Senate panel to vote next week on authorizing subpoenas for Biden, Obama-era probes

Senate panel to vote next week on authorizing subpoenas for Biden, Obama-era probes
© Greg Nash

Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonA pandemic of hyper-hypocrisy is infecting American politics Sen. Ron Johnson hoping for Democratic 'gridlock' on reconciliation package Republicans' mantra should have been 'Stop the Spread' MORE (R-Wis.) will hold a vote next week on authorizing additional subpoenas for his probes into the Obama administration and the Bidens. 

The votes, according to a copy of the schedule obtained by The Hill, will authorize Johnson to subpoena several officials including former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabeAndrew George McCabeAndrew McCabe's settlement with the Department of Justice is a signal to John Durham Trump criticizes Justice for restoring McCabe's benefits The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Altria - Jan. 6 panel flexes its muscle MORE and Justice Department official Bruce Ohr as part of a broad investigation into the transition period between the Obama and Trump administrations, "unmasking" and the FBI's investigation into Russia's 2016 election meddling. 

Johnson would also get authorization to issue subpoenas related to Ukrainian gas company Burisma Holdings. The gas company is tied up in Johnson's investigation into the Obama-era State Department and Hunter Biden, the son of 2020 Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenWhite House: Window for finalizing sweeping budget package 'closing' Jayapal says tuition-free community college 'probably won't' be in spending plan Jan. 6 panel votes to hold Bannon in contempt MORE

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Johnson would get authorization to issue subpoenas "for the attendance and testimony at a deposition with regard to Burisma Holdings and actual or apparent conflicts of interest with U.S.-Ukraine policy," according to a copy of the committee notice obtained by The Hill. 

The committee will also vote on formally greenlighting depositions for several officials Johnson already got the authority to subpoena in June including Jonathan Winer, a former Obama-era State Department official with ties to the controversial opposition research dossier into then-candidate Trump.  

The formal vote to notice the depositions comes after Johnson's plan to depose Winer over the August recess ran into a snag when Sen. Gary PetersGary PetersSinema fundraising in Europe as reconciliation talks 'ongoing': report Hillicon Valley — Presented by LookingGlass — Congress looks to strengthen government's aging cyber infrastructure Peters presses TikTok on how company addresses conspiracy, extremist content MORE (Mich.), the top Democrat on the committee, said noticing the deposition without sign-off from him or a committee vote broke the panel's rules. 

Johnson will need all of the Republicans on the committee in order to overcome what is expected to be blanket opposition to the deposition authorizations and the additional subpoenas. Democrats have raised concerns for months that Johnson's investigation is politically motivated and risks spreading Russian disinformation. Johnson has, in turn, accused Democrats of spreading misinformation. 

Republicans on the panel previously handed Johnson broad authorization in June to subpoena more than 30 individuals, as well as to subpoena a U.S. firm with ties to Burisma Holdings. But some on the committee raised concerns at the time about pursuing the investigation amid the coronavirus pandemic. Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyTrump-backed bills on election audits, illegal voting penalties expected to die in Texas legislature The Memo: Conservatives change their tune on big government Defense & National Security — Military starts giving guidance on COVID-19 vaccine refusals MORE (R-Utah) specifically warned at the time that he thought the investigation looked politically motivated, with a GOP chairman running an investigation that involves the Bidens in the lead-up to the November election. 

Johnson previously subpoenaed the FBI for documents, and has been holding closed-door depositions with former Obama administration and current Trump officials. 

He previously told The Hill that he wanted to release an interim report on the Biden-Ukraine investigation by mid-September. But he indicated this week that the timeline had slipped slightly, and that the interim report would now likely be released in late September.  

"We've been doing quite a few interviews. I think the last interview on this aspect of the investigation I think is scheduled for Sept. 17," he said. "They're already writing the report."