Senate panel approves more subcontracts for FBI investigation into Russia investigation

Former vice presidents – who were sent to such officials as former CIA director John Brennan, former director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former FBI director James Comey – are the latest signs that the committee is investigating political opponents of President Donald Trump This is before the November election. Uppenas, who was approved on a party-line vote Wednesday, differed from the panel’s investigation into a Ukrainian energy firm and former Vice President Joe Biden, which Homeland Security president Ron Johnson said he plans to release soon.

But Democrats have accused Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican, of using both investigations to try to push Trump’s opponents ahead of the election – and put forward a narrative by Russian-linked operatives to discredit Biden .

Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah expressed concern that the Ukrainian investigation “had signs of a political practice.”

“It is not a legitimate role for the government, for Congress or for taxpayers’ expense, in an effort to harm political opponents,” Romney said at a committee meeting on Wednesday.

Johnson has said that he plans to soon release findings from the GOP-led investigation into Ukrainian energy firm Burma, Biden and his son Hunter Biden, which was on Burma’s board. Johnson told GOP supporters earlier this week that the investigation would show “a witness to Vice President Biden’s office,” according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

“I don’t think it will reflect well on that,” Johnson told reporters on Tuesday.

Trump and his allies repeatedly made unfounded and false claims during impeachment proceedings last year, alleging that Biden and his son had acted corruptly in Ukraine to oust the country’s prosecutor general. But that effort was supported by American policy and Western allies, and even Johnson at the time.
Johnson defended the panel’s investigation at Wednesday’s committee meeting. He denied that he had received any notice for an investigation from Ukrainian MP Andrey Derkach, who was cleared by the US Treasury Department last week as an active Russian agent, who spread disinformation to discredit Biden. having had.

Johnson accused Democrats of working with Dirkach to spread disinformation, stating that they had “coordinated smears” to “replicate, distort and embellish false allegations.”

Michigan’s panel of Democrats, Sen. Gary Peters, alleged Wednesday that Johnson’s investigation was “designed to influence the presidential election.” Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates said Johnson had “accepted the true purpose of this sham: to bail out Donald Trump’s reunion campaign.”

Romney has previously expressed reservations about Johnson’s Ukraine investigation being a political effort. He voted in favor of the subpoenas on Wednesday, but made a point to note the difference of investigation in the FBI’s Russia investigation, which is about the opening of the investigation and the “unmasking” requests made in the Obama administration and Ukraine. Targeting Biden.

Romney said Wednesday that the Ukraine investigation was “from the outset, indicative of a political practice.”

“I am afraid that recent comments made in the media have only confirmed that perspective,” he said, a nod to Johnson’s comments earlier this week.

Romney told CNN on Wednesday that his earlier votes in the Ukraine subdivision of the investigation allowed him to “get some protection” within the scope of the investigation. Romney opposed the initial plan by Johnson, a Ukrainian who has worked with the president’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, such as Andrey Telrizenko, and Derkach, who spread the principles of an electoral conspiracy.

Romney says he has yet to take a committee report or panel testimony.

Johnson’s spokesman, Austin Ellenberg, said in response to Romney’s comments, “This is Congress. Everything here has implications for politics and elections. The committee is clearly authorized to investigate conflicts of interest, and its Burma and the US “Investigations into Ukraine policy began. It was decided before the Democratic nominee for the presidency. The American people have the right to know what happened and what didn’t.”

The committee has already authorized the sub-officers for the documents, the sub-award to the same officials for the deposit on Wednesday. A party-line vote on Wednesday added seven new officers to the list, including former acting FBI director Andrew McCabe.

The committee was planning to issue a sub-topic for an Obama-era State Department official, Bridget Brink, now the US ambassador to Slovakia, but Johnson said Tuesday that the interview was scheduled to be voluntary Was.

A person familiar with the investigation said Amos Hochstein, an Obama Administration State Department official, has also been slated for interview on Thursday by the committee. The panel has already interviewed several Obama-era State Department officials, including George Kent, a key witness during the impeachment proceedings.

This story has been updated with additional developments on Wednesday.

Cara Scannell and Manu Raju of CNN contributed to this report.