GOP chairman: Hearing on delayed Ukraine aid should wait until after House inquiry wraps

GOP chairman: Hearing on delayed Ukraine aid should wait until after House inquiry wraps
© Aaron Schwartz

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jim RischJames (Jim) Elroy RischHillicon Valley: Lawmakers demand answers on Chinese COVID hacks | Biden re-ups criticism of Amazon | House Dem bill seeks to limit microtargeting Senate panel approves Trump nominee under investigation Hillicon Valley: Trump threatens Michigan, Nevada over mail-in voting | Officials call for broadband expansion during pandemic | Democrats call for investigation into Uber-Grubhub deal MORE (R-Idaho) told the top Democrat on his panel that any hearings into the delayed Ukraine aid at the center of the impeachment inquiry against President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden slams Trump in new ad: 'The death toll is still rising.' 'The president is playing golf' Brazil surpasses Russia with second-highest coronavirus case count in the world Trump slams Sessions: 'You had no courage & ruined many lives' MORE should wait until after the House investigation has wrapped.

Risch, in a letter dated late last month but obtained by The Hill on Tuesday, warned that issues Democrats want a hearing on, including the delayed aid, the July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and the ousting of former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Maria Yovanovitch, are "deeply intertwined with the formal House inquiry."

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"Due to the ongoing House 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 to Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezSenate panel approves Trump nominee under investigation Hillicon Valley: Trump threatens Michigan, Nevada over mail-in voting | Officials call for broadband expansion during pandemic | Democrats call for investigation into Uber-Grubhub deal Senate chairman schedules vote on Trump nominee under investigation MORE (D-N.J.).

"At the appropriate time, we will look into these matters in greater detail in consultation with the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence," Risch added.

Risch's letter was in response to a letter from Foreign Relations Committee Democrats that called on him to hold hearings, including with Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoKim Jong Un seeks to continue bolstering North Korea's nuclear capabilities, state media says China reports no new COVID-19 cases for first time since outbreak Trump, GOP go all-in on anti-China strategy MORE, on the State Department's role in the Ukraine assistance situation, as well as a phone call at the center of the House impeachment inquiry.

During the phone call, according to a rough transcript from the White House, Trump asked Zelensky to work with Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiSunday shows preview: States begin to reopen even as some areas in US see case counts increase Moussaoui says he now renounces terrorism, bin Laden Democrats launch probe into Trump's firing of State Department watchdog, Pompeo MORE, his personal lawyer, to "look into" former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden slams Trump in new ad: 'The death toll is still rising.' 'The president is playing golf' Warren to host high-dollar fundraiser for Biden COVID-19 makes Trump's work with black Americans that much harder MORE and his son Hunter Biden. Pompeo later disclosed that he was on the phone call.

The House impeachment inquiry centers on whether Trump held up the aid in an attempt to pressure Ukraine to investigate Biden, a potential 2020 political rival.

Though Risch's letter was in response to committee Democrats, it's become newly relevant after Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSenate confirms Ratcliffe to be Trump's spy chief Abrams announces endorsements in 7 Senate races Schumer dubs GOP 'conspiracy caucus' amid Obama-era probes MORE (R-S.C.) publicly called on him to investigate ties between Biden and Ukraine, including the State Department's role.

"We need to look at whether or not Hunter Biden corruptly engaged in lobbying. Did Joe Biden ask the prosecutor to be fired because he was investigating his son?" Graham asked during an interview on Monday with Fox News's Laura IngrahamLaura Anne IngrahamTrump lashes out at Fox News after poll shows him trailing Biden Trump complains Fox News is 'doing nothing to help' him get reelected White House, CDC rift spills into the open MORE.

President Trump and his allies have latched onto Joe 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.