David Hale, the State Department’s No. 3 official, testified in a Nov. 6 closed-door deposition that no one in the Trump administration or any “government channel” ever mentioned former Vice President Joe Biden or his son Hunter as a reason for withholding aid from Ukraine, according to a transcript of his remarks released late Monday by House Democrats in their impeachment inquiry.
Democrats have argued that the White House improperly pressured Ukraine to look into the Bidens and Burisma Holdings, the natural gas company where Hunter Biden held a lucrative role despite limited expertise while his father oversaw Ukraine policy as vice president. George Kent, a State Department official who has also testified in the impeachment investigation, said he flagged Hunter Biden’s apparent conflict of interest to the Obama administration at the time.
However, Hale said, he saw the Bidens referenced only in media reports — as well as in a “speculative” email from former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, who testified last week. Hale is scheduled to testify publicly Wednesday.