WASHINGTON – George Kent, an expert on Ukraine and Russia who now serves as a deputy assistant secretary at the State Department, is fielding questions from lawmakers Tuesday as part of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.
Kent arrived Tuesday morning under a subpoena because the State Department attempted to block his appearance, according to an official working on the impeachment inquiry. He quickly made his way behind two oak doors to a private hearing room, ignoring questions shouted by reporters.
“In light of an attempt by the State Department, in coordination with the White House, to direct Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent not to appear for his scheduled deposition, and efforts by the State Department to also limit any testimony that does occur, the House Intelligence Committee issued a subpoena to compel his testimony this morning,” the official working on the impeachment inquiry said. “As is required of him, DAS Kent is now complying with the subpoena and answering questions from both Democratic and Republican Members and staff.”
George Kent, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia, arrives for his deposition amid the US House of Representatives' impeachment inquiry into President Trump in the US Capitol in Washington, DC, USA, 15 October 2019. Kent, who appeared after receiving a congressional subpoena, faces questions from three congressional committees on a whistleblower's complaint that US President Donald J. Trump requested help from the President of Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden. (Photo: JIM LO SCALZO, EPA-EFE)
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His appearance could be important to lawmakers because he played a key role at the State Department as Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney, ramped up his pressure on the Ukrainian government to open investigations that could benefit Trump, including a probe of Joe Biden — one of Trump’s biggest political opponents in the 2020 election.
Kent landed drew Giuliani’s attention earlier this year. In an interview with a Ukrainian news website in May, Giuliani alleged, without evidence, that Kent was working with George Soros, the liberal billionaire philanthropist, to find “dirty information” on Trump campaign officials.
Before taking his current post, Kent served as the deputy chief of mission in Kiev, and he also spent years working on anti-corruption efforts across Europe. He joined the foreign service nearly 30 years ago, and speaks Ukrainian, Russian and Thai, among other languages.
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