U.S. Senate panel approves subpoena in Hunter Biden probe

U.S. Senate panel approves subpoena in Hunter Biden probe”

Ron Johnson, has repeatedly insisted that the investigation is not created to hurt Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee in this year's presidential election.

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee voted 8-6 to authorize the subpoena Chairman Ron Johnson requested for Blue Star Strategies, a USA public affairs firm that worked with Burisma, the Ukrainian company which hired Biden.

A Senate panel issued its first subpoena Wednesday as part of a Republican effort to probe the Obama administration and former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee heading into November's polls. Some, including the committee's top Democrat, have suggested that Johnson is serving as an unwitting pawn in a Russian disinformation campaign.

Democratic Senator Gary Peters of MI, the top Democrat on the committee, said Wednesday that the panel was "going down a unsafe road" at a time of national crisis.

"At this moment when Americans need us to work together, this extremely partisan investigation is pulling us apart, " he said.

After the vote, Johnson defended the investigation. If there's nothing there, we'll find out there's nothing there. Harris then urged her fellow committee members to "vote against this political sideshow so we can focus on the pandemic that is threatening the lives and the livelihoods of the American people".

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Since the impeachment investigation, Republicans in the Senate have sought to investigate whether Blue Star Strategies, a public relations firm retained by Burisma, sought to leverage Hunter Biden's position on Burisma's board to influence policymakers in the Obama State Department.

Democrats say Trump and his party are trying to shore up his re-election prospects by targeting Biden.

Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in mid-2019 to "look into" corruption allegations against the Bidens, noting that Joe Biden forced the ouster in 2016 of a prosecutor who was probing Burisma.

But experts say that veiled names in intelligence materials are routinely "unmasked" by government officials who are seeking to understand the context of what they are reviewing, and that unmasking itself does not show evidence of wrongdoing.

Politico reports the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee approval received objections from Democrats.

In a letter provided to Johnson before the voting, Blue Star Strategies Co-founder and CEO Karen Tramontano said that the company is willing to cooperate, had provided information demanded by the committee, and offered to be interviewed. A no vote by Romney would have deadlocked the committee.

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