Secretary of State Antony Blinken appears baffled as GOP lawmaker asks him questions about Hunter Biden during congressional hearing on Afghanistan
- Rep. Scott Perry used a hearing on Afghanistan to ask Secretary of State Antony Blinken about Hunter Biden on Monday
- He asked ‘How long was your recent interview with the FBI?’
- A stunned Blinken said he did not understand what the question was about
- Perry went on to ask whether the State Department had handed over documents about Hunter Biden, Burisma and a lobbying company
- Blinked stammered before saying he could not comment on any legal proceedings involving the department
Secretary of State Antony Blinken faced at least one question he was not expecting when he appeared before Congress on Monday to discuss Afghanistan: Had he handed over documents about Hunter Biden and his dealings in Ukraine to the FBI?
Republican Rep. Scott Perry used his five minutes of time to quiz the nation’s top diplomat on what he knew about an investigation into the president’s wayward son.
The result was a witness who struggled to find the words to respond.
Perry had begun by asking about the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan – the subject of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee hearing – before changing tack.
‘A little off-topic here, but I think it is interesting,’ he said.
‘How long was your recent interview with the FBI? Was it a deposition?’
Blinken responded: ‘I’m sorry I don’t know to what you’re referring.’
‘I’m sorry I don’t know to what you’re referring,’ said Secretary of State Antony Blinken during a congressional hearing on Afghanistan when asked about whether he’d been interviewed by the FBI
Rep. Scott Perry used his time during a House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee hearing to ask Blinken about Hunter Biden
To which Perry asked: ‘Are you saying that you have not had a recent interview with the FBI since becoming Secretary of State.’
Blinken, appearing by video link, paused. ‘I’m not sure what you’re referring to, and I’m happy to take that up with you offline,’ he finally said.
Perry followed up by asking whether the State Department had turned over documents to the FBI related to Hunter Biden, Burisma – the Ukrainian energy company where the president’s son worked at one time – or the Blue State Strategies Corporation, a Washington lobbying company linked to Biden that did work for Burisma.
Republican efforts to investigate Burisma and allegations of corruption were at the center of the first impeachment of President Trump.
And earlier this year it emerged that the Department of Justice was investigating Blue State Strategies.
Blinken stumbled over his words: ‘Er, you’ll have to, um …’ before Perry interrupted him to ask: ‘And you have no knowledge of this?’
Blinken replied: ‘It would not be appropriate for me to comment on any legal proceedings that the department…’
‘I’m not asking you to comment on the legal proceedings,’ said Perry cutting him off again.
‘I’m just asking if you’ve been interviewed by the FBI since becoming secretary of state!’
Blinken must have been prepared for a grilling, given the way the administration’s handling of the withdrawal of U.S. troops and evacuation of citizens has been panned by allies and critic alike.
Joe Biden’s son Hunter became the unlikely subject of a congressional hearing on Afghanistan on Monday when Rep. Perry brought up his name
And he got it, facing calls for his resignation during several heated rounds of questioning.
But he probably was not expecting a barrage of questions about the president’s son’s business dealings.
Rep. Gregory Meeks, the committee’s chairman, stepped in to get the hearing back on track.
‘Let me remind the gentleman that the topic of this hearing is Afghanistan,’ he said.
Perry was unrepentant.
‘I appreciate it Mr Chairman,’ he started, ‘but the secretary generally refuses to answer questions about Afghanistan so I’ just figured we talk about something you should be intimately familiar with.
‘Have you sought to alter any of your testimony from last year’s Senate investigation regarding this topic.’
At that point his time expired, leaving Blinken to get back to the main order of business: Fending off complaints from angry GOP lawmakers about the administration’s response to the collapse of the Afghan government.