FILE PHOTO: Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) at Senate committee hearing on August 6, 2020 in Washington D.C. Toni Sandys/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

An inquiry led by two Senate committees accused Hunter Biden, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s son, of conducting work in Ukraine that resulted in a conflict of interest for the Obama administration. The investigation was led by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and the Finance Committee Chariman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).

In November of 2019, Johnson and Grassley requested additional information from the U.S. State Department regarding Obama administration policy decisions in connection with Ukraine and Burisma Holdings. In June 2020, Ukrainian officials said they were offered $5 million in bribes to end a probe into Burisma’s founder but said there was no connection to Hunter or Joe Biden.

The report released this week concluded that Hunter Biden’s role on the board of Burisma Holdings led U.S. officials to “endure the awkwardness” of his role while pushing for an anti-corruption agenda. Two officials raised conflict-of-interest concerns at the time. Hunter Biden also received payments from foreign nationals and did business with Chinese nationals. Johnson and Grassley said the investigation has “faced many obstacles” from Democrats and added that “there remains much work to be done.”

In a competing document, Democrats accused Republicans of “amplif[ying] discredited allegations” and called the investigation “a partisan and unnecessary distraction.” They detailed a lack of meaningful new information and added that all 10 witnesses interviewed stated that Vice President Biden did not alter U.S. foreign policy to benefit his son. 

Andrew Bates, a spokesman for Biden’s campaign, stated that Johnson was subsidizing “a foreign attack against the sovereignty of our elections with taxpayer dollars” by elevating “a long-disproven, hard-core right-wing conspiracy theory.” The Republican report did not contain evidence that Joe Biden manipulated American policy toward Ukraine or committed other misdeeds.

Tim Murtagh, communications director for President Donald Trump’s campaign, referred to the investigation’s “explosive new revelations” as “stunning levels of corruption and breathtaking breaches of America’s national security.” He urged journalists to “relentlessly question” Biden about the report’s findings.

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

Senate Republicans release report on Biden-Ukraine investigation with rehashed information – Axios – 9/23/2020
The report ultimately fails to support one of Republicans’ top claims about the Burisma affair — that, as vice president, Joe Biden fought for the ouster of Ukraine’s top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, to protect Burisma and his son from scrutiny on corruption issues. In fact, European countries and international bodies had contemporaneously accused Shokin of failing to pursue corruption, including in the Burisma case, and wanted him fired.

BREAKING: Hunter Biden Received Millions From Wife Of Ex-Moscow Mayor, Paid Suspects Allegedly Tied To Trafficking, Had Contacts With Individuals Linked To Chinese Military, Senate Report Alleges – The Daily Wire – 9/23/2020
A bombshell report from the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs (HSGAC) and the Committee on Finance makes a series of damning new allegations against Hunter Biden, the son of Democrat presidential nominee. The investigation launched after Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA) publicly raised conflict-of-interest concerns about the sale of a U.S. company to a Chinese firm with ties to Hunter Biden a month before Congress was notified about a whistleblower complaint that was the catalyst for Democrats’ impeachment of President Donald Trump.

Senate Republicans Release Hunter Biden Hatchet Job Weeks From Election Day – The Daily Beast – 9/23/2020
The GOP investigation, launched after Biden became a frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, has been framed by Johnson as explicitly political—drawing condemnation even from Republican senators. Last week, Johnson said his report would reveal that Biden “is not somebody we should be electing president of the United States.” On Wednesday, following the publication, the Biden campaign immediately dismissed the report as politically-motivated nonsense.

Rand Paul Says Senate Panel Will Refer Report on Hunter Biden’s Foreign Dealings to DOJ for Criminal Investigation – National Review – 9/24/2020
Senator Rand Paul (R., Ky.) announced Wednesday that he would refer the Senate Homeland Security and Finance Committees’ report on its investigation into Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings to the Department of Justice for a “a criminal investigation that’s justified.” “I think riding on Air Force Two and doing business is illegal … and probably a felony,” Paul said in an appearance on Fox News. “I think it’s illegal to take money from a Russian politician’s wife, $3.5 million, was it reported accurately?”

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

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