The vote represents a significant escalation of the GOP-led Senate Homeland Security panel’s probe targeting Trump’s political foes.
A Senate committee voted on Wednesday to authorize more than three dozen subpoenas and depositions as part of a highly partisan, Republican-led investigation targeting former Obama administration officials’ role in the presidential transition period.
But in a last-minute twist, the GOP-controlled panel decided to scrap a separate vote authorizing a subpoena to Bridget Brink, the U.S. ambassador to Slovakia, as part of the committee’s investigation centering on Joe and Hunter Biden.
Still, Wednesday’s vote represents a significant escalation of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee’s probes targeting President Donald Trump’s political foes — less than 50 days before Election Day.
In a party-line, Republican members of the committee gave its chairman, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), the power to compel testimony from several current and former officials, including former FBI Director James Comey and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who involved in the transition process in 2016 and 2017 as well as the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
After Johnson pulled down the Brink subpoena, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) indicated that he would have voted against it, which would have effectively killed it. The decision to scrap the Brink subpoena vote was made independently of Romney’s opposition, according to aides, who said Brink agreed earlier this week to testify voluntarily and a subpoena was no longer necessary.
Romney said the Biden investigation “has the earmarks of a political exercise,” citing “recent remarks in the media” — a clear reference to Johnson’s recent public statements indicating that his investigation will denigrate Biden’s prospects in the election. Romney also said it was “not the legitimate role of government, for Congress or for taxpayer expense, to be used in an effort to damage political opponents.”
Johnson is preparing to release an interim report on that probe, which examines Hunter Biden’s role on the board of the Ukrainian gas company Burisma. There’s no evidence that Joe Biden or his son were involved in any wrongdoing.
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