A couple of GOP chairmen of the Senate have carried on with their sweeping investigation into the Bidens and Ukraine which has sparked a new round of tensions.
With the months-long impeachment fight in the rearview mirror, Republicans are hoping to speed up their investigation, which has included document requests related to work done by former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden for Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company, The Hill reported.
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), one of the two GOP chairmen involved in the investigation, said he hoped the end of the impeachment trial would break the “logjam” on their requests for information.
“It doesn’t surprise me that the administration basically kind of put a hold on just about everything until we got by impeachment. … We’re in contact with the administration and with those departments, and they are telling us that they’ve got responsive documents,” Johnson said.
Johnson and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who chair the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and Finance committees, respectively, have sent a flurry of letters digging into potential wrongdoing stemming from the Obama administration.
Their latest, sent minutes after the impeachment trial ended, asked for specifics on the travel detail Hunter Biden used when his father was vice president. The two chairmen told the Secret Service that they were “reviewing potential conflicts of interest posed by the business activities of Hunter Biden and his associates during the Obama administration.”
How quickly the two could move is unclear. The Treasury Department has already started handing over documents, while the State Department and the National Archives have said they have documents responsive to letters sent by Grassley and Johnson. Looming over the timeline for a probe is the 2020 election, in which Biden is fighting for the Democratic nomination.
“I hope we have the information way before the election. Some of these things might be some loose ends that could be tied up pretty quickly,” Johnson said.
Trump and his GOP allies have sought to tie Joe Biden’s push in 2016 for the dismissal of Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin to Hunter Biden’s business interests. They’ve also argued that allowing Biden to work on Ukraine policy while his son was on the board of Burisma was a conflict of interest.
Fact-checkers have debunked claims that Joe Biden was acting with his son’s interest in mind and there’s no evidence that either Biden engaged in any criminal wrongdoing.
The decision to push forward comes even as Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who previously pledged to do “oversight” of the Bidens, seems newly wary about the reliability of information from Ukraine, saying he doesn’t want to be the “Republican Christopher Steele”.
“What I will do is I will get to the bottom of how the FISA [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] warrant system failed and make sure we reform it, doesn’t happen again,” Graham said during an interview with CBS News’s “Face the Nation”.