Two Republican-led Senate committees issued a bombshell investigative report Wednesday alleging that the work Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, did in Ukraine constituted a conflict of interest for the Obama administration at a time when Biden was engaged in Ukraine policy as vice president.
The Biden campaign pointed out that the report said it was ultimately “unclear” what impact Hunter Biden’s position on the board of a Ukrainian gas company had on Obama administration policy with regard to Ukraine.
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Biden did pressure Ukraine to fire their top prosecutor during an investigation of a company that had his son on its leadership board. But the investigation found no direct evidence the former vice president demanded the firing of the prosecutor to protect his son.
Released six weeks before the election, the Biden campaign said the report was an effort by an ally of Trump to damage his election opponent.
Trump has repeatedly drawn attention to Hunter Biden’s controversial work in Ukraine and other foreign countries during the Obama administration.
Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, whose Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is one of the two panels that released the 87-page report, had acknowledged in interviews his goal of making the document public before the election, telling The Associated Press last month that the “American people deserve the truth” about his probe.
The investigation produced stark political divisions, with Democrats accusing Johnson of a politically motivated initiative at a time when they said the Homeland Security Committee should be focused on the coronavirus pandemic response. Even before the report was released, the Biden campaign issued a detailed statement aiming to rebut point-by-point allegations that it claimed had already been debunked.
The Senate report examines Hunter Biden’s dealings in Ukraine, where he held a paid seat on the board of gas company Burisma, and alleges that work posed a conflict of interest because Biden was vice president at the time and influencing Ukraine domestic policy.
It references a 2016 email from George Kent, the former acting deputy chief of mission at the Kyiv embassy, that described the presence of Hunter Biden on the Burisma board as “very awkward for all U.S. officials pushing an anticorruption agenda in Ukraine.”
Kent testified about his concerns during the impeachment proceedings against Trump last year.
Another State Department official, Amos Hochstein, is described in the report as having raised concerns directly to Biden because he was concerned that Russians were using his son’s role with the company to sow disinformation.
The report says that even though State Department officials regarded the head of the company, Mykola Zlokevsky, as corrupt, Biden did not confront him.
“What the Chairmen discovered during the course of this investigation is that the Obama administration knew that Hunter Biden’s position on Burisma’s board was problematic and did interfere in the efficient execution of policy with respect to Ukraine,” the report says.
“Moreover, this investigation has illustrated the extent to which officials within the Obama administration ignored the glaring warning signs when the vice president’s son joined the board of a company owned by a corrupt Ukrainian oligarch,” it adds.
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Republican senators acknowledge that the extent Hunter Biden affected Ukraine policy remains “unclear,” and the report does not describe specific policy decisions that were influenced.
Notably, the report makes limited mention of the claim by Trump that the vice president pressured Ukraine to fire its top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, as a way to stymie an investigation into Burisma’s owner. The allegations were central to the impeachment case against Trump after he asked Ukraine’s president in a telephone call last year to investigate the Bidens.
Trump was acquitted in his impeachment trial by a Republican-controlled Senate in a vote largely along party lines.
Hunter Biden has denied using his influence with his father for financial gain. But Republicans who came to Trump’s defense in this year’s impeachment trial asked for further investigations of his activities.
Johnson, a close ally of Trump, took the lead.
Here’s what he shared on social media —
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OUT TODAY: Report with @chuckgrassley found millions of dollars in questionable financial transactions between Hunter Biden & his associates and foreign individuals, including the wife of the former mayor of Moscow. https://t.co/R1MxQ4xGKP
— Senator Ron Johnson (@SenRonJohnson) September 23, 2020
The Associated Press contributed to this article