Hunter Biden has been tied to multiple officials from the Obama-Biden administration, but an email from the chief of staff of the top State Department official reveals how close Hunter was with the upper echelons of power in the administration.
Less than six months before Hunter and his longtime business partner, Devon Archer, became board members at the Burisma energy company in Ukraine, email correspondence reviewed by Fox News Digital shows that a top aide to then-Secretary of State John Kerry was telling some of his fellow State Department officials Kerry and Hunter had a close friendship and that Hunter asked Kerry to speak to his Georgetown University grad students March 18, 2014.
In an email from the fall of 2013, David Wade wrote to John R. Bass and Jonathan Finer about the possibility of Kerry meeting with Hunter and his students at “HST,” which is the State Department’s Harry S. Truman headquarters.
At the time, Wade was Kerry’s chief of staff. Bass is now the under secretary of state for management. Finer served at the time of the email as a senior adviser to former Deputy National Security Advisor Antony Blinken, the current secretary of state.
“Just spoke with Hunter Biden, good friend of S, who teaches a class at Georgetown on advocacy,” Wade wrote. “He’d like S to speak to his class on 3/18. If S is here, he’ll for sure want to do this. Class would come here to HST.”
Fox News Digital confirmed that “S” refers to Secretary Kerry, based on multiple other email communications.
“Can we pencil this in, pls, pending S travel? (Hunter knows that with travel, plans could change.) It’ll be an hour somewhere in the 5-730 window, depending on what works best for S,” Wade added.
The revelation of the email comes as Hunter continues to face questions from federal investigators about potential violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) when his dad was vice president and in the years following the Obama administration. Throughout the Obama administration, Hunter was involved in multiple foreign business dealings and will likely face questions about whether he requested favors on behalf of foreign principals during communications with government officials.
Congress enacted FARA to minimize the impact of foreign propaganda in the United States. It requires “certain agents of foreign principals who are engaged in political activities or other activities specified under the statute” to update the Justice Department on their activities periodically. They must also provide receipts and disbursements regarding the work.
Months later, in the days before the scheduled appearance by Kerry, several emails reviewed by Fox News Digital show Hunter, his office assistant and Kerry aides planning logistics of the class’s visit to the State Department.
“I am checking in per Hunter’s request to see if everything is all set for Tuesday’s class with Secretary Kerry,” Rosemont Seneca’s office manager Kate Dodge said in an email to Wade March 14, 2014. “Do you need anything from him or the students (ss# etc.)? I am happy to help. Please let me know.”
“So far so good — always a possibility that over the weekend something changes and we learn that the Secretary has to travel — but so far we think he will still be in Washington,” Wade said three minutes later. “Julie and John are terrific and they’ll know what information we’ll need for the students so they can get inside the building.”
Dodge later emailed Hunter individually and said Kerry’s scheduler told her there is “about a 70% chance that the Secretary will have to travel Monday or Tuesday (in spite of what David said)” but added they would “remain flexible” and said “Wade will provide an interesting and knowledgeable person as back up” if Kerry couldn’t make it.
A day before the scheduled meeting, Dodge received correspondence confirming that Kerry would be able to attend the class after his meeting at the White House and that there would be 14 graduate students attending the class. Another email from a State Department aide said Kerry had to attend a meeting at the Pentagon that night but said Kerry could attend the class for 30-45 minutes.
An email from March 17, 2014, between Dodge and Hunter shows a syllabus lesson that Hunter would be using for the class with Kerry.
“Diplomacy Versus Military Action: Multi-national Advocacy and Executive Decision-making to Address Conflict in Syria Discussion with a principal, stakeholder or subject matter expert,” the top of the syllabus stated.
Hunter Biden helped teach a course at Georgetown’s Master of Science in Foreign Service called “The Art of Advocacy: Inside and Outside of Government,” according to the school’s student newspaper.
In October 2014, the paper reported that Hunter Biden had taught the class during the spring semesters of 2012 and 2013. It again appeared as a course option in the 2014 to 2015 school years, but the university’s director of media relations told the publication they did not have the time to teach the course that year.
In the weeks prior to the class with Kerry and after the class, Hunter and Archer were emailing about Burisma.
“Do some fishing around on this company. I am with the owner in meetings today and going to dinner together this evening,” Archer wrote March 6, 2014, referring to Burisma. “He’s obviously stressed but appears incredibly legit and great guy. Will call to debrief on opportunity but the immediate natural is Bohai.”
On the day of the class, Archer told Hunter he would send a briefing he put together on Burisma ahead of Hunter’s trip the following day to New York City to meet with him. It is unclear whether Kerry had knowledge of the conversations between Hunter and Archer about Burisma in March 2014 or in the weeks following the class.
