko fired prosecutor general Viktor Shokin.

Biden claims he did that because Shokin had not aggressively prosecuted corruption, including that at Burisma, where his son Hunter sat on the board. However, the new e-mails show that Hunter’s name was being tossed around the State Department a month earlier as the firm pleaded that Shokin was being too tough:

During that February 2016 contact, a U.S. representative for Burisma Holdings sought a meeting with Undersecretary of State Catherine A. Novelli to discuss ending the corruption allegations against the Ukrainian firm where Hunter Biden worked as a board member, according to memos obtained under a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. (I filed that suit this summer with the help of the public interest law firm the Southeastern Legal Foundation.)

Just three weeks before Burisma’s overture to State, Ukrainian authorities raided the home of the oligarch who owned the gas firm and employed Hunter Biden, a signal the long-running corruption probe was escalating in the middle of the U.S. presidential election.

Hunter Biden’s name, in fact, was specifically invoked by the Burisma representative as a reason the State Department should help, according to a series of email exchanges among U.S. officials trying to arrange the meeting. The subject line for the email exchanges read simply “Burisma.”