Hunter Biden’s former business partner and fellow Burisma board member, Devon Archer, met with then-Secretary of State John Kerry just weeks before the Ukrainian prosecutor who was investigating Burisma was fired in 2016.
Former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin was fired on March 29, 2016, less than four weeks after Archer met with Kerry at the State Department in Washington, D.C., according to a State Department email.
“Devon Archer coming to see S today at 3:00pm – need someone to meet/greet him at C Street,” reads the redacted email on March 2, 2016, which was previously released via the Freedom of Information Act.
Fox News Digital can confirm that “S” refers to Kerry, based on multiple other email communications. However, it is unclear what Archer and Kerry discussed at the meeting or whether Burisma came up in conversation.
At the time of the meeting, Archer and Hunter Biden had been sitting on the board of Burisma for about two years, and then-Vice President Joe Biden had recently wrapped up a trip to Ukraine where he threatened to withhold $1 billion in U.S. aid if Ukrainian officials didn’t fire Shokin, claiming he was too lax on prosecuting corruption.
When the email was first released in 2019, Sens. Grassley, R-Iowa and Johnson, R-Wis., expressed concerns about the meeting and sent a letter to then-Secretary of State Pompeo requesting all records from the meeting in addition to other meeting, including Hunter’s 2015 meeting with Blinken.
During an interview Saturday with Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade, Shokin said he was fired 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 in the interview.
“[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.”
However, in a statement to Fox News, the White House pointed to indications that Shokin was fired 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.
Archer said in a closed-door interview with the House Oversight Committee in July that, amid pressure from Shokin’s office and other entities investigating Burisma, company leaders turned to Hunter for help.
He went on to say 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 levied 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 continued.
This wasn’t the first time that a Burisma board member met with a top State Department official in the middle of a growing pressure campaign to help protect Zlochevsky and Burisma from investigations. In May 2015, Hunter and then-Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken were exchanging emails about setting up a meeting at the State Department. After the first scheduled meeting, which appeared to have been canceled due to the death of Hunter’s brother, Beau, the pair rescheduled and met in July 2015.
Hunter forwarded Archer a couple of the email exchanges between Hunter and Blinken about planning for the first meeting, prompting Archer to respond, “Roger,” in one reply.
“12:00-1:30pm- Lunch with Tony Blinken (State Department),” Hunter’s schedule reads. “Enter at main entrance (‘Diplomatic Entrance’), 22nd & C St, NW. Proceed to receptionist area where Kenny Matthews will be waiting to escort you to Tony’s office.”
The longtime Biden family friend and business partner, who is facing jail time in an unrelated case for his role in a $60 million bond fraud scheme, worked as an adviser to Kerry during his failed 2004 presidential campaign.
Kerry now serves as Biden’s special presidential envoy for climate (SPEC).