Plan to probe Bidens sparks GOP divisions

A pledge to investigate the Bidens and Ukraine once the impeachment trial wraps is sparking divisions among Senate Republicans. 

President TrumpDonald John TrumpUSPS warns Pennsylvania mail-in ballots may not be delivered in time to be counted Michael Cohen book accuses Trump of corruption, fraud Trump requests mail-in ballot for Florida congressional primary MORE and top allies have homed in on former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHarris to host virtual Hollywood campaign event co-chaired by Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling Trump plans to accept Republican nomination from White House lawn US seizes four vessels loaded with Iranian fuel MORE’s push to oust a top Ukrainian prosecutor and Hunter Biden’s work for Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian gas company, as they’ve sought to counterprogram on the sidelines of the months-long impeachment drama. 

Now, with the trial in the rearview mirror, that chatter is set to move to center stage as Republicans strategize over their next steps. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham says FBI chief 'committed to being helpful' after Trump criticism Democrat flips GOP-held state House seat in South Carolina Ron Johnson signals some GOP senators concerned about his Obama-era probes MORE (R-S.C.), a vocal ally of Trump’s, is pledging “oversight.” 

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Other GOP senators are warning that it’s time for the Senate to move on after a weeks-long divisive fight that left scars on the chamber’s normally clubby atmosphere. 

“I know there’s been some discussion about the Judiciary Committee taking a look at that. I think what I would like to see happen around here is a return to normalcy,” said Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneTrump plans to accept Republican nomination from White House lawn Hillicon Valley: 'Fortnite' owner sues Apple after game is removed from App Store | Federal agencies seize, dismantle cryptocurrency campaigns of major terrorist organizations Republican senators call on FTC to investigate TikTok over data collection concerns MORE (S.D.), the No. 2 Republican senator, in response to a question from The Hill about talk within the caucus about investigating the Bidens. 

“People just kind of put their spears down and let’s get back to work and focus on I think what most people in the country think we ought to be doing,” he added. 

Sen. Bill CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidyDavis: The Hall of Shame for GOP senators who remain silent on Donald Trump State aid emerges as major hurdle to reviving COVID-19 talks From a Republican donor to Senate GOP: Remove marriage penalty or risk alienating voters MORE (R-La.) said Graham might feel “obligated” as the Judiciary Committee chairman to investigate the Bidens and Ukraine but added he thought the Senate’s focus should be on other priorities. 

He said people when he goes home are not talking about impeachment or the Bidens.

“They are talking about ... the cost of their insulin, they’re talking about the fact that the roads need to be built,” Cassidy said. “That’s what they’re concerned about. I think we need to speak to the American people's concerns.” 

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Sen. John CornynJohn CornynEnough legal games — we need to unleash American energy Three pros and three cons to Biden picking Harris The Hill's 12:30 Report - Speculation over Biden's running mate announcement MORE (R-Texas), a member of Graham’s committee, asked if he had any interest in investigating the Bidens, said: “I think an election is the best way to handle that.” 

Still, Graham isn’t the only Republican who is interested in digging into Hunter Biden and Ukraine. 

Minutes after the impeachment trial wrapped this week, Sens. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleySenate leaves until September without coronavirus relief deal COVID-19 relief talks look dead until September  The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - The choice: Biden-Harris vs. Trump-Pence MORE (R-Iowa) and Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonGraham says FBI chief 'committed to being helpful' after Trump criticism Trump hits FBI Director Wray: 'I wish he was more forthcoming' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden, Harris launch Trump offensive in first joint appearance MORE (R-Wis.) — the chairmen of the Finance and the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committees, respectively — announced they were asking for details of any travel Hunter Biden took with a protective detail when his father was vice president. 

The two chairmen, sometimes in conjunction with Graham, have been sending letters to a slew of departments for months asking for details on Ukraine, Burisma Holdings, Hunter Biden and their respective associates. 

