December 17, 2020
(Washington, DC) Judicial Watch announced today that it received 38 pages of records from the State Department revealing that then-United States Deputy Chief of Mission to Ukraine and current Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs George Kent sent an email to then-Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch stating that Ukraine Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko informed Kent that he was offered “high-level” access to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign by the same firm that represented Burisma Holdings.
The offer was made by Karen Tramontano, who was an assistant to President Clinton and deputy White House Chief of Staff. She is the CEO of Blue Star Strategies, a Democrat lobbying firm that was hired by Burisma Holdings to combat corruption allegations.
In the same 2016 email, Kent stated that he responded to Lutsenko by recommending that he not take the offer due to corruption concerns with Burisma and the Clinton Foundation.
Judicial Watch obtained these documents in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the State Department seeking documents related to a reported “untouchables list” given in late 2016 by former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch to Ukraine Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko (Judicial Watch vs. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:19-cv-03563)). The lawsuit requests:
- All records of communication between the Department of State and any representative of the Ukrainian government regarding any actual or proposed investigation or prosecution of the AntAC; the International Renaissance Foundation [Open Society Foundations’ office in Ukraine]; and/or Transparency International.
- All records concerning any meeting or telephonic conversation between former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch and former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko.
- All records related to the list of individuals and entities provided to Lutsenko by Yovanovitch in late 2016.
The records include a September 3, 2016, email from Kent to Yovanovitch and other colleagues which details that Lutsenko informed him that he was pitched high-level access to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign by Blue Star Strategies. The email’s subject line is “Lutsenko now likely not to go to DC with Blue Star, other Ukr issue comments,” which says:
[Lutsenko] confirmed he had been pitched by Blue Star, not sought them out. He said he honestly didn’t know how Blue Star was to get paid – he didn’t have funds – and that some BPP MP [Petro Poroshenko’s Solidarity Party member of Parliament] that we probably didn’t know “and that’s good” ([redacted]??) had introduced them to him. Blue Star CEO Tramontano’s pitch was that she could gain him access to high levels of the Clinton campaign (GPK note: she was Podesta’s deputy as deputy COS the last year of Bill Clinton’s tenure), and that was appealing – to meet the possible next Presidential Chief of Staff.
Later in the same email, Kent added that he suggested that Lutsenko not take that offer because Blue Star represented Burisma. Kent also mentioned corruption concerns related to the Clinton Foundation and Podesta:
In connection to Blue Star, I noted their representation of Burisma/Zlochevsky, mentioned the various money flows from Ukraine to lobbyists that had been prominently int he news this past month, whether Manafort/Klueyev via Brussels to Podesta Group and Weber/Mercury, Yanu’s Justice Minister Lavrynovych to Skaden/arps-and Greg Craig – and Pinchuk to Clinton Foundation, and the media attention being paid at present to the Kyiv/Washington gravy train….
…and he got the drift. Not ideal timing, little receptive audience, and wrong facilitator. He said he’d figure out a better time when there would be more traction/better audience.
This email is inconsistent with Yovanovitch’s October 2019 testimony under oath before the U.S. House of Representatives in the Trump impeachment inquiry, that she knew very little about Burisma Holdings and the long-running corruption investigation against it stating, “it just wasn’t a big issue.”
“This smoking gun email ties Hunter Biden’s Burisma’s lobbying operation to an influence-peddling operation involving the Clinton campaign during the 2016 election,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “This further confirms the Obama-Biden-Deep State targeting of President Trump was to cover-up and distract from their own corruption.”
Earlier this month, Judicial Watch uncovered State Department records showing that Yovanovitch specifically warned in 2017 about corruption allegations against Burisma Holdings.
In October Judicial Watch made public State Department records which include a briefing checklist of a February 22, 2019, meeting in Kyiv between Yovanovitch and Sally Painter, co-founder and chief operating officer of Blue Star Strategies.
In September, Judicial Watch uncovered State Department recordsthat confirm Judicial Watch’s prior reporting that the Ukraine Embassy under Yovanovitch monitored, in potential violation of law, Donald Trump, Jr. Rudy Giuliani, and major journalists on Twitter on their commentary on Ukraine, “Biden-Burisma 2020,” and George Soros.
The records list the targeted persons as Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Rudy Giuliani, Dan Bongino, Sebastian Gorka, John Solomon, Jack Posobiec, Ryan Saavedra, Sara A Carter, Donald Trump Jr., Michael McFaul, Lou Dobbs and Pamela Gellar. The search terms that were flagged to be monitored by State Department officials on social media included Yovanovitch, Ukraine Ambassador, Ukrainian Ambassador, Ukraine Soros, Clinton campaign, and Biden-Burisma.
The emails show that Yovanovitch was aware of the social media monitoring program.