Grassley, Johnson ask ‘what actions, if any, the Obama administration took to ensure that policy decisions relating to Ukraine and Burisma were not improperly influenced…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) Democrats’ efforts to bury former Vice President Joe Biden‘s quid-pro-quo operation in Ukraine are unraveling after the State Department released emails that showed lobbying efforts between Burisma representatives—including the vice president’s son Hunter—and top Obama officials.
Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., responded to the revelations by asking current Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to provide additional materials that may not have been released in earlier freedom-of-information requests by Hill columnist John Solomon.
In a letter to Pompeo, the powerful committee chairmen sought help filling the gaps in dealings that implicate not only the Bidens but also former Secretary of State John Kerry and other high-level officials dealing in Ukraine policy.
The senators requested a full release of State Department documents related to the scandal—including any that may be classified—by no later than Nov. 20, in order to “better understand what actions, if any, the Obama administration took to ensure that policy decisions relating to Ukraine and Burisma were not improperly influenced by the employment and financial interests of family members,” said the letter.
Kerry’s stepson, Chris Heinz, and a senior adviser, Devon Archer, were business partners of Hunter Biden’s in a firm that drew an estimated $83,000 a month in “consulting” fees from Burisma Holdings as the Ukrainian natural gas company sought help from the Obama administration in quashing corruption probes.
Both Archer and Hunter Biden were board members at Burisma, and both—according to the newly released documents—met with high-ranking State officials in mid-2015, a few months after Ukraine’s newly appointed prosecutor-general, Viktor Shokin, signaled his intent to continue the ongoing Burisma investigations.
Archer reportedly met directly with Kerry on March 2, 2016. That same month, during a visit to Ukraine, Joe Biden pressured top officials to fire the Shokin while threatening to withhold a billion-dollar loan guarantee.
Biden later bragged about it on camera during a 2018 foreign-policy panel.
“I looked at them and said, ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money,’” he recounted to the Council on Foreign Relations. “Well, son of a bitch, he got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time.”
The timing of Grassley’s and Johnson’s request may not be entirely arbitrary. House Democrats, currently pursuing impeachment charges against President Donald Trump over his efforts to re-open Ukraine’s investigation into Burisma and the Bidens, have given the Thanksgiving holiday as a tentative date for concluding their probe.
Thus, a central question will be the extent to which the Bidens and other members of the Obama administration violated legal or ethical standards that would seem to far eclipse the allegations being made against Trump.
GOP senators have indicated recently that they may plan to call the Bidens as witnesses should House impeachment articles result in a trial in the upper chamber.