Senate committee subpoenas documents in probe of Hunter Biden and Burisma

Senate Committee Issues First Subpoena in Biden Burisma Investigation

Why it matters: Democrats argue that the Republican-led probe is created to damage President Trump's likely opponent Joe Biden ahead of November's election.

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee voted 8-6 along party lines with all Democrats in opposition to subpoena Blue Star Strategies, a firm tied to a Ukrainian gas company on whose board Biden's son served.

House Democrats accused Trump of attempting to withhold hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to Ukraine previous year, and of pressuring Zelensky to restart an investigation into Burisma and the Bidens which was halted in 2016 following Vice President Biden's personal intervention.

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

"Senator Johnson should be working overtime to save American lives - but instead he's just trying to save the President's job", said Andrew Bates, a spokesman for Biden's presidential campaign, noting the current health and economic crisis.

Democrats lashed out at the subpoena, calling it a thinly-veiled attempt to bolster President Donald Trump's re-election chances ahead of national elections this fall, and a distraction from badly-needed efforts to stem the impacts of the coronavirus pandemics.

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The subpoena is one of a number of steps Republicans are taking to ramp up probes that support Trump's narratives on Russian Federation and the Bidens as the presidential elections near. There has been no evidence of wrongdoing on the part of either Biden.

A spokesman for the committee told NPR that a bipartisan group of committee members suggested that the chair issue the subpoena.

Since the impeachment investigation, Republicans in the Senate have sought to investigate whether Blue Star Strategies, a public relations firm retained by Burisma, sought to leverage Hunter Biden's position on Burisma's board to influence policymakers in the Obama State Department. "At no time have we ever stated or indicated in any way that we would not cooperate". A no vote would have deadlocked the committee, but Romney joined other Republicans in approving the subpoena.

"If there's nothing there, fine", said Johnson said. He plans to issue a report in the coming months.

The Senate Judiciary Committee, led by Senator Lindsey Graham (Republican-South Carolina), is investigating surveillance warrants used in the FBI's probe of Russian meddling in 2016.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said the subpoenas are an effort to smear Biden before the November election. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., writing that they don't understand the need for a subpoena.

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