Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, who was appointed to the role by Obama, appeared to contradict herself about the former administration’s ‘coaching’ specifically about Hunter Biden’s connection to Burisma Holdings.
On Friday, she appeared to give two conflicting answers. First she said the previous administration NEVER “raised the issue of either Burisma or Hunter Biden with me.”
But, then while being questioned by GOP members of the committee, she was reminded of a deposition where she stated that the former administration actually conducted a Q&A sessions “specifically about Hunter Biden and Burisma.”
Here is an exchange between Yovanovitch and Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY):
Stefanik: The first time that you personally became aware of Burisma was actually when you were being prepared by the Obama State Department for your Senate confirmation hearings and this was in the form of practice questions and answers. This was your deposition. And you testified that in this particular practice Q&A with the Obama State Department, it wasn’t just generally about Burisma and corruption, it was specifically about Hunter Biden and Burisma. Is that correct?
Yovanovitch: Yes, it is.
Stefanik: And the exact quote from your testimony is, “The way the question was phrased in this model Q&A was, ‘what can you tell us about Hunter Biden being named to the board of Burisma?’” So for the millions of Americans watching, President Obama’s own State Department was so concerned about potential conflicts of interest from Hunter Biden’s role at Burisma that they raised it themselves while prepping this wonderful ambassador nominee before her confirmation and yet our Democratic colleagues and the Chairman of this committee cry foul when we dare ask that same question that the Obama State Department was so concerned about.
This seems like it could be a contradiction from what she said earlier:
— Tommy Pigott (@TCPigott) November 15, 2019
Yet, earlier during the hearing Yovanovitch gave what appeared to be contradictory remarks.
Yovanovitch said, “And although I have met former Vice President Biden several times over the course of our many years in government service, neither he nor the previous administration ever raised the issue of either Burisma or Hunter Biden with me.”
What Amb Yovanovitch said earlier:
“although I have met former Vice President Biden several times over the course of our many years in government service, neither he nor the previous administration ever raised the issue of either Burisma or Hunter Biden with me” pic.twitter.com/AWhrogxFpN
— Tommy Pigott (@TCPigott) November 15, 2019
Later, Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) pressed Yovanovitch on the issue:
Ratcliffe: I’d like to ask you about your earlier testimony about your Senate confirmation and congresswoman Stefanik had asked you how the Obama-Biden State Department had prepared you to answer questions about Burisma and Hunter Biden specifically. You recall that?
Ratcliffe: And she mentioned that you had been asked or been prepared for a question about Hunter Biden’s role on the board of Burisma but I don’t think that you gave us the answer or answers that the Obama-Biden State Department prepared you to give in response to that question. Do you remember what those answers were?
Yovanovitch: Yeah it was something along the lines of, “I would refer you to the vice president’s office on that.”
Ratcliffe: So did they in the course of that brief you about the amount of money that Hunter Biden was being paid by Burisma?
Yovanovitch: No, this wasn’t part of a briefing. I mean I had sort of big old books with questions that might come up.
Ratcliffe: In preparation for your confirmation and they thought that Hunter Biden’s role at Burisma might be significant enough that it would come up during your confirmation, is that correct?
Yovanovitch: Apparently so, I mean there were hundreds of questions.
Ratcliffe: Well, hundreds of questions, but were there hundreds of companies? how many companies other than Burisma did the Obama-Biden State Department prepare you to give answers for and if so, if there were others. which ones?
Yovanovitch: I just don’t recall.
Ratcliffe: You don’t recall that there were any other companies, is that correct?
Yovanovitch: I’m quite sure there probably were some companies, but I mean, you know, this is a while ago and I don’t recall.
Ratcliffe: But you specifically recall Burisma?
Ratcliffe: All right, out of thousands of companies in the Ukraine the only one that you recall the Obama-Biden State Department preparing you to answer questions about was the one where the vice president’s son was on the board, is that fair?
Amb. Yovanovitch says Burisma was the only company she specifically remembers being prepped on pic.twitter.com/XnRjmcM3xZ
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) November 15, 2019