The Treasury Department is handing over documents to Grassley and Johnson as part of their probe, a spokesman for Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenElection security advocates see strong ally in Harris OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Watchdog report raises new questions for top Interior lawyer | Senate Democrats ask Trump to withdraw controversial public lands nominee | Border wall water use threatens endangered species, environmentalists say Watchdog report raises new questions for top Interior lawyer MORE (Ore.), the top Democrat on the Finance Committee, said on Thursday. 

A GOP aide noted that they’ve also been told the State Department and the National Archives, who also received letters, have documents related to their requests and are expected to hand them over. 

But it’s Graham that has stolen the spotlight after talking daily during the impeachment trial about the need for someone to look into the Bidens. 

“When this is over the Congress will do it, if we can't have an outside entity do it. ... I don't want it to be Lindsey Graham, because it will be hard for me, but if I have to, I will do it,” Graham said late last month during one of his many gaggles and press conferences during impeachment. 

He added during an interview with Fox News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade on Thursday that “the Bidens need to be looked at for what they did. There was an obvious conflict of interest. Hopefully ... the Senate will perform that oversight.” 

Trump and his GOP allies have sought to tie Joe Biden's push in 2016 for the dismissal of Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin to Hunter Biden's business interests. They've also argued that allowing Joe Biden to work on Ukraine policy while his son was on the board of Burisma was a conflict of interest. 

Fact-checkers have debunked claims that Joe Biden was acting with his son's interest in mind. The former vice president has denied wrongdoing, and there's no evidence that either Biden engaged in any criminal wrongdoing. 

Sen. Kevin CramerKevin John CramerDavis: The Hall of Shame for GOP senators who remain silent on Donald Trump No signs of breakthrough for stalemated coronavirus talks State aid emerges as major hurdle to reviving COVID-19 talks MORE (R-N.D.) said senators shouldn't “turn a blind eye to corruption” but stressed that Congress’s focus should be on things that unite the country. 

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“As a matter of focus and emphasis and priority, we have a lot to do legislatively, policy-wise. ... That ought to be where we focus, certainly as a body,” Cramer said. 

Sen. Mike BraunMichael BraunDavis: The Hall of Shame for GOP senators who remain silent on Donald Trump Skepticism grows over Friday deadline for coronavirus deal Negotiators hit gas on coronavirus talks as frustration mounts MORE (R-Ind.), who got a shoutout from Trump during a White House event on Thursday, noted that Trump’s legal team had made an issue of it during the trial, where they repeatedly brought up Hunter Biden and Ukraine, but that he had “no particular interest in it myself.” 

Senate Republicans aren’t the only ones planning follow-up investigations after impeachment.

House Democrats are weighing their own probes and haven't ruled out subpoenaing former national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Speculation over Biden's running mate announcement Ex-Trump adviser, impeachment witness Fiona Hill gets book deal Hannity's first book in 10 years debuts at No. 1 on Amazon MORE

Bolton emerged as a key figure in the impeachment trial, despite never appearing before lawmakers, after The New York Times reported that he will claim in his forthcoming memoir that Trump tied Ukraine aid to the country announcing investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOn The Money: Senate leaves until September without coronavirus relief agreement | Weekly jobless claims fall below 1 million for first time since March | Trump says no Post Office funding means Democrats 'can't have universal mail-in voting' Overnight Health Care: Senate leaves until September without coronavirus relief deal | US records deadliest day of summer | Georgia governor drops lawsuit over Atlanta's mask mandate Senate leaves until September without coronavirus relief deal MORE (R-Ky.) sidestepped when asked during a press conference this week if Senate Republicans would now focus on the Bidens. 

“I don't tell the committee chairmen what to look at. One of you suggested earlier the House is probably still in the investigatory business. I can only suggest that the Senate could choose to do that as well, but we don't have a dictatorship over in the Senate,” McConnell said. “I don't instruct the committee chairmen as to what to take a look at.”