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By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: George Kent (Image source: Public domain)
It just is not looking good for Rudy Giuliani. He’s being fingered by many people in the impeachment inquiry as being behind the efforts to have Ukraine conduct investigations of Donald Trump’s political opponents as well as the smear campaign of former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. And when he isn’t being named, his client, the president, is.
On Thursday the deposition transcript of the deputy assistant secretary of state responsible for Ukraine, George Kent, was released, and he’s another pointing a finger at Trump’s personal attorney as taking part in the campaign to discredit Yovanovitch.
He insisted the former NYC mayor had been behind that effort for some time, nothing he’d “been carrying on a campaign for several months full of lies and incorrect information about Ambassador Yovanovitch, so this was a continuation of his campaign of lies.”
Kent also spoke up against the plan to only give Ukraine military aid if they conducted investigations of whether former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was helped by Ukraine in her 2016 campaign and of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter who did work for a Ukrainian energy company, Burisma.
“Politically-related prosecutions are not the way of promoting the rule of law. They undermine the rule of law,” he testified.
He described the Ukraine policy as pitting traditional bipartisan foreign policy consensus over the relationship between the U.S. and Ukraine and against a shadow policy that Giuliani was advocating.
Further, Kent fingered Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney as being the one to put the military aid on hold and noted it was at Trump’s direction.
“There was a lack of clarity” regarding the reason the aid was put on hold, according to Kent.
Since the news of Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has come to light, Mulvaney has suggested that anyone upset with political influence being involved in foreign policy should “get over it.”
“There is going to be policy influence in foreign policy,” he added. “Elections do have consequences, and they should, and your foreign policy is going to change. Obama did it in one way; we are doing it a different way. And there’s no problem with that.”
Yet, Kent described the Obama administration’s pressure on Ukraine with regard to the country’s corruption as “a fiduciary responsibility for U.S. taxpayer dollars.”
He feels connecting aid to the investigations of the Democrats is something completely different. “One might say national interest versus partisan interest,” he testified.
However, Kent did find problems at the time with Hunter Biden serving on the board of an energy company at the same time his father, the vice president, was involved with Ukrainian affairs.
“I raised my concerns that I had heard that Hunter Biden was on the board of a company owned by somebody that the U.S. Government had spent money trying to get tens of millions of dollars back and that could create the perception of a conflict of interest,” he shared.
Nothing came of his concern, as he was told that Biden’s other son Beau “was dying of cancer and that there was no further bandwidth to deal with family-related issues at that time.”
Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) referred to Kent’s testimony as “very powerful” and noted it was “deeply disturbing, especially the role of Rudy Giuliani.”
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