GOP chairman to release interim report on Biden probe ‘in about a week’

Senate Homeland Security Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said Monday that he will soon release an interim report from his months-long probe involving the Obama administration and Hunter Biden.

“Stay tuned. In about a week we’re going to learn a whole lot more of Vice President Biden’s fitness for office,” Johnson told GOP activists during a video call, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Spokespeople for Johnson didn’t immediately respond to an email about the remarks.

The timeline comes after Johnson initially told The Hill that he wanted the interim report out by Sept. 15, which was already a slip from the pre-August recess target date that he was initially aiming for. 

But Johnson told reporters earlier this month that he was doing his final interview Sept. 17, which would push back the release of the report closer to the end of the month — and closer to the November election.

Johnson has been running a wide-ranging investigation involving the Obama-era State Department, the Obama administration Ukraine policy, Ukraine gas company Burisma Holdings and Hunter Biden, the son of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden who served on the company’s board.

Johnson also suggested in a public letter released in August that he has a wider scope of interest in the Bidens, including Hunter Biden’s work in China. 

Andrew Bates, a spokesman for Biden’s campaign, said Monday that Johnson has “wasted months” amid the coronavirus pandemic “to subsidize a foreign attack against the sovereignty of our elections with taxpayer dollars.”

“An attack founded on a long-disproven, hardcore rightwing conspiracy theory that hinges on Sen. Johnson himself being corrupt and that the Senator has now explicitly stated he is attempting to exploit to bail out Donald Trump’s re-election campaign,” Bates added in a statement in a reference to Johnson’s latest comment.

Johnson’s probe comes as President Trump and his allies have seized on a discredited theory that Biden, when he was vice president, tried to remove Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin to protect his son. No evidence has indicated that either of the Bidens engaged in criminal wrongdoing, but Johnson has argued that the Bidens created a “real quandary” for the Obama administration and Ukraine officials. 

In addition to the Biden investigation, Johnson is running a separate second wide-ranging probe with Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) into “Crossfire Hurricane,” the name of the FBI’s investigation into Russian election meddling; the transition process between the Obama and Trump administrations; and leaks from the early days of the Trump administration. Johnson’s committee will vote on a slate of subpoenas and deposition authorizations Wednesday, as well as a subpoena related to Burisma. 

Democrats have fumed over Johnson’s investigation, which they view as an attempt to use a Senate committee to go after Trump’s political rivals. They’ve also warned that Johnson could spread Russian misinformation and are quick to note that there was widespread concern at the time — both internationally and from a bipartisan coalition in Congress, including Johnson — about corruption within Shokin’s office.

“It’s going to be hard to work to recover from the wholesale integration of the Senate and White House into the President’s political operation. A long hard slog to rebuild the legitimacy of government,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) tweeted on Monday

Tags Chris Murphy Chuck Grassley Donald Trump Joe Biden Ron Johnson
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