Senate Committee poised to issue first subpoena into Ukrainian company with ties to Biden


Posted on: March 6th, 2020 by ABC News No Comments

Oleksii Liskonih/iStock(WASHINGTON) — Biden sidesteps questions about son’s foreign workMore than once, after Joe Biden engaged in diplomacy on behalf of the United States, his son, Hunter Biden, conducted business in the same country.

GOP Sen. Mitt Romney will vote in favor of a subpoena that will allow Senate Republicans to further their ongoing investigation into Burisma, a Ukrainian oil and gas firm for which former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, once served on the board of directors.

Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson announced his intention to force a vote on the subpoena — a first in the panel’s probe. It’s a move that comes just as Biden surges to the front of the narrowing pack of 2020 Democratic candidates.

The spokesperson for Romney confirmed his intention to vote in favor of the subpoena in a statement on Friday. Romney had initially expressed concern that the probe into Burisma, lead by Sens. Johnson, R-Wis., and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, was too “political.”

But according to the spokesperson, Romney was assured that any hearings that occurred as a result of the subpoena would not be made a “public spectacle.”

“Senator Romney has expressed his concerns to Chairman Johnson, who has confirmed that any interview of the witness would occur in a closed door setting without a hearing or public spectacle,” Romney’s spokesperson said in the statement. “He will therefore vote to let the Chairman proceed to obtain the documents that have been offered.”

The subpoena seeks records from Adrii Telizhenko, a former Ukraine diplomat and consultant at Blue Star Strategies — a public affairs firm that represented Burisma in the United States.

A GOP source also told ABC News that the Senate panel intends to probe Telizhenko’s time at Blue Star. Republicans want to know if the firm used the Bidens’ connections to gain entry into the State Department, among other issues.

If approved, the subpoena will be the first issued as part of the joint investigation.

Democrats on the panel have condemned the investigation as politically-motivated and questioned the timing of the subpoena — as well as Johnson’s letter, sent on Sunday to inform the committee of his decision to hold the vote — due to Biden’s recent electoral success.

However, Grassley and Johnson have insisted that’s not the case.

President Donald Trump said earlier this week that if Biden becomes the Democratic presidential nominee, he intends to make Burisma central to his campaign against the former vice president.

“That will be a major issue in the campaign, I will bring it up all the time because I don’t see any way out,” Trump said on Wednesday in an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity. “I don’t believe they will be able to answer those questions.”

Trump has long wanted the Bidens investigated for Hunter Biden’s role with Burisma. Trump’s July 2019 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy was at the heart of the articles of impeachment that House Democrats brought against the president.

During that phone call, Trump urged Zelenskiy to work with his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani to help with investigations, including into Biden and his son. The Senate later acquitted Trump.

In an interview with ABC News in October, Hunter Biden defended his actions, saying he didn’t do anything improper, as the president continued to attack him on social media.

“Did I do anything improper? No, and not in any way. Not in any way whatsoever. I joined a board, I served honorably,” he said. “I did — I focused on corporate governance. I didn’t have any discussions with my father before or after I joined the board as it related to it, other than that brief exchange that we had.”

He has not been accused of any criminal wrongdoing.

Democrats are unlikely to vote in favor of the summons at the committee meeting on Wednesday but the subpoena is still expected to be approved with Republicans holding a two-seat majority on the panel.

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