State Department emails obtained by the conservative group Citizens United this week indicate that the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine was involved in discussions about the natural gas firm Burisma Holdings and even in a meeting with a company representative, despite testifying to Congress during the impeachment inquiry that she knew little about the firm.
Burisma Holdings was at the center of impeachment proceedings against President Trump, after he pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during a phone call to look into the Biden family’s dealings in Ukraine. Former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, held a lucrative position on the board of Burisma Holdings.
During the impeachment hearings, many witnesses were questioned about their knowledge of the Biden-Burisma connection, and the firm's reputation in Ukraine. Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, during House testimony last year, said she didn't have much knowledge about the firm, and noted that she only learned of its connection to Biden through "press reports" she read while preparing for her Senate confirmation hearing.
“Burisma wasn’t a big issue in the fall … of 2016, when I arrived,” she said, noting that the investigation and details surrounding its closure “happened before I arrived.”
"It was not a focus of what I was doing in that six-month period," she said.
But through a Citizens United Freedom of Information Act request for emails related to Burisma sent by former deputy assistant secretary of state for Europe and Eastern Europe George Kent, the organization obtained more than 160 pages of emails and memos sent during the fall of 2016, including communications between Yovanovitch and U.S. Embassy officials about Burisma Holdings and documents indicating that she met with a representative of the firm at the embassy in December 2016.