Two Republican senators say the State Department impeded an investigation into Hunter Biden's foreign business dealings by "inappropriately" classifying emails about his work in Ukraine.
Sens. Chuck Grassley (Iowa) and Ron Johnson (Wis.) in a letter exclusively obtained by the Washington Free Beacon wrote that the department "improperly" classified an explosive document about Hunter Biden's work for Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian energy company whose owner was investigated for bribery.
"Recent records have come to light confirming that the State Department withheld records from our offices and improperly restrained us from making information public by inappropriately classifying information during our investigation into conflicts of interest involving Hunter Biden," they wrote to Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
The email, sent by State Department official George Kent, makes reference to a bribe paid to Ukrainian officials to shut down an investigation into Burisma's owner, Mykola Zlochevsky. Grassley and Johnson allege that both President Joe Biden and his son used their influence in the United States to snag lucrative business deals.
Biden has been dogged by Hunter Biden's shady business dealings since the 2020 presidential campaign, although he has always denied that either he or his son engaged in any wrongdoing. The email sought by Grassley and Johnson, however, seems to imply that career State Department employees thought Hunter Biden's conduct was improper.
In the Nov. 22, 2016, email, which was obtained in full by Just The News, State Department official Kent details conversations he had with Ukrainian officials and Sally Painter, a lobbyist for the Democratic consulting firm Blue Star Strategies.
Kent alleges that a Ukrainian official said the country's top prosecutor received a $7 million bribe to shut down an investigation into Zlochevsky, a former Ukrainian minister of ecology who was investigated for paying $23 million in bribes.
Kent also raises concerns about Hunter Biden's work for Burisma, saying that Biden's presence on the company's board of directors undercut the "anti-corruption message" that then-vice president Joe Biden was trying to send Ukraine. Kent added that Joe Biden should be "quietly" warned about the conflict of interest. At the time, Joe Biden was President Barack Obama's main liaison to Ukraine.
"We call on you to immediately provide an unredacted and unclassified version of this email and end all efforts to hide records from Congress and the American people about Hunter Biden's connections to Burisma," the lawmakers write before asking the State Department to explain why the emails they requested have redacted portions.
Hunter Biden is under criminal investigation over his taxes and foreign business dealings. Blue Star Strategies, the Democrat-linked consulting firm that Burisma hired to lobby in the United States, is reportedly under criminal investigation by the Department of Justice. Blue Star helped arrange a controversial partnership between Burisma and the Atlantic Council, one of Washington's top foreign policy think tanks. Kent wrote that he warned Atlantic Council officials about working with Burisma but that the think tank went ahead with a $300,000 sponsorship deal with the energy company.