GOP Senate chairman to hold subpoena vote next week in Biden-Burisma probe

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) will hold a committee vote next week on a subpoena related to his probe into Ukraine gas company Burisma Holdings and Hunter Biden, the son of presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden. 

Johnson has scheduled a vote on the subpoena for Blue Star Strategies, a firm with ties to Burisma, as part of a Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee probe, according to a copy of the agenda obtained by The Hill. 

Because Democrats on the panel are expected to oppose the subpoena, Johnson will need every Republican on the committee to support him in order to issue it.

Austin Altenburg, a spokesman for Johnson, said a bipartisan group of senators on the committee recommended subpoenaing Blue Star Strategies.

“The American people deserve to know the extent to which the U.S.-based, Democrat-led consulting company leveraged its connections within the Obama administration to try to gain access and potentially influence U.S. government agencies on behalf of its corrupt client, Burisma,” he said.

“To date, Blue Star Strategies has not fully responded to the committee’s December 2019 information requests. This subpoena furthers the committee’s work to address the many unanswered questions about this effort and potential conflicts of interest. It is unclear why anyone would want to help Blue Star Strategies continue to hide what happened here,” Altenburg added.

Johnson had indicated in March that he wanted to issue the subpoena for records and documents. 

“This subpoena is in furtherance of the committee’s ongoing work to address the many unanswered questions about potential conflicts of interest and the extent to which representatives of Burisma — including officials at Blue Star —used individuals with close personal connections to high-level officials within the Obama administration to gain access to and potentially influence U.S. government agencies,” Johnson wrote at the time in a letter to Sen. Gary Peters (Mich.), the top Democrat on the committee. 

Johnson in a draft of the subpoena shared with Peters in March said that he will ask for records from Jan. 1, 2013, to the present related to work by Blue Star “for or on behalf of Burisma Holdings or individuals associated with Burisma.” He’s also requesting an interview with top Blue Star officials to discuss the subpoena.

If Johnson is successful it would be the first subpoena issued by the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. He had previously wanted to issue a subpoena to a former consultant for Blue Star Strategies but called off the vote amid bipartisan concern. 

Democrats have railed against the GOP investigation, arguing it is meant to hurt former Vice President Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign and could also, inadvertently, spread Russian disinformation.

Johnson and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the chairman of the Finance Committee, are months into a broad investigation, part of which touches on Hunter Biden’s work on the board of Burisma. In a letter sent earlier this year to the U.S. Secret Service, they said they were “reviewing potential conflicts of interest posed by the business activities of Hunter Biden and his associates during the Obama administration.”

Republicans have seized on a discredited narrative that suggested Joe Biden tried to remove Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin to protect his son. 

No evidence has indicated that either of the Bidens engaged in criminal wrongdoing, and there was widespread concern at the time — both internationally and from a bipartisan coalition in Congress, including Johnson — about corruption within Shokin’s office.

Updated at 3:08 p.m.

Tags Burisma Holdings Chuck Grassley Gary Peters Joe Biden Ron Johnson Ukraine

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