As House Democrats wrapped up the public impeachment hearings on Nov. 21, Senate Republicans sent the latest round of records requests as part of a growing inquiry into the Obama administrations actions related to Burisma, the Ukrainian gas firm that hired Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joe Biden.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) wrote to the National Archives requesting records of January 2016 White House meetings with senior Ukrainian officials. The senators reference events detailed in an April 25 article by investigative reporter John Solomon, who quoted firsthand witnesses to report that Ukrainian officials who attended the White House meeting were encouraged to reopen an investigation involving the chairman of the Trump campaign and stand down from an investigation into Burisma.
On the same day, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) requested records from the State Department regarding the communications in 2016 between Biden, then-Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, and their respective offices.
Graham also requested information about a March 2, 2016, meeting between Devon Archer, Hunter Bidens business partner, and then-Secretary of State John Kerry. The meeting took place weeks after Ukrainian authorities seized the assets of Mykola Zlochevsky, the owner of Burisma. Archer and Hunter Biden were on the board of directors of Burisma at the time of the seizure.
The Nov. 21 letters are the latest request by the Senate Republicans, all three of whom have described the requests as an investigation. On Nov. 6, Grassley and Johnson sent a request for an extensive list of documents and information pertaining to the Bidens and Burisma to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. On Nov. 15, they asked for Suspicious Activity Reports from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) on a list of key players in the Burisma matter, including Hunter Biden, Archer, and their firm, Rosemont Seneca Partners. The Nov. 15 letter specifically referred to the Burisma inquiry as an active investigation.
“I love Joe Biden as a person but we are not going to give a pass to what is obviously a conflict of interest,” Graham, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, wrote on Twitter on Nov. 25. “I believe Hunter Bidens association on the Burisma board doesnt pass the smell test. If a Republican was in the same position, theyd certainly be investigated!”
I love Joe Biden as a person but we are not going to give a pass to what is obviously a conflict of interest.
I believe Hunter Bidens association on the Burisma board doesnt pass the smell test.
If a Republican was in the same position, theyd certainly be investigated!
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) November 25, 2019
The Republican inquiry is closely related to and may have an impact on the Democrat-run impeachment probe, which centers on a July 25 call between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Grassley is the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. Johnson is the chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. Graham is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
During the call, Trump asked if Zelensky would “look into” the firing of Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin. Joe Biden has publicly bragged about forcing Shokins ouster by withholding $1 billion in loan guarantees from Ukraine.
Weeks before submitting his resignation, Shokins office had ordered and executed the seizure of assets of Zlochevsky. While Biden withheld the loan guarantees, Ukraine faced a fiscal default and was fighting a war with Russia. At the same time, Bidens son served a paid position on Burismas board.
The Epoch Times didnt receive a response to a request for comment from the State Department, the White House, the attorneys for Hunter Biden and Archer, Burisma Holdings, the National Archives, or Joe Bidens 2020 campaign.
The offices of Grassley and Johnson declined to comment. A spokesman for FinCEN said the agency “does not comment on particular Suspicious Activity Reports, including whether or not they exist.”
The records from FinCEN could be particularly illuminating because its still unclear how much Biden and Archer were paid for their positions on the board of Burisma. According to bank records obtained in an unrelated federal lawsuit, the gas firm sent more than $160,000 every month to Rosemont Seneca Bohai from April 2014 through the end of 2016.
The events relating to Burisma in 2015 and 2016 werent limited to Ukraine. A U.S. representative for Burisma, Karen Tramontano, reached out to the State Department in February 2016 and leveraged Bidens position on the board in a request for a meeting with Deputy Secretary Catherine Novelli, according to emails obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.