A former State Department official who advised Joe Biden on Ukrainian affairs played a key role in raising concerns about President Donald Trump's efforts to pressure Ukrainian officials to investigate both the former VP and his son, Hunter.
Amos Hochstein is a former State Department official who served as an adviser to Biden from 2011 to 2017 and currently serves on the supervisory board of the state-owned Ukrainian gas company Naftogaz. Following a May meeting with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, Hochstein contacted U.S. officials with his concerns. During the meeting, Zelensky reportedly expressed feeling pressured by the Trump administration to interfere in the 2020 presidential election.
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From an Associated Press report published Monday:
The Associated Press reported last month about Zelenskiy's meeting on May 7 with, two top aides, as well as Andriy Kobolyev, head of the state-owned natural gas company Naftogaz, and Amos Hochstein, an American who sits on the Ukrainian company's supervisory board. Ahead of the meeting, Hochstein told Yovanovitch, the U.S. ambassador, why he was being called in.
[He] separately briefed two U.S. Embassy officials, Suriya Jayanti and Joseph Pennington, about Zelenskiy's concerns, said the two people who spoke to the AP. Jayanti and Pennington took notes on the meeting, the people said.
Hochstein told the embassy officials about Zelenskiy's concerns and then traveled to Washington to update Yovanovitch on the meeting. The ambassador, who was facing a smear campaign, had just been called back to Washington, where she was informed that she no longer had the confidence of the president. She was relieved of her duties as ambassador on May 20.
Hochstein has yet to be questioned as part of the House impeachment inquiry, according to the AP.
The former State Department official was nominated in 2015 (but never confirmed) to be the U.S. assistant secretary of state for energy resources. He has also donated extensively to Democratic Party candidates and committees, according to federal election records. Between 1996 and 2019, Hochstein donated more than $71,000 to Democratic candidates and committees. He also donated $1,500 to Republican candidates and committees.
Hochstein previously worked in Congress on the Democratic staff of the House International Relations Committee and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Prior to joining the Obama administration in 2011, Hochstein worked as a policy adviser for then-governor Mark Warner (D., Va.), former senator Chris Dodd (D., Conn.), and former representative Sam Gejdenson (D., Conn.).