Tensions flare as GOP’s Biden probe ramps up

TheHill reports tensions are ramping up over a GOP probe into the Obama administration that focuses, in part, on Hunter Biden, the son of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

Months into the controversial Senate Republican investigation, frustration appears to be boiling over as both sides step up their attacks in the growing shadow of the November elections.

Democrats, the Biden campaign and their outside group allies are increasingly going public with their concerns over the investigation, which they worry could spread Russian disinformation. They are targeting Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), who has been spearheading the effort.

“He’s spending his time on partisan investigations instead of actually doing the people’s business. … This type of conduct is unacceptable and needs to be called out,” Kyle Herrig, executive director of the Congressional Integrity Project, told reporters during a call on Monday.

The Democratic-aligned group launched late last week, making Johnson its first target. It released a report late last week on his stock sales and a poll on Monday showing that among Wisconsin voters, just 30 percent thought the investigation that involves, in part, Hunter Biden, should be a top priority for Johnson’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

That compares to 35 percent who thought it should be a low priority and 31 percent who thought it should not be a priority.

After being told that Johnson was “leading the probe into Hunter Biden,” 50 percent said it made them less favorable toward Johnson.

Johnson has said repeatedly his investigation is not centered on the Bidens and is not being driven by the elections. But some of his requests for information have centered on Hunter Biden’s travel records, contacts between Joe Biden and Ukraine and Hunter Biden’s business associates.

“Other people talk about this being centered on Joe and Hunter Biden. It’s not. We’re taking a look at the corruption of the transition process, and we’re taking a look at those conflicts of interest and how that might have affected, for example, policies coming out of the State Department. So the materials we’re reviewing come from the State Department, they come from the National Archives, they come from a Democrat-led lobbying firm that a Ukrainian national worked for and gave him access to very high levels of the Obama administration,” Johnson told WISN, a Wisconsin TV station, in an interview that aired on Sunday.

Johnson is hinting that he will soon ask for new subpoenas as part of his probe and that he’s preparing to release an interim report by Sept. 15.

“We’ve kind of set a target date for Sept. 15. And I’ve said, ‘OK guys, that has to be hard and fast,’” Johnson told The Hill last week, adding that we’ll “probably start seeing some subpoenas being issued.”

Top congressional Democrats sent a request last month asking FBI Director Christopher Wray for a briefing over concerns about Russia attempting to meddle in the 2020 presidential election.

Democrats pointed to Johnson’s investigation as a source of their concerns, and in particular that he could be receiving information from Ukrainians with ties to the Kremlin that were aimed at discrediting Biden and spreading Russian misinformation.

“We are gravely concerned, in particular, that Congress appears to be the target of a concerted foreign interference campaign, which seeks to launder and amplify disinformation in order to influence congressional activity, public debate, and the presidential election in November,” they wrote.