As part of the Senate’s impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, three Republican senators have said they want to call as witnesses members of the Obama administration to question them about the Ukraine-related business activities of former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden.
In a statement issued Wednesday, Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said they are seeking officials who had worked in former President Barack Obama’s State Department and in Biden’s office.
The three senators want former Obama officials to provide explanations regarding Hunter Biden’s association as a well-paid board member with Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian energy firm that was under watch for corruption.
The senators want to speak to former Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment Catherine Novelli; former Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken; former Biden energy adviser Amos Hochstein; former Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland; and David Wade, who served as chief of staff to former Secretary of State John Kerry.
“These interview requests continue the chairmen’s oversight efforts … related to potential conflicts of interest and political influence by Ukrainian elements, including the natural gas firm Burisma, which employed Hunter Biden as a board member while his father was vice president and the public face of the Obama administration’s handling of Ukraine,” the statement from the three senators said.
Earlier this month, the senators asked for interviews and records pertaining to Democratic National Committee consultant Alexandra Chalupa and former Ukrainian embassy official Andrii Telizhenko as they probe whether Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election.
President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, former federal prosecutor Rudy Giuliani, has been chasing down leads and information allegedly related to corruption and Ukrainian election interference in the 2016 race on behalf of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
Thus far, no charges have been filed against anyone named by the senators or suspected by the president of being involving in 2016 election interference.
However, “Chalupa and Telizhenko were reportedly involved in Ukraine’s effort to sabotage the campaign of then-candidate Donald Trump in 2016, according to an extensive investigative report by Politico, which Grassley cited in July 2017,” The Epoch Times reported Thursday.
Democrats have called the accusations that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election a debunked conspiracy theory, but Johnson said prior media reports indicate otherwise.
“Contrary to the popular narrative in the ‘main stream media’ that Ukrainian involvement in the 2016 election has been debunked, or ‘no evidence exists,’ there are many unanswered questions that have festered for years,” Johnson said.
For example, Telizhenko told Politico that the Ukrainian embassy instructed him to look for links between former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, Trump, and Russia, the Times reported.
The Ukrainian embassy in Washington later confirmed that Chalupa sought information regarding Manafort, but it said that Chalupa’s request was rejected, the paper added.