Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI), the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, is getting ready to force a vote on the first subpoena in his investigation into Ukrainian energy firm Burisma Holdings and Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joe Biden.
In a letter sent to committee members on Sunday, Johnson wrote that it is his “intention to schedule a business meeting to consider a committee subpoena” of a former consultant for Blue Star Strategies. That same consultant formerly worked as a U.S. representative for Burisma, noted Johnson.
“As part of the committee’s ongoing investigation, it has received U.S. government records indicating that Blue Star sought to leverage Hunter Biden’s role as a board member of Burisma to gain access to, and potentially influence matters at, the State Department,” Johnson wrote in the le tter, according to The Hill.
Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI), the highest ranking Democrat on the committee, has already told Johnson that he does not want to issue the subpoena because he fears it could help Russian disinformation efforts. If he can’t convince Peters to change his mind, Johnson will need a simple majority of the GOP-controlled panel in order to vote to issue the subpoena.
If Johnson is able to make this happen, it will be the first subpoena in the months-long investigation into Hunter’s dealings with Burisma. Johnson would also like to subpoena Andrii Telizhenko, a former consultant for Blue Star who the Republican claims would like to “cooperate fully” with the investigation but is being stopped from doing so by a nondisclosure agreement.
“Because Mr. Telizhenko’s records and information would be responsive to the committee’s requests, and Blue Star has refused to provide them, a subpoena to Mr. Telizhenko for these records is appropriate at this time,” Johnson wrote in the letter. “Accordingly, I will be scheduling a vote in the near future to approve issuing the enclosed subpoena.”
In his letter, Johnson defended his decision to move forward with this, saying the subpoena was “narrowly drafted” to solely ask for documents related to Burisma Holdings and Blue Star Strategies, as well as for Telizhenko to meet with committee staff to discuss the issue.
“Blocking the receipt of relevant records, as any committee member voting against this subpoena would be doing, only heightens the risk of ‘disinformation’ because Congress would not have access to all pertinent information,” he wrote.
Hunter served on the board of Burisma during the vice presidency of his father, who has denied any wrongdoing. Republicans, however, are not buying it and are convinced that something fishy went on here. It remains to be seen how this will affect the Biden presidential campaign as the vice president continues to close in on current Democratic front-runner Bernie Sanders (I-VT).