02:53 GMT14 April 2021
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    Former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testified Friday that the Obama administration was so concerned about Hunter Biden’s job on Burisma’s board of directors that she was asked prep questions about the issue by the White House before her 2016 Senate confirmation.

    Responding to GOP counsel Stephen Castor’s question at the House Intelligence Committee’s second public impeachment hearing, Yovanovitch testified that she had been informed about the gig Biden Junior landed with the petroleum producer — which paid the son of then-Vice President Joe Biden $50,000 a month despite his seeming lack of relevant experience in the field .

    “As I said, I arrived in August of 2016, several months before the elections and several months before President Trump took office. And it was not a focus of what I was doing in that six-month period,” she answered.

    Castor then asked her why as the US Ambassador she took no action.

    “We — I was aware of it, because as I told you before, in the deposition, there had been a — in terms of the preparation for my Senate confirmation hearings for Ukraine, there was a question about that and a select answer. So I was aware of it, yes,” Yovanovitch said, not specifying what answer she was instructed to give. “My understanding from newspaper accounts is that he just recently left, in 2019. I never met him, never talked to him.”

    Texas GOP Rep. John Ratliffe later asked Yovanovitch once more what the answer in the Obama administration briefing book was.

    “It was something along the lines of, ‘I would refer you to the vice president’s office on that,'” Yovanovitch answered.

    The ex-US Ambassador testified that a briefing book she’d been given contained hundreds of questions, and Burisma wasn’t the only company named, however, she couldn’t recall the names of the others.

    Republicans have repeatedly stressed Hunter Biden’s position with Burisma during the inquiry, and charged that his father, while vice president, fired a prosecutor who was investigating the company, Viktor Shokin. Democrats have responded by suggesting that Republicans were trying to drive the topic away from Trump’s call to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which he asked him to investigate the Bidens and Burisma, adding that the European Union and the International Monetary Fund also supported the firing of Shokin.


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