Two Republican senators on Thursday sent a letter to the State Department (pdf) asking for records and interviews with persons of interest regarding Burisma Holdings, the Ukrainian energy company that once employed former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden on its board.
Co-signed by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the letter requests interviews and documents that pertain to the probe.
“The Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and the Committee on Finance (the Committees) continue to examine potential conflicts of interest relating to the Obama administration’s policy decisions with respect to Ukraine and Burisma Holdings,” wrote Johnson and Grassley, who serve as chairmen of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and of the Finance Committee, respectively.
“The Committees are examining the extent to which representatives of Burisma used individuals with close personal connections to high-level officials within the Obama administration to gain access to and potentially influence U.S. government agencies,” they wrote in the letter, which is addressed to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Of particular interest to the Committees are records that relate to Joe Biden’s interactions with then-President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko specific to an investigation into Burisma by Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin.
Shokin was fired by Poroshenko in March 2016 for reasons the former Prosecutor General claims had to do with his probe into Burisma.
“Former Vice President Biden previously expressed that he wanted Prosecutor General Viktor Shakin fired. When did the United States government determine that Shokin should be removed?” Johnson and Grassley wrote in the letter. “Please explain the justification for that decision and how and when that determination was communicated to the Ukrainian government.”
Hunter Biden’s reportedly lucrative position on the board of Burisma while his father was in office has drawn the ire of Republicans.
Burisma was at the center of attempts by President Donald Trump in July 2019 to persuade Ukraine to launch an investigation into the Bidens.
In February, state investigators in Ukraine launched a probe into alleged pressure by Joe Biden that led to Shokin’s dismissal.
Both Bidens have rejected claims of corrupt activities.
In March, Sen. Johnson sought to subpoena Blue Star Strategies, a U.S. firm with ties to Burisma.
“As part of the committee’s ongoing investigation, it has received U.S. government records indicating that Blue Star sought to leverage Hunter Biden’s role as a board member of Burisma to gain access to, and potentially influence matters at, the State Department,” Johnson said at the time, The Hill reported.
But as the crisis caused by the outbreak of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus, grew in severity and upended lawmaker priorities, the focus on the probe waned.
“There’s not much we can do for the time being, is there?” Johnson told The Hill in March, acknowledging the investigation was on the back burner as the Senate went on an extended recess.
In the letter, Johnson and Grassley also requested interviews with the following members of the State Department: U.S. Ambassador to Slovakia Bridgett Brink, U.S. Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs George Kent, and State Department official Elizabeth Zentos.
The two senators asked for the records to be provided and the interviews to be arranged by May 14 at the latest.