‘I think people are tired of these kind of political investigations…’
UPDATE: Politico reports that Mitt Romney has said he will vote to subpoena records related to Hunter Biden’s work for Ukrainian oil company Burisma.
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) After going all-in for Democrats’ flimsy case to subpoena additional witnesses during President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, NeverTrump Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, elected a Republican, has flipped his attitude on wanting to have a thorough account of White House’s apparent abuse of power.
Immediately following Trump’s acquittal, Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., who chairs the Senate Homeland Security Committee, stepped up what had been a three-year investigation into Burisma‘s corrupt dealings in Ukraine by subpoenaing the travel records of its former board member, Hunter Biden.
Johnson is also seeking documents from Blue Star, a U.S. based legislative-affairs lobbying operation that—along with Biden and his business partner, Devon Archer—represented Burisma’s interest to the U.S. State Department and others during the Obama administration.
But Romney, who could cast the tie-breaking vote next Wednesday in whether or not to issue the subpoenas, showed little interest in supporting the effort.
“I think people are tired of these kind of political investigations,” he told The Washington Post, further claiming that this one “appears political.”
The Post‘s piece rehashed several stale, left-wing tropes suggesting that there was “little evidence” of misconduct on Biden’s part, despite the fact that Johnson was seeking precisely that.
The article also pushed a new talking point: that the probe into Biden and his father, former Vice President Joe Biden, had gone dormant during the few weeks between Trump’s acquittal vote and the Super Tuesday primary elections, when the latter Biden once more regained his front-runner status in the Democratic primary race.
However, there is little evidence that this was, in fact, the case.
Buying the Left’s defense, that the long-running Burisma investigation was a matter of optics more than public integrity, Romney suggested he would instead support a special-counsel probe into it.
“I would prefer that investigations are done by an independent, nonpolitical body,” he said. “There’s no question the appearance is not good.”
However, in the wake of the Mueller Report, which debunked accusations that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia, Democrats also have sought to discredit the Justice Department, claiming it, too, has been compromised.
Shady Ukraine Dealings
Johnson’s investigation likely would explore whether Hunter Biden, Archer and Blue Star sought to inappropriately pressure the U.S. officials to, in turn, pressure Ukraine’s Petro Poroshenko administration into dropping its Burisma investigations.
Shortly after prosecutor-general Viktor Shokin raided several Burisma-related locations, the natural-gas company stepped up its communications with the State Department, including what appears to have been a meeting between Archer and then-Secretary of State John Kerry.
Archer—who, along with Hunter Biden, received a million dollars a year for his “consulting” work on the Burisma board of directors—had been a former top aide to Kerry and was college roommates with Kerry’s stepson, Chris Heinz.
Heinz, also a founding member of the Rosemont Seneca Partners firm, later disassociated himself from the business when Hunter Biden and Archer joined the Burisma board in 2014.
Roughly a month after Burisma ramped up its U.S. lobbying efforts, in March 2016, Joe Biden, who was overseeing U.S.–Ukrainian affairs for the White House, met with Poroshenko and threatened to withhold a billion-dollar loan if Shokin was not fired as the prosecutor–general.
Biden later bragged, during a 2018 panel discussion, about pressuring the Ukrainian administration to oust its lead investigator.
“I looked at them and said, ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money,’” he recounted in a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations. “Well, son of a bitch, he got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time.”
Democrats and their media allies claim that Shokin’s firing was unrelated to the Burisma investigation, widely pointing to the demands from several globalist entities—including one funded by leftist mega-donor George Soros—that Shokin be fired for failing to support their so-called anti-corruption priorities.
Shokin also had investigated some of the “anti-corruption” groups who were behind a 2014 revolution that had ousted the prior, Russian-backed administration.
A Dubious Defense
Biden apologists point to the fact that a handful of GOP senators, Johnson among them, had signed a letter supporting Shokin’s removal.
However, Johnson said that bipartisan overture was but one of many letters he affixed his signature to.
Moreover, his ongoing investigation into Blue Star suggests he did so without the knowledge of Burisma’s U.S. lobbying efforts and the likely conflict of interest involving the Bidens.
The issue is among several alarming revelations about Biden’s political patronage of his family’s personal enrichment efforts that the media widely shrugged off, both during and after the Obama administration.
However, when Trump and his attorney, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, pressed the matter with the newly elected Ukrainian president, Democrats cried foul, claiming abuse of power.
Although House Democrats’ articles of impeachment against Trump failed to produce a crime, Romney—an adversary of Trump’s since the 2016 presidential campaign, despite having been endorsed in his own political efforts by the president—was the only Republican during Trump’s Senate trial who voted to convict.
Yet, in his recent Post interview, Romney downplayed the Bidens’ parallel, antecedent abuses of power.
“With regards to Hunter Biden, taking excessive advantage of his father’s name is unsavory but also not a crime,” Romney said.
“Given that in neither the case of the father nor the son was any evidence presented by the president’s counsel that a crime had been committed, the president’s insistence that they be investigated by the Ukrainians is hard to explain other than as a political pursuit,” he claimed. “There is no question in my mind that were their names not Biden, the president would never have done what he did.”