Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) on Wednesday, Aug. 12, defended his committee’s investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son’s tie to Ukraine, citing a conflict of interest.
“It is Vice President Biden’s and Hunter’s actions that put them in the middle of some of our investigation,” Johnson told Fox News host Martha MacCallum. “We didn’t put them there, they put themselves there with the glaring conflict of interest.”
“Many in the media, in an ongoing attempt to provide cover for former Vice President Biden, continue to repeat the mantra that there is ‘no evidence of wrongdoing or illegal activity’ related to Hunter Biden’s position on Burisma’s board,” Johnson said. “I could not disagree more. A brief summary of the timeline of events in Ukraine will support my assessment.”
The Senate committee voted in June to give Johnson broad subpoena authority as part of an investigation into Burisma Holdings—one of the largest energy companies in Ukraine where Hunter Biden held a lucrative position on the board at the same time his father, Vice President Joe Biden was responsible for the U.S.’s diplomatic efforts with the country.
The committee is also conducting a separate review of the Obama administration’s handling of the investigation into President Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
The probes have increasingly become a target for Democrats. They argued that Johnson’s investigations are a misuse of the Senate’s resources and are likely contributing to Russian disinformation campaigns.
“We are gravely concerned, in particular, that Congress appears to be the target of a concerted foreign interference campaign, which seeks to launder and amplify disinformation in order to influence congressional activity, public debate, and the presidential election in November,” they wrote.
The Biden campaign accused Johnson of “diverting” his committee’s resources away from oversight of the CCP Virus (coronavirus) pandemic to promote “a long debunked, hardcore rightwing conspiracy theory” about Biden. They said the investigations are intended to boost President Trump’s re-election prospects.
“Senator Johnson should be working overtime to save American lives and jobs—but instead, he’s wasting taxpayer dollars on a blatantly dishonest attempt to help Donald Trump get re-elected,” the Biden campaign memo stated.
Johnson has said repeatedly his investigation is not centered on the Bidens but a “potential DNC involvement corrupting some of the agencies in the Obama administration.”
So far, the committee has authorized only one subpoena to Blue Star Strategies, a Democratic public affairs firm that did consulting work for Burisma. Johnson said he believed that Blue Star sought to leverage Hunter Biden’s role on the board of Burisma in order to “influence” U.S. government agencies.
Johnson has said that he will soon ask for new subpoenas and that he’s preparing to release an interim report by mid-September.
“I don’t see a report coming out here before August. I think a lot of interviews are going to be conducted in August,” Johnson told The Hill. “We’ve kind of set a target date for Sept. 15. And I’ve said, ‘OK, guys, that has to be hard and fast.'”