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Monday, December 09, 2019

Romney Calls Senate Probe Of Biden ‘Political’


Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) said on Thursday that a newly revived Republican-led investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter "appears political."

Romney, the sole Republican who voted last month to convict Donald Trump of high crimes and misdemeanors related to his efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate Biden last year, toldreporters there was "no question but that the appearance of looking into Burisma and Hunter Biden appears political."

"And I think people are tired of these kind of political investigations," he said, suggesting the matter would better be handled by "the FBI or some other agency that's not as political as, perhaps, a committee of our body."

"We also have a lot of work to do on matters that are not related to Burisma. We probably ought to focus on those things," he added.

Romney serves on the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. Its chair, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) reportedly informed his colleagues on Sunday that he wants to subpoena witnesses about Hunter Biden's role at Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company.

The younger Biden served as a board member for Burisma from April 2014 to April 2019, when his term expired.

With an eight-to-six Republican majority on the committee, Romney's vote would be necessary for Johnson to issue any subpoenas, assuming all the Democratic members vote no.

Asked how he might vote on those subpoenas, Romney said Thursday he would decide after he has "had the chance to meet with the chairman and see what information he has."

Republicans have alleged without evidence that then-Vice President Biden forced the ouster of Ukraine's prosecutor general in 2015, in order to stop a corruption investigation into Burisma. There is no evidence of wrongdoing by either Biden or his son, and the prosecutor general's eventual replacement ended up launching further investigations into the energy company.

Last July, Trump tried to pressure the Ukrainian president into investigating the long-debunked matter by withholding security aid to the country. He was impeached for that action, as well as his decision to impede Congress' probe into the matter, but was not convicted by the GOP-controlled Senate.

Throughout the impeachment process, Republican lawmakers demanded Congress "get back to work" and abandon the impeachment investigation, which Trump had repeatedly referred to as a "witch hunt." Immediately after acquitting Trump, however, they announced a series of new politically-minded investigations, most of them focused on Biden or Trump's other opponents and critics.

Johnson announced his desire to issue subpoenas in the new Biden investigation after nearly a month of Republican silence on the matter and less than one day after the former vice president's landslide win in the South Carolina Democratic primary.

That victory, along with a strong Super Tuesday showing, has propelled the former vice president into the overall delegate lead and revitalized his once-struggling campaign.

It did not take long for Donald Trump's reelection committee to lash out at Romney on Thursday. In a tweet, campaign officials suggested that Romney was biased because a Burisma board member had years earlier served a "special adviser" on his 2012 presidential campaign.

There were at least 23 people with that title on Romney's former "Foreign Policy and National Security Advisory Team."

UPDATE: Romney announced on Friday morning that he will indeed vote for subpoenas in the Biden investigation despite his misgivings.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons, a novel and a memoir. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

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