WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- A committee in the U.S Senate has voted to send a subpoena to a company over the activities of Vice President Joe Biden’s son.
- Some Republicans claimed that Hunter Biden has a questionable connection with Burisma, a gas company in Ukraine.
- Democrats criticized the decision, noting that addressing the coronavirus outbreak should be the focus of the Senate.
On Wednesday, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee voted yes, eight against six, to summon Blue Star Strategies. This lobbying group served as an adviser to Burisma, a fuel company in Ukraine that positioned Hunter Biden to serve as one of its board members.
The decision immediately displeased the Democrats, who said that the panel should prioritize monitoring the federal actions over the coronavirus crisis.
A shred of relevant evidence is yet to be established whether the Bidens have committed illegal activities, and Hunter Biden has repeatedly denied using his father’s influence to help Burisma. However, Republicans defending President Donald Trump throughout and following last year’s impeachment hearing have called for investigations over Hunter Biden’s undertakings.
The same Republicans also demand answers if Hunter’s influence in the consultancy firm has generated a conflict of interest for Joe Biden, in his capacity as a vice president who worked on Obama administration’s Ukraine policy.
Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, chairman of the Republican-dominated panel, has continually claimed that the probe is not meant to hurt presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Biden’s bid for this year’s election.
Another Republican on the panel, Florida Senator Rick Scott, said that while voting, they need to know the truth behind Bidens’ connection with Burisma, adding the Senate probe will shed light to the story.
A spokesperson from the Biden’s campaign, Andrew Bates, said through a statement that Johnson was doing a political favor for Trump, noting that the senator should focus on saving the lives of Americans.
Democrats criticized the inquiries as plainly political and said the move takes away the emphasis on how important it is to address the outbreak.
Michigan Senator Gary Peters, the leading Democrat on the committee, remarked that at this situation, Americans need the Senate to work closely together, and the exceedingly partisan probe is dividing the House.
Peters added that the CEO of Blue Star Strategies, Karen Tramontano, wrote a letter to the Senate, and she said the company is willing to work the committee as it ha also done before.
Johnson responded by telling Peters that he would let the Blue Star Strategies’ communication be included in the panel’s official documents but said the company did not cooperate as it claims.
Meanwhile, top Democratic senator Chuck Schumer said on Wednesday he thinks the summons are just for grandstanding, a show to make it appear that there was an unlawful activity.
Trump has mentioned earlier that he intends to use Hunter Biden’s issue in his reelection campaign, noting around March that it will be a significant matter, and he will continually talk about it.