Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jim Risch said Tuesday that he has no plans to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden over Ukraine, despite being urged to do so by a top Senate Republican and Donald Trump ally.
When asked if he was going to look into Biden’s role in the firing of Ukrainian prosecutor Victor Shokin — including whether it was done to protect Hunter Biden’s position at Burisma, a top Ukrainian natural gas company — Risch said it wasn’t something he was considering.
“I’ve got other things I’m doing right now, and I haven’t given it any thought,” Risch told reporters. And that's how most of his colleagues feel.
Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and other GOP hardliners are pushing for a multi-pronged Biden probe by Senate panels, despite the fact that no evidence exists the former vice president was involved in any Ukraine coverup. Graham has said he's going to look into potential abuse of surveillance laws that led to the Russia probe by former special counsel Robert Mueller.
But there appears to be little appetite among other Senate Republicans for an extended effort to investigate Biden, who has already taken a political hit over the Hunter Biden controversy.
Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) has been looking into the whistleblower process overall, although he is not specifically targeting the individual whose complaint triggered the Ukraine scandal.
And Burr acknowledged that he wasn’t trying to “re-litigate” the events that led to Trump’s impeachment.
“I’ve never conducted an investigation in public, and I’m not going to now,” Burr said when asked whether he planned to subpoena the whistleblower.
Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) wouldn’t say whether he had any plans to subpoena the Bidens.
Johnson, though, said his focus was more on alleged efforts by Ukrainian officials to interfere in the 2016 election and whether there was any involvement of Obama administration officials. As with the alleged Biden coverup of Bursima, no evidence has emerged to show any such links, but Trump seized on the theories during his push to get Ukraine to pursue investigations that would help his political prospects.
“My concern is to really get to the bottom of DNC involvement, meetings in the White House in January 2016, that involved a certain NSC Ukraine specialist, and involved Ukrainian prosecutors. We have to get to the bottom of this,” Johnson said. Johnson and Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) have sought thousands of pages of internal documents from the Obama White House, but former President Barack Obama would have to agree to release this information, which doesn’t seem likely at this point.
The top Democrat on Foreign Relations, Sen. Bob Menendez (N.J.), said Republicans should focus on the real issues facing the country, not the Bidens.
“There’s a lot of things happening in the world that affect the national interest and security of the United States far more than any investigation of the Bidens,” Menendez said. “Looking at Russia, