Senate Republicans are requesting documents connected to a Ukrainian firm that once employed Hunter Bidenthe first subpoena as part of their broad investigations into the Obama administration.
The subpoena targets Blue Star Strategies, a U.S. lobbying firm that represented the Ukrainian energy company Burisma. Hunter Biden, former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, served on the board of Burisma while his father was working with the Obama administration to combat corruption in Ukraine. Republicans have alleged that Biden and his son engaged in corrupt activities, but so far there’s been no evidence of wrongdoing.
The request was approved on Wednesday in a party-line vote by the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. The committee, led by Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, intends to issue a report on Hunter Biden’s involvement with Burisma and other Ukrainian matters before the November election.
“This is not my choice to spend any amount of time on this vote. I would have issued the subpoenas quietly,” Johnson said during the vote.
The subpoena asks for records dating back to January 2013 that are “related to work for or on behalf of Burisma Holdings or individuals associated with Burisma.” Johnson also plans to hold an interview with officials from Blue Star to discuss the request.
The subpoena comes as Republicans in Congress are increasingly turning their attention to investigating former Obama officials. Over the past several weeks, President Donald Trump has charged there was an illegal conspiracy to undermine his administration from the start. Trump has deemed the alleged scandal “Obamagate” but hasn’t offered specifics when asked to explain the charges.
On Tuesday, Senator Lindsey Graham unveiled a list of Obama-era officials he wants to testify as part of the Judiciary Committee’s investigation into whether the Russia investigation was politically motivated. There are 53 names on the list, including former FBI director James Comey, former CIA director John Brennan and former national intelligence director James Clapper.
Senate Republicans appeared to get a green light from Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to investigate the previous administration. During remarks on the Senate floor Tuesday, McConnell defended President Trump’s attacks on the Russia investigation.
“No matter what some Washington Democrats may try to claim, you are not crazy or a conspiracy theorist if you see a pattern of institutional unfairness towards this President,” McConnell said. “You would have to be blind not to see one.”
Democrat Chuck Schumer, the chamber’s minority leader, slammed Wednesday’s subpoena to Blue Star Strategies as “another attempt to smear Vice President Biden.”
“The Committee could be holding a hearing today with the FEMA Administrator to discuss disaster assistance, but no, the highest priority of Senate Republicans lies in promoting conspiracy theories that have already been discredited on numerous occasions,” Schumer said during remarks on the floor.
He added, “Conspiracy theories which, by the way, are known to be part of Russian disinformation campaigns. Our Republican majority is using Russian propaganda to try and damage a political opponent. Is that a disgrace? Is that a disgrace?”