Senate Panel Demands Testimony From Former Obama Officials In Revived Biden Investigation

This week’s request, a follow-up to December, when the panel requested documents and testimony from the same former officials during the impeachment investigation into Trump’s business in Ukraine, followed Tuesday’s release of the memoirs of the former adviser to National Security John Bolton, in which he confirmed that Trump withheld military assistance aid to Ukraine last year in exchange for a promise of an investigation targeting the Bidens.

And on Monday, Ukrainian lawmaker Andrii Derkach, an associate of Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani with ties to Russian intelligence, held a press conference to announce the release of new tapes he says he obtained from then-Vice President Biden speaking to the former president. Ukrainian Petro Poroshenko It was the second such press conference held in just over a month. Derkach has made unsubstantiated corruption allegations against Biden and his son, and the release of the tapes echoes Russia’s 2016 piracy and dumping operation in an effort to tilt the election to Trump.

The committee said the requests were part of an investigation into “whether certain officials within the Obama administration had actual or apparent conflicts of interest, or whether there was any other crime, due to Hunter Biden’s role in Rosemont Seneca and related entities, and as a board member of Burisma Holdings, “according to letters the panel’s lead attorney sent at the time.

Last month, the committee in a party line vote authorized Johnson to issue a subpoena to Blue Star Strategies, a Democratic public affairs firm, as part of the investigation. Johnson has focused on allegations that the company sought to take advantage of Hunter Biden’s position on the Burisma board to influence Obama-era State Department affairs.

Democrats are uniformly opposed to the Republican-led investigation, calling it an effort to boost Trump’s reelection prospects. Others have gone further in their criticism, saying that the investigation itself endangers America’s national security and contributes to Russian disinformation campaigns. Former Republican chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Richard Burr, privately warned Johnson that the investigation could aid the Kremlin’s efforts to wreak havoc and mistrust in the American political system.

Johnson’s investigations have fueled partisan tensions at public committee meetings, as well as behind closed doors. In March, senators got into heated discussions during a classified election security briefing when Democrats claimed Johnson was participating in Russia’s interference in the US election.

Trump has openly encouraged Senate investigations, including similar efforts to investigate the origins of the Russia investigation and the actions of the Obama administration during the presidential transition period in late 2016 and early 2017. The Johnson panel and the Judicial Committee of the Senate, chaired by the senator. Lindsey Graham (RS.C.) obtained authorizations from Republican senators earlier this month to issue subpoenas as part of those investigations to a number of former Obama administration officials, many of whom have sparked Trump’s anger in recent years. years.

Democrats began impeachment proceedings last year in an effort to spur Ukraine-led investigations that would politically benefit the president, during which Trump’s legal team focused on Biden’s son Hunter and his role on the council. from the Ukrainian gas company Burisma, while his father was vice president and in charge of Ukraine affairs.

The Trump team did not present evidence that Biden used his role as vice president to benefit his son, nor did he allege anything inappropriate other than the “onset of conflict,” and allegations of wrongdoing have been widely discredited.

But Senate Republicans appear to be reviving the issue less than five months before Election Day, and Johnson has said he intends to release an interim report on the Biden investigation over the summer, putting the issue back on the agenda. Spotlight as the 2020 campaign begins to matter. gear.

Johnson has insisted that the investigations have nothing to do with the elections, although Trump’s re-election campaign has touted many of Johnson’s revelations, including a list of Obama White House officials who may have been involved in efforts. they “unmasked” the former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s name from intelligence interceptions. Biden’s name was on the list, but there is no evidence that he was wrong, as Trump and his campaign have claimed.