Quick entry here on this subject and I’ll come back around later when I have a little more time to dig out the background.
In this newest NY Post story connected to the Hunter Biden computer saga, the Post is reporting that the Obama Administration allowed a Democrat connected Washington PR firm to participate in a conference call regarding the planning of the details of an upcoming visit by Vice President Joe Biden to the Ukraine.
The company, Blue Star Strategies, was hired by Burisma in November 2015, after Hunter Biden joined the Burisma Board of Directors. Blue Star’s task was to improve the “image” of Burisma and it’s oligarch owner, Mykola Zlochevsky both in Ukraine and the United States.
The Obama administration let a Democratic p.r. company that worked for Ukrainian energy firm Burisma take part in a conference call about an upcoming visit to Ukraine by then-Vice President Joe Biden, emails obtained by The Post show.
An associate at Blue Star Strategies then emailed a memo with minutes of the conference call hosted by the White House to a top Burisma executive, Vadym Pozharskyi, as well as to Joe Biden’s son Hunter and Hunter’s business partner, Devon Archer, both of whom sat on Burisma’s board.
The trip, in December 2015, turned out to be the one during which Biden later bragged about forcing Ukrainian officials to fire a state prosecutor who was investigating Burisma by threatening to withhold a $1 billion US loan guarantee.
The memo, sent shortly after the Dec. 2, 2015, call, also “outlined the trip’s agenda and addressed several questions regarding US policy toward Ukraine.”
Blue Star has said it began working for Burisma and contacting Ukrainian officials on its behalf in November 2015, and an email shows that on Nov. 18, 2015, Pozharskyi sent the Blue Star contract to Hunter Biden, Archer and Eric Schwerin, president of the Rosemont Seneca Partners investment firm.
In April 2014, Hunter Biden joined the Board of Burisma.
At the end of 2014, Zlochevsky fled Ukraine amid allegations of unlawful self-enrichment during his tenure as Ecology and Natural Resources Minister. It was alleged that Burisma obtained certain leases of government land with huge natural gas reserves as a result of Zlochevsky’s position. In January 2015, Ukraine Prosecutor General Vitaly Yarema announced that Zlochevsky had been put on the wanted list for alleged financial corruption.
Blue Star Strategies was founded by Karen Tramotano and Sally Painter. From 1997 to 2001, Tramontano served in the White House as deputy chief of staff to President Clinton, and later led his transition team to his new offices in New York after the 2000 election. From 1993 to 1995, Painter was a senior advisor in the Clinton Administration where she managed the Office of Business Liaison’s outreach and advocacy program for the Commerce Department, providing strategic advice and advocacy for U.S companies bidding on overseas contracts.
In a State Department emailed dated Feb. 24, 2016 — during the Obama Administration — obtained pursuant to a FOIA request, a State Department official wrote:
“Karen Tramontano of Blue Star Strategies requested a meeting to discuss with [Under Secretary] Novelli [U.S. Government] remarks alleging Burisma (Ukrainian energy company) of corruption. She noted that two high profile U.S. citizens are affiliated with the company (including Hunter Biden as a board member). Tramontano would like to talk with U/S Novelli about getting a better understanding of how the U.S. came to the determination that the company is corrupt. According to Tramontano, there is no evidence of corruption, has been no hearing or process, and evidence to the contrary has not been considered.”
John Solomon reported in September of last year that Hunter Biden was serving on the Blue Star Strategies Board of Directors at the same time he was on the Burisma board — and at the same time, Burisma was paying large sums to Blue Star to help with its image in the United States. Solomon had obtained hundreds of pages of communications and emails involving the work done on its behalf Burisma by Blue Star — including communications between Burisman’s US lawyers, Blue Star, and the US Embassy in Kiev, Ukraine. Some of these communications were taking place in the time frame during which Joe Biden traveled to Ukraine, and later bragged about forcing the Ukraine government to fire the top prosecutor Viktor Shokin, who was seemingly conducting a corruption investigation of Burisma and its owner.
Burisma’s own accounting records show that it paid tens of thousands of dollars while Hunter Biden served on the board of an American lobbying and public relations firm, Blue Star Strategies, run by Sally Painter and Karen Tramontano, who both served in President Bill Clinton’s administration.
Just days before [Joe] Biden forced Shokin’s firing, Painter met with the No. 2 official at the Ukrainian embassy in Washington and asked to meet officials in Kiev around the same time that Joe Biden visited there. Ukrainian embassy employee Oksana Shulyar emailed Painter afterward: “With regards to the meetings in Kiev, I suggest that you wait until the next week when there is an expected vote of the government’s reshuffle.”
Ukraine’s Washington embassy confirmed the conversations between Shulyar and Painter but said the reference to a shakeup in Ukrainian government was not specifically referring to Shokin’s firing or anything to do with Burisma.
Painter then asked one of the Ukraine embassy’s workers to open the door for meetings with Ukraine’s prosecutors about the Burisma investigation, the memos show. Eventually, Blue Star would pay that Ukrainian official money for his help with the prosecutor’s office.
At the time, Blue Star worked in concert with an American criminal defense lawyer, John Buretta, who was hired by Burisma to help address the case in Ukraine. The case was settled in January 2017 for a few million dollars in fines for alleged tax issues.
The new fact out today, as noted above, is that Blue Star was, at the same time it was on the Burisma payroll, allowed to participate by the Obama Administration in planning Joe Biden’s trip to the Ukraine. So the timeline seems to play out as follows:
Early 2014, Burisma wants Obama Administration help.
Joe Biden is put in charge of Obama Administration policy on Ukraine.
In April 2014 Burisma adds Hunter Biden to its Board, and pays him $83,000 a month for his “expertise” (cough — connections — cough).
In the same time frame Burisma hires a Washington DC lobbying firm, on whose board Hunter Biden also sits, in order to help it with its image in the United States and with the Obama Administration.
In late 2014 Zlochevsky, Burisma’s owner, flees Ukraine just ahead of the state prosecutor.
In January 2015 Zlochevsky is put on the wanted list for alleged financial corruption.
In November 2015 Blue Star began working for Burisma and contacting US and Ukrainian officials on its behalf.
In an email accompanying the contract — sent to Hunter Biden — a Burisma official wrote: “Could you kindly have BS countersign it and forward back to me? I am kindly asking you to schedule either a conf call or advise us as to the foreseen action plan for November-December 2015, and if anything has been already done by BS, could kindly you ask them to share with us this information?”
On December 2, 2015, the Obama Administration allows Blue Star — being paid by Burisma — to participate in conference call planning a trip by Joe Biden to Ukraine.
The call outlined the planning for the trip, as well as “several questions regarding US policy toward Ukraine.”
Joe Biden then travels to the Ukraine later in December 2015, and forces the ouster of the Ukrainian prosecutor who may have been targeting Burisma in a corruption probe.
In February 2016, Blue Star is working to get meetings with Obama State Department officials to help change perceptions of Burisma and Zhochevsky’s in Washington — noting that Hunter Biden and a close associate of John Kerry are on its Board.
Burisma resolves its dispute with the Ukraine government over certain leases on government land with huge natural gas reserves — the corruption probe centered on how those leases came to be obtained — for a few million dollars to resolve some tax issues.
Zlochevsky returned to Ukraine in February 2018 after investigations into Burisma had been completed in December 2017 with no charges filed against him
Sounds like the hiring of Hunter Biden and Blue Star Strategies was money well spent.