Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-WI) announced Monday that he would release an interim report from his months-long investigation into the Obama administration-era Ukraine dealings of Joe Biden and his son Hunter “in about a week,” ahead of the presidential election.
Specifically, Senate investigators are looking into Hunter’s dealings with the corruption-linked Ukrainian gas company Burisma, and the potential conflicts of interest they may have posed for his then-VP father who was in charge of U.S. policy towards the Eastern European country at the time.
GOP investigators are also probing whether a lobbying firm working on behalf of Burisma — Blue Star Strategies — leveraged the company’s ties to Hunter to access the U.S. government while Ukrainian authorities were investigating the company for alleged corruption.
While his father was in charge of American’s Ukraine policy as vice president, Hunter served on Burisma’s board of directors between April 2014 and April 2019, getting paid a lucrative salary of tens of thousands of dollars each month.
“Stay tuned. In about a week, we’re going to learn a whole lot more of Vice President Biden’s unfitness for office,” Chairman Johnson declared during a video conference with GOP supporters, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Monday.
The Hill noted:
The timeline comes after Johnson initially told The Hill that he wanted the interim report out by Sept. 15, which was already a slip from the pre-August recess target date that he was initially aiming for.
But Johnson told reporters earlier this month that he was doing his final interview Sept. 17, which would push back the release of the report closer to the end of the month — and closer to the November election.
The Obama-Biden administration did nothing to stop Hunter from collecting a lucrative salary from Burisma, even after U.S. and local officials established evidence suggesting that the company had engaged in corrupt activities in 2014.
Johnson’s investigators are working in tandem with counterparts at the Senate Finance Committee chaired by Chuck Grassley (R-IA).
GOP investigators will reportedly assert that Hunter’s position at a Ukrainian company that the American government believed to be corrupt posed a “conflict of interest” at a time when his father led U.S. policy on Ukraine.
In October 2019, George Kent, a top U.S. State official, made similar assertions when testifying before House impeachment investigators. Kent said that then-VP Joe’s office “rebuffed” his 2015 warnings that Hunter’s position at a company he believed to be corrupt created a conflict of interest.
Hunter admitted to ABC News that his father’s position as VP helped him secure the lucrative appointment to Burisma’s board of directors.
Joe also acknowledged that it “looked bad” that Hunter held a seat on Burisma’s board while he was in charge of Ukraine policy. Still, the former vice president and his son denied any ethical lapse in judgment.
Overall, Democrats have disputed the GOP allegations and will release a “starkly divergent” minority report, the Washington Post reported over the weekend, adding:
Democrats, while acknowledging the poor optics posed by Hunter Biden’s position, are expected to reject the assertion it had any effect on U.S.-Ukraine policies during the former vice president’s tenure, while pointing out that Johnson supported the policies at the time. They are also expected use their report to take aim at the origins of Johnson’s probe, which they argue is rooted in Kremlin-backed disinformation.
Andrew Bates, a spokesman for the Biden campaign, accused Johnson of “wasting months diverting” his panel “away from any oversight of the catastrophically botched federal response to the pandemic,” the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
Bates reportedly added:
Why? To subsidize a foreign attack against the sovereignty of our elections with taxpayer dollars — an attack founded on a long-disproven, hardcore right-wing conspiracy theory that hinges on Senator Johnson himself being corrupt and that the Senator has now explicitly stated he is attempting to exploit to bail out Donald Trump’s re-election campaign.
In early 2018, the former VP gloated about threatening to withhold $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees to Ukraine as VP in 2016 if the Eastern European country did not fire its top prosecutor, who wanted to investigate the owner of Burisma for corruption.
Although there has been no official investigation into whether Joe tried to remove the prosecutor to protect his son’s employer, the mainstream media has “discredited” the allegation.