Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) questioned Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Friday, on the role of former vice president Joe Biden’s son Hunter’s position on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian natural gas company.
Stefanik’s questions focused on “key three themes”: the role of a President when it comes to appointing Ambassadors, long-standing corruption in Ukraine, and aid to Ukraine.”
“Earlier this week, you know we heard from George Kent. I know that Mr. Kent is a colleague, a friend and someone who you deeply respect. In his testimony, he stated ‘all Ambassadors serve at the pleasure of the President’,” Rep. Stefanik said and asked if Yovanovitch if she agreed with the statement, to which Yovanovitch replied, “Yes.”
“In your deposition, under oath, you stated, ‘Although I understand, everyone understands I serve at the pleasure of the President’, Stefanik asked, to which Yovanovitch answered, “Yes.”
“And just so there’s no public confusion, you are still an employee of the State Department, correct?” she asked, and the former Ambassador confirmed the affirmative.
“In the deposition, you say that you personally asked whether it would be possible to be a fellow at George Town University and that was arranged for me and I’ve very grateful. That’s where you posted today, correct?” Stefanik asked, to which Yovanovitch answered, “Yes.” (Continued Below)
“Shifting gears to corruption and Ukraine, in your powerful deposition, you described ‘we have long understood that strong anti-corruption efforts must form an essential part of our policy in Ukraine. And now there is a window of opportunity to do that. And so, why is this important and why is this important to us? Put simply, anti-corruption efforts serve Ukraine’s interest, but they also serve ours as well.’ Is that still your testimony?” Stefanik asked, to which Yovanovitch answered, “Yes.”
“And particularly, at the critical time in 2014, after the Ukranian elections, you testified that the Ukranian people had made clear ‘in that very election they were done with corruption’, correct?” Stefanik asked, to which Yovanovitch answered, “Yes.”
“And you also testified that the Ukrainians thought it would be a good idea to set up this architecture of a special investigative office that would be all about the crimes of corruption, correct?” Stefanik asked, to which Yovanovitch answered, “Yes.” (Continued Below)
“I know this is before you arrived in Ukraine, but you are aware that the first case that the U.S., U.K., and Ukraine investigators worked on was, in fact, the owner of Burisma?” Stefanik asked, to which Yovanovitch answered, “Yes.”
“And that was during the Obama administration?” Stefanik asked, to which Yovanovitch answered, “Yes.”
“And in your testimony, you said the investigation was never formally closed because ‘it’s frankly useful to keep that company hanging on a hook?'” Stefanik asked, to which Yovanovitch answered, “Yeah, the Ukranian investigation was never closed.”
“But let’s take the step back. The first time you personally became aware of Burisma was actually when you were being prepared by the Obama State Department for your Senate confirmation hearings. And this was in the form of practice questions and answers. This was your deposition and you testified in this particular practice ‘Q & A’ with the Obama State Department, it wasn’t just generally about Burisma and corruption, it was specifically about Hunter Biden and Burisma. Is that correct?” Stefanik asked, to which Yovanovitch answered, “Yes, it is.” (Video Below)
“And the exact quote from your testimony, Ambassador is: ‘The way the question was phrased in this model ‘Q & A’ was what can you tell us about Hunter Bidens… you know being named to the board of Burisma.’ So for the millions of Americans watching, President Obama’s own State Department was so concerned about potential ‘conflict of interest from Hunter Biden’s role at Burisma’ that they raised it themselves while prepping this wonderful Ambassador nominee before her confirmation. And yet, our Democratic colleagues and the Chairman of this committee, cry foul when we dare ask that same question that the Obama State Department was so concerned about. But we will continue asking it,” Stefanik said.
Lastly, Marie Yovanovitch confirmed that lethal aid was not provided to Ukraine under the Obama administration, but it was provided under the Trump administration.
Rep. Elise Stefanik questions Amb. Yovanovitch about Burisma: