Sens. Ron Johnson and Chuck Grassley tried to do what Trump pressured the Ukrainian president to do. It did not go well.
Senate Republicans released a "majority staff report" on Wednesday about their yearlong investigation into the Bidens. It contained little new information, no evidence of criminal wrongdoing, and virtually nothing about former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee.
The 87-page report alleges that Hunter Biden's former position with a Ukrainian energy company called Burisma was "problematic" and may have "cast a shadow over the work of those advancing anticorruption reforms in Ukraine."
It also accuses former Secretary of State John Kerry of making an untrue statement at a December 2019 town hall event, when he denied knowledge of the matter.
But the report barely mentions Joe Biden, aside from repeatedly noting that he was vice president and that Hunter Biden is his son. On the other hand, it contains 10 pages complaining that Senate Democrats "falsely accused the chairmen of engaging in a Russian disinformation campaign and used other tactics to interfere in the investigation."
The investigation, overseen by Senate Finance Committee Chair Chuck Grassley and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chair Ron Johnson, began in August 2019.
Grassley (R-IA) and Johnson (R-WI) defended the investigation on Wednesday, writing in the report that it was "driven" by wanting the public "to know about wrongdoing and conflicts of interest occurring within government, and especially those conflicts brought about by the actions of government officials."
They called it a "good-government oversight investigation," though it didn't begin until nearly three years after the Obama administration's end.
The report includes a complaint that the investigation "has taken longer than it should have" because of "criminal investigations, impeachment proceedings, COVID-19, and several instances of obstructive behavior."
Still, the Republican chairs decided to release a report on their few findings just weeks before the 2020 elections.
In a statement on Wednesday, a Biden campaign spokesperson called the investigation a waste of time, especially in a pandemic.
"As the coronavirus death toll climbs and Wisconsinites struggle with joblessness, Ron Johnson has wasted months diverting the Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee away from any oversight of the catastrophically botched federal response to the pandemic, a threat Sen. Johnson has dismissed by saying that 'death is an unavoidable part of life,'" Andrew Bates wrote. "Why? To subsidize a foreign attack against the sovereignty of our elections with taxpayer dollars."
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), the top Democrat on the finance panel, told the Washington Post that the Republicans had conducted a "sham investigation" and "an attempted political hit job facilitated by the State Department, and rooted in the disinformation pushed by a pro-Russian operative and Russian asset who is under U.S. sanction."
Last July, Donald Trump unsuccessfully attempted to pressure Ukraine's president to do him a "favor" and launch an investigation into the Bidens, a likely violation of federal law. After a whistleblower filed a complaint, the House of Representatives impeached Trump for abuse of power over the matter. (The GOP-controlled Senate acquitted him, though every Democrat, every independent, and one Republican voted to convict and several other Republicans admitted that Trump had acted improperly.)
After the bid for an investigation from Ukraine fell through, Senate Republicans launched their own investigation. Even Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah criticized the effort, saying last week that "it’s not the legitimate role of government or Congress, or for taxpayer expense to be used in an effort to damage political opponents.”
On Monday, Trump scolded Senate Republicans for not doing enough to investigate his political enemies. "Does anything happen? Nothing happens. Republicans just have to get so much. I'm so angry at Republicans. I am. I am so angry," he told a rally in Ohio.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.