John Kerry Says He Wasn’t Aware of Hunter Biden’s Burisma Work in Ukraine

December 9, 2019 Updated: December 9, 2019
FONT BFONT SText size

Former Secretary of State John Kerry said he wasn’t aware of what role former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, had while he worked on a Ukrainian energy firm that has long been accused of corruption.

“I had no knowledge about any of that, none,” Kerry told reporters last week when asked about Hunter Biden’s role on the board of Burisma. “No.”

Kerry, who was President Barack Obama’s secretary of state when Hunter Biden became a Burisma board member, fielded more questions from reporters about the former vice president’s son.

“What would I know about any—no. Why would I know about any company or any individual,” Kerry, who was a presidential candidate during the 2004 election, told reporters. “The answer is no. No communication, no nothing. I don’t know who they are. I don’t know what they were doing to this day, actually.”

Kerry’s stepson, Christopher Heinz, roomed with Hunter Biden’s former business associate Devon Archer in college. The two went on to become business partners, but Heinz distanced himself from Archer and Biden over their decision to accept paid positions on the Burisma board.

In November, Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) sent a letter asking the U.S. Department of State for documents related to Hunter Biden and Burisma.

The senators noted that Hunter Biden and Archer started serving on the Burisma board in 2014, which is when Joe Biden became the “public face of the administration’s” Ukraine dealings. They cited a report saying that Biden’s colleague Christopher Heinz, the stepson to former Secretary of State John Kerry, warned them.

Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and Johnson, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, asked for records relating to the three meetings, including State Department records related to Hunter Biden, Archer, Heinz, and lobbyist Karen Tramontano.

Last month, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent, during a House Intelligence Committee hearing on impeachment, said he reached out to his superiors and the former vice president’s office about Hunter Biden’s role with Burisma in 2015.

“I raised my concern that Hunter Biden’s status as a board member could create the perception of a conflict of interest,” Kent said.

Allegations of corruption at Bursima are at the center of the House-led impeachment inquiry. Democrats have accused President Trump of pressuring Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky into investigating former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden, who sat on the board of Burisma until earlier this year. Trump, Ukrainian officials, and other White House officials have denied allegations of quid pro quo or bribery.

Amid the inquiry, Ukrainian Prosecutor General Ruslan Ryaboshapka announced that Burisma founder Mykola Zlochevsky is suspected in the “theft of government funds on an especially large scale,” but did not provide more details, Reuters reported.

Kerry, meanwhile, recently endorsed Biden for president.

“I believe Joe Biden is the President our country desperately needs right now, not because I’ve known Joe so long, but because I know Joe so well,” Kerry said on Dec. 6, according to a statement from Biden’s campaign.

“Through it all, I’ve seen Joe tested in public service and tested in life itself. I know his character. I know the measure of a person who never stopped fighting for millions of Americans even as his beloved son was losing a heartbreaking battle with cancer. Joe’s strength and his moral center are inspiring. But so are his skills as a leader,” Kerry added.