Kerry’s stepson, Chris Heinz, was a business partner of Hunter and Archer at the time, but he reportedly severed ties with the firm later that year. And a spokesperson attributed their Burisma board memberships as a “major catalyst for Mr. Heinz ending his business relationships with Mr. Archer and Mr. Biden.”
However, he still remained friendly with them in emails over a year after they joined the Burisma board.
Fox News Digital recently reviewed a redacted 2016 email that showed a meeting between Kerry and Archer weeks before Ukraine’s top prosecutor was fired.
Archer and Hunter Biden had been sitting on the board of Burisma for about two years when the meeting took place. Former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin was fired in March 2016, less than four weeks after Archer met with Kerry at the State Department in Washington, D.C., according to a State Department email. It is unclear whether Burisma was discussed during the meeting.
At the time, Vice President Joe Biden had recently wrapped up a trip to Ukraine during which he threatened to withhold $1 billion in U.S. aid if Ukrainian officials didn’t remove Shokin, claiming he was too lax on prosecuting corruption.
Senators Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Ron Johnson, R-Wis., expressed concerns about the meeting in 2019 and sent a letter to Secretary of State Pompeo requesting all records relating to it along with another discussion, including a 2015 session Hunter had with Blinken.
Shokin on Saturday said he believes he lost his position at Biden’s insistence because of his investigation into Burisma, a claim the White House has disputed.
“I have said repeatedly in my previous interviews that [then-Ukrainian President Petro] Poroshenko fired me at the insistence of the then-Vice President Biden because I was investigating Burisma,” Shokin said during an interview with Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade.
“[Poroshenko] understood — and so did Vice President Biden — that had I continued to oversee the Burisma investigation, we would have found the facts about the corrupt activities that they were engaging in. That included both Hunter Biden and Devon Archer and others.”
In a previous statement to Fox News, the White House pointed to indications Shokin lost his spot because he had been too soft on corruption.
The White House also stated that Shokin’s office had not been investigating Burisma or Hunter at the time of his ouster in March 2016, and it pointed to three reports published within weeks of each other in 2019 by The Washington Post, Associated Press and New York Times that said Shokin’s office wasn’t investigating Burisma.
In July, however, Archer said in a closed-door interview with the House Oversight Committee that, amid pressure from Shokin’s office and other entities investigating Burisma, company leaders turned to Hunter for help.
Archer added that Hunter and Burisma executives “called D.C.” in December 2015, just days before the vice president’s trip to Ukraine, to ask the Obama administration to help get Shokin fired.
Burisma executive Vadym Pozharsky emailed Hunter Biden, Archer and fellow Hunter associate Eric Schwerin in early November 2015 about a “revised proposal, contract and initial invoice for Burisma Holdings” from lobbying firm Blue Star Strategies.
Hunter reportedly connected Burisma with Blue Star Strategies to help the energy firm fight corruption charges against Mykola Zlochevsky, the company’s owner.
Pozharski said in his email that the “ultimate purpose” of the agreement with Blue Star Strategies was to shut down “any cases/pursuits against Nikolay in Ukraine,” referring to Zlochevsky, who also went by Nikolay.
“The scope of work should also include organization of a visit of a number of widely recognized and influential current and/or former US policy-makers to Ukraine in November aiming to conduct meetings with and bring positive signal/message and support on Nikolay’s issue to the Ukrainian top officials above with the ultimate purpose to close down for any cases/pursuits against Nikolay in Ukraine,” Pozharsky said.
Kerry isn’t the only top official Hunter met with or had ties to during the Obama-Biden administration. In July 2015, Hunter met with Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken at his State Department office after they appeared to have rescheduled their meeting from May 2015 due to the death of Hunter’s brother, Beau.
“Have a few minutes next week to grab a cup of coffee?” Hunter asked Blinken in May 2015. “I know you are impossibly busy, but would like to get your advice on a couple of things.”
Hunter and his business partner, Eric Schwerin, also frequently kept in contact with Evan Ryan, who is married to current Secretary of State Antony Blinken. She worked in the Obama White House and State Department and frequently emailed with Hunter and Schwerin about attending White House events and keeping Hunter updated on his dad’s schedule. She currently works in the Biden White House.
Fox News Digital also previously reported on Hunter’s ties to Jake Sullivan, who now serves as Biden’s national security advisor. Over a dozen current and former officials serving in the White House and Biden administration also have ties to Hunter, according to a previous analysis.
The State Department, Hunter Biden’s attorney and David Wade did not respond to requests for comment.
Fox News Digital’s Jessica Chasmar and Thomas Catenacci contributed to this report.
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