Gordon Sondland became the latest impeachment witness to affirm Republican concerns about a possible conflict of interest by Hunter Biden, former Vice President Joe Bidens son.
Hunter Biden served on the board of Burisma from 2014 to 2019. His father was in office from 2008 to 2016. In 2016, Joe Biden threatened to withhold $1 billion from Ukraine unless the country ousted prosecutor Viktor Shokin, who was probing Burisma. The case was closed by Shokins replacement, Yuriy Lutsenko.
“Do you believe that Hunter Biden having a position on the board of Burisma has the potential appearance of a conflict of interest?” Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) asked Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, on Wednesday in an open impeachment hearing.
“I dont want to characterize Hunter Bidens service on the board one way or another, I just dont know enough,” Sondland said.
“So you disagree with every other witness who has testified yes, there is a potential appearance of conflict of interest?” Stefanik asked.
“You asked if there was a conflict or an appearance?” Sondland asked. When Stefanik repeated “a potential appearance of a conflict of interest,” Sondland said “I didnt hear the word appearance. Clearly its an appearance of conflict.”
“This is something that every witness has answered yes to or agreed with it could have a potential appearance and yet we are not allowed to call Hunter Biden to answer questions in front of this committee,” Stefanik said.
The day prior, National Security Council official Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and Jennifer Williams, a National Security Council official assigned to Vice President Mike Pence, told Stefanik that they agreed there was the potential for the appearance of a conflict of interest.
“Certainly the potential, yes,” Vindman said. “Yes,” Williams said.
State Department official George Kent said last week he raised concerns about Hunter Bidens position with the vice presidents office because of “the possibility of the perception of a conflict of interest.”