August 10th, 2023
by Jessica Chasmar
FIRST ON FOX: House Republican Conference Chair Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., is blasting a “damning photo” showing then-Vice President Joe Biden with his Hunter Biden-linked current adviser aboard an Air Force Two flight during his infamous 2015 trip to Ukraine.
Amos Hochstein, President Biden’s current special presidential coordinator, was apparently in communication with Hunter and Hunter’s associates at Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings when the first son was serving on the firm’s board, according to emails previously reported by Fox News Digital.
A photo taken by White House photographer David Lienemann shows Biden being briefed by Hochstein aboard Air Force Two on his way to meet Ukrainian leaders in Kiev on Dec. 6, 2015, when he threatened to withhold $1 billion in U.S. aid if they did not fire their top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin.
“This damning picture of then Vice President Joe Biden on Air Force Two en route to Ukraine talking with Amos Hochstein is just further evidence that Biden and senior officials in the Biden Administration not only knew of Hunter Biden’s corrupt foreign business dealings, but also that Joe Biden was intimately involved while Vice President,” Stefanik told Fox News Digital in a statement.
“At the time of this photo, Hochstein was in communication with Hunter Biden and Burisma where Hunter served on the board,” she continued. “We also know that this photo was taken on Air Force Two ahead of Joe Biden’s now infamous meeting with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, where Biden threatened to have aid withheld if a Ukrainian prosecutor investigating Burisma was not fired.”
“All evidence points directly to Joe Biden being deeply compromised. House Republicans will leave no stone unturned in our investigations into Biden’s involvement in his family’s influence peddling scheme,” Stefanik added.
Hochstein, who served as special envoy and coordinator for international energy affairs under the Obama-Biden administration, was tapped as Biden’s special coordinator for global infrastructure and energy security in August 2021, and he was made special presidential coordinator to Biden in February 2022.
Fox News Digital reported in June that in the summer of 2014, shortly after joining the board of Ukrainian energy firm Burisma Holdings, Hunter and his associates at Burisma and his now-defunct Rosemont Seneca Partners discussed speaking with Hochstein for contacts who could help navigate a new tax in Ukraine on private energy companies.
On July 31, 2014, top Burisma executive Vadym Pozharskyi expressed frustration in an email to the group that the Ukrainian parliament had “voted in favor of the package of laws, among which is a draft law on raising the tax for private gas producers.”
Minutes later, Heather King, who did crisis communications for Burisma at the time and was in frequent communication with Hunter, said she was concerned by the news.
“This news is very concerning,” she wrote. “I assume you will be sending an email to the State Dept today about this? We will also get you connected with the US Embassy contact so you can hopefully meet with the guy Hochstein recommended as soon as possible.”
Nearly two months later, on Sept. 24, 2014, Pozharskyi emailed another communications consultant, Georgette Spanjich, and copied King, Burisma lobbyist David Leiter and Burisma board member Devon Archer, writing that “Ukrainian authorities are still pushing for further legislative initiatives which are going to cause even more damage to the gas industry.”
“I am genuinely looking forward to your ideas on how we could influence this process,” Pozharskyi wrote. “Please, note that I am going to share this information with the US embassy here in Kyiv, as well as the office of Mr Amos Hochstein in the States.”
On Nov. 13, 2014, seven weeks after Pozharskyi said he would forward Burisma’s response to the Ukrainian tax hike to Hochstein’s office, Hochstein attended a meeting at Biden’s Naval Observatory residence, according to White House visitor logs.
The next day, Eric Schwerin, the then-president of Rosemont Seneca Partners, sent Hunter a link, without comment, to Hochstein’s biography on the State Department’s website.
Three days later, on Nov. 17, 2014, Hochstein met with Kathy Chung, according to the White House visitor logs. Chung was Biden’s executive assistant at the time and now serves as the Pentagon’s deputy director of protocol.
A few days later, Hunter asked Schwerin to send Hochstein’s contact information to Archer, Hunter’s fellow Burisma board member and a co-founder of Rosemont Seneca Partners.
A couple of weeks later, on Dec. 11, 2014, Hochstein met with Biden and Chung in two separate meetings and later attended a holiday party at Biden’s residence that same day. Four days later, Hochstein attended a “meeting” at the vice president’s residence, according to White House visitor logs.
Four months later, on April 16, 2015, Hochstein met with Biden in the West Wing of the White House, the visitor logs show.
That meeting took place the same day that Hunter introduced his father to Burisma executive Pozharskyi and other business associates from Kazakhstan and Russia during a dinner at Café Milano in Washington, D.C., Fox News Digital previously reported. It is unclear whether Burisma or Pozharskyi’s visit to Washington, D.C., was mentioned during that meeting.
The day after the dinner, Hunter received an email from Pozharskyi that read, “Dear Hunter, thank you for inviting me to DC and giving an opportunity to meet your father and spent [sic] some time together.”
Two months later, on June 17, 2015, Hochstein met with Biden twice, according to the visitor logs. He met with Biden again the next month in the West Wing on July 13, 2015, and with Chung again months later on Nov. 2, 2015.
According to a Senate Republican report on Hunter’s business dealings released in December 2020, testimony and public records show that Hochstein in October 2015 raised concerns with both Biden and Hunter that Hunter’s position on Burisma’s board enabled Russian disinformation efforts and risked undermining U.S. policy in Ukraine.
Victoria Nuland, who was serving as assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs in 2015, testified to Congress in 2020 that Hochstein had another conversation about Hunter’s position on Burisma’s board with Biden on the way to Ukraine in 2015, according to the Senate report, during the same plane ride shown in the photograph criticized by Stefanik.
During Hochstein’s testimony in the 2020 report, he recounted that he spoke with Biden about Burisma in the West Wing of the White House in October 2015. According to visitor logs, he visited the White House three times in October 2015, with two of the visits occurring in the West Wing and the other on the second floor of the West Wing.
“We were starting to think about a trip to Ukraine, and I wanted to make sure that he [Vice President Biden] was aware that there was an increase in chatter on media outlets close to Russians and corrupt oligarchs-owned media outlets about undermining his message — to try to undermine his [Vice President Biden’s] message and including Hunter Biden being part of the board of Burisma,” Hochstein told Congress, according to the report.
According to Hochstein, Biden told Hunter about the meeting, prompting Hunter to request a meeting with Hochstein, according to the 2020 Senate Republican report.
“You are all set to meet with Amos on Friday at 4pm for coffee,” Joan Mayer emailed Hunter on Nov. 3, 2015, referring to their Nov. 6 meeting. She later emailed Hunter to let him know the Nov. 6 meeting with Hochstein at a Starbucks in Georgetown had been moved to 3 p.m. Hochstein met with Biden in the White House Situation Room the day before on Nov. 5, 2015, the visitor logs say.
“Well, he [Hunter] asked me for a meeting,” Hochstein said in his testimony. “I think he wanted to know my views on Burisma and [Mykola] Zlochevsky. And so I shared with him that the Russians were using his name in order to sow disinformation — attempt to sow disinformation among Ukrainians.”
The report said Hochstein “did not go so far as to recommend that Hunter leave the board,” citing an earlier article by the New Yorker.
About a week later, on Nov. 12, 2016, Mayer let Hunter know that he missed a call from Hochstein, adding, “Please call back today if possible.” Hochstein met with Vice President Biden again in the White House Situation Room less than two weeks later, on Nov. 23, 2015.
On Dec. 11, 2015, two days after they returned from Ukraine, Hochstein met with Biden in the West Wing.
Biden visited Ukraine from Dec. 7-9, 2015. Three months after the visit, Shokin was fired, and Biden would later use it to boast about his foreign policy skills.
Shokin was investigating Mykola Zlochevsky, the founder and then-president of Burisma Holdings, where Hunter served as a board member from April 2014 to April 2019. Biden’s defenders have said that Shokin was fired not because he was pursuing corruption too aggressively, but rather because he was too lax.
On Dec. 17, 2015, less than a week after his meeting with Biden, Hochstein attended a holiday party at the vice president’s Naval Observatory residence, where Hunter was also in attendance.
Hochstein visited Biden at least another six times in 2016, including the day after Shokin was fired on March 29, 2016.
The Obama administration had pushed for Shokin’s firing, and Biden boasted on camera in 2018 that when he was vice president he successfully pressured Ukraine to fire Shokin.
“I looked at them and said: I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money,” Biden said in 2018, according to a transcript of his remarks at the Council on Foreign Relations. “Well, son of a b—-. (Laughter.) He got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time.”
The White House and the State Department did not respond to Fox News Digital requests for comment.
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