Graham wants Senate panel to probe State Department over Bidens

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSchiff sparks blowback with head on a 'pike' line Schiff closes Democrats' impeachment arguments with emotional appeal to remove Trump Democrats feel political momentum swinging to them on impeachment MORE (R-S.C.) is calling for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to probe ties between the Bidens and Ukraine, including calling State Department officials. 

 
He added that he hoped Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jim RischJames (Jim) Elroy RischSchiff sparks blowback with head on a 'pike' line Senators ask FDA to crack down on non-dairy milks, cheeses MSNBC's Chris Hayes knocks senators for ducking out of impeachment trial: 'You can resign' MORE (R-Idaho) "will open up an investigation about the role of the State Department in all this." 
 
ADVERTISEMENT
Risch— in a letter to Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezMedia's selective outrage exposed in McSally-Raju kerfuffle Dem senators say Iran threat to embassies not mentioned in intelligence briefing Overnight Defense: Iran crisis eases as Trump says Tehran 'standing down' | Dems unconvinced on evidence behind Soleimani strike | House sets Thursday vote on Iran war powers MORE (N.J.), the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations panel—said that he would wait until after the House impeachment inquiry wraps up before digging into delays in Ukraine assistance and a July 25 call at the center of the impeachment inquiry. 
 
"I believe it would be more appropriate for our committee to wait on examining these matters until after the House completes its process (one way or another)," Risch wrote in the letter, which is dated Oct. 29, but was obtained by The Hill on Tuesday.
 
"At the appropriate time, we will look into these matters in greater detail in consultation with the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence," Risch added.
 
President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says his advice to impeachment defense team is 'just be honest' Trump expands tariffs on steel and aluminum imports CNN's Axelrod says impeachment didn't come up until 80 minutes into focus group MORE and his allies have latched onto Biden’s connection to Ukraine as the former vice president seeks the Democratic nomination to challenge Trump in 2020.
 
Joe Biden pushed in 2016 for the dismissal of a Ukrainian prosecutor who had been accused of overlooking corruption in his own office. There’s no indication Joe Biden was acting with his son’s interests in mind, and the former vice president has denied doing so.
 
A State Department official told House investigators last month that he raised concerns with a senior official at the White House in 2015 about Hunter Biden serving on the board of a Ukrainian national gas company because it could be viewed as a potential conflict of interest. 
 
Graham, a vocal ally of Trump's, had previously pledged that he would use the Senate Judiciary Committee to help investigate Ukraine, including inviting Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiParnas says he has turned over tape of Trump calling for diplomat's firing Pompeo explodes at NPR reporter, asks if she could find Ukraine on a map ABC: Recording apparently captures Trump discussing Yovanovitch ouster with Parnas, Fruman MORE, Trump's personal lawyer, to testify before the panel. 
 
But Graham told reporters last month that he hadn't gotten a final answer from Giuliani and signaled that he was backing down and letting the Senate Intelligence Committee take the lead. 
 
"What I'm trying to do now, quite frankly, is just calm things now. Let the Senate Intel Committee — they were given this task not me, you know those two guys have worked pretty well together — let the Senate do its thing," Graham said
 
The Senate Intelligence Committee is currently reviewing the process behind a whistleblower complaint tied to Trump's actions toward Ukraine. The same complaint has helped drive the House impeachment inquiry, which is investigating if Trump tied Ukraine aid to the country opening an investigation into the Bidens. 
 
Risch indicated to The Wall Street Journal that he would not call State Department officials who had been interviewed as part of the House probe. 

“You would have to talk to Sen. Burr about that,” he told the publication, referring to Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrMarsha Blackburn shares what book she's reading during Trump Senate trial GOP senator provides fidget spinners to Senate colleagues at lunch Juan Williams: Counting the votes to remove Trump MORE (R-N.C.).

Updated: 3:36 p.m.