By JOSH BOSWELL
Secretary of State Tony Blinken and his wife, Joe Biden‘s cabinet secretary Evan Ryan, were both embroiled in an alleged attempt to influence US government officials on behalf of Ukrainian gas firm Burisma, emails show.
Blinken told Senate investigators under oath in 2020 that he had ‘no knowledge of Hunter Biden‘s service on the board’ of Burisma, and didn’t know about Blue Star Strategies, a Democrat consultancy hired by the firm in 2015 to improve its image in Washington DC.
But State Department emails show he spoke with Blue Star’s CEO Karen Tramontano at a political event around July 2016 while he was Deputy Secretary of State, and agreed to have a coffee with her to discuss ‘some troubling events we are seeing in Ukraine’.
And July 14, 2016 emails from Hunter’s laptop show the First Son checked in with Blinken’s wife to try to make sure he took a call from Tramontano and her chief operating officer Sally Painter – as well as meeting with Blinken himself at his State Department office in July 2015.
There is no evidence that Blinken or Ryan tried to change US policy on Burisma’s behalf.
But Senator Ron Johnson is now accusing the Secretary of State of having ‘lied bald-faced to Congress’ about his links to the murky influence campaign in 2020 sworn testimony.
Blinken has come under new scrutiny this month over his relationship with the Bidens, after the House Judiciary Committee received testimony that he helped orchestrate a letter by intelligence chiefs claiming Hunter’s laptop was a Russian disinformation campaign just weeks before the 2020 election.
The government and laptop emails obtained by DailyMail.com suggest Blinken, who was Joe’s senior campaign advisor, his Vice Presidential National Security Advisor in the Obama administration and now Secretary of State, may have been more aware of Hunter’s dealings than he has let on.
Blinken was grilled by Senate homeland security committee investigators in December 2020, as part of a probe into Hunter’s business dealings run by Senators Chuck Grassley and Ron Johnson.
Hunter joined the board of the allegedly corrupt Ukrainian company Burisma in April 2014, while the US authorities were working with British law enforcement on a financial investigation into its owner, Mykola Zlochevsky.
When Hunter’s appointment became public soon after, it caused a firestorm of controversy – including among State Department officials, who complained in emails that ‘the presence of Hunter Biden on the Burisma board was very awkward for all U.S. officials pushing an anti-corruption agenda in Ukraine.’
However, the furor apparently passed by Blinken, who told investigators in sworn testimony that he was not ‘aware of any association that Hunter Biden had with Burisma’ while Deputy Secretary of State from 2015 to 2017, had no emails or texts with the First Son, and never discussed Hunter’s financial or business arrangements with him.
Blinken replied ‘absolutely’, and copied his secretary to ‘find a good time’. Hunter forwarded the exchange to his business partner and fellow Burisma board member, Devon Archer.
The meeting was postponed due to the death of Hunter’s brother Beau eight days later from brain cancer.
Hunter and Blinken eventually met for lunch at his State Department office on July 22, 2015, but Blinken told Senate investigators they only discussed ‘the loss the family had suffered and how they were coping’.
In November that year Burisma hired Blue Star Strategies to improve the firm’s image in DC.
Blue Star CEO Karen Tramontano played down her relationship with Hunter in her own 2020 testimony to the Senate committee, and claimed at first that she didn’t know Hunter was on its board.
In June 2021 DailyMail.com revealed emails from Hunter’s laptop showing in fact he was the point man for Burisma’s hiring of Blue Star, and that as far back as March 2014 Tramontano had discussed registering her investment banking license with Hunter’s firm Rosemont Seneca.
Tramontano and her COO Sally Painter set about arranging meetings and calls with top government officials, trying to convince them to take a softer approach towards Burisma owner Zlochevsky and refrain from calling his gas firm ‘corrupt’.
Blinken told investigators that although he knew Tramontano and Painter, he was unaware of their firm, Blue Star.