Republican-Led US Senate Panel Backs Subpoena in Hunter Biden Probe

Former United States Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden attend an NCAA basketball game in Washington DC in 2010

Former United States Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden attend an NCAA basketball game in Washington DC in 2010

Thursday, Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee chair Ron Johnson (R-WI) discussed the probe into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter's dealings with Ukraine that led to the younger Biden getting a role on the board of energy company Burisma despite having no experience in the energy sector.

Democratic Senator Gary Peters of MI, the top Democrat on the committee, said Wednesday that the panel was "going down a unsafe road" at a time of national crisis.

Democrats lashed out at the subpoena, calling it a thinly-veiled attempt to bolster President Donald Trump's re-election chances ahead of national elections this fall, and a distraction from badly-needed efforts to stem the impacts of the coronavirus pandemics.

Former Vice President Joe Biden has denied any wrongdoing by himself or his son Hunter in connection with Burisma.

"At this moment when Americans need us to work together, this extremely partisan investigation is pulling us apart, " he said.

Committee Chairman Ron Johnson, R-Wis., announced earlier this year his plans to subpoena Blue Star Strategies for records to review potential conflicts of interest in Biden's role on the board of Burisma, and whether individuals at the firm improperly used the relationship with the former Vice President's son to "influence" USA government agencies.

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In a letter provided to Johnson before the voting, Blue Star Strategies Co-founder and CEO Karen Tramontano said that the company is willing to cooperate, had provided information demanded by the committee, and offered to be interviewed. A no vote would have deadlocked the committee, but Romney joined other Republicans in approving the subpoena.

Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement that Johnson was "running a political errand" for Trump. "Let's see what happened, why did it happen, and the American people can decide in November".

Following the committee vote, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (Democrat-New York) accused Republicans of promoting "conspiracy theories".

The subpoena comes as Republicans have increased their efforts to investigate the administration of former president Barack Obama - a campaign that they say is meant to uncover malfeasance in targeting then-candidate Trump for unwarranted investigation. Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate the Bidens on a July phone call that was later revealed by a whistleblower's complaint. The Senate acquitted him in February.

The House impeached Trump in December for pressuring the Ukrainian government on investigations while withholding military aid to the country.

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