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Senate Republicans advance Ukraine probe aimed at Biden despite foreign interference concerns

Author : The Washington Post

Source : The Washington Post

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, is scrutinizing a Ukrainian gas company’s hiring of Biden’s son onto its board
21:43, 6 August 2020

The U.S. Senate
AP

One of President Trump’s top supporters in the Senate is pressing ahead with a politically fraught investigation into former vice president Joe Biden and Ukraine, despite warnings from Democrats that he risks laundering Russian disinformation into the United States through the Senate ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, is scrutinizing a Ukrainian gas company’s hiring of Biden’s son onto its board and the activities of a lobbying firm it hired in Washington, reviving a thread of the Trump impeachment proceedings that the president’s allies hope could damage Biden.

Johnson has said he is investigating whether Hunter Biden’s involvement with the gas company posed a conflict of interest to then-Vice President Biden’s work on Ukraine policy. His committee has been collecting documents and in recent days interviewed three witnesses, including a top State Department official who testified during the impeachment hearings, according to people familiar with the inquiry, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation. Johnson told the Hill newspaper that he is planning to publish his report by mid-September, weeks before the Nov. 3 election.

Johnson, who is working with Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), has said Democratic objections are a sign that his inquiry is on the right track.

Related: Biden to beat Trump in presidential race, - The Economist

“My question is: What are Democrats afraid of in my investigation?” Johnson said in an interview Sunday with Milwaukee ABC affiliate WISN.

Biden’s supporters accuse the Wisconsin lawmaker of using Senate powers to give Trump the kind of investigation into Biden that the president tried and failed to coerce out of Ukraine’s leadership, resulting in his impeachment late last year. They say he shouldn’t be taking information from Ukraine.

“Senator Johnson is diverting his committee from oversight of the failure response to the pandemic — even though over 4.5 million Americans have been infected — and is instead facilitating a foreign influence operation to undermine our democracy,” Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates said.

Read the full story here.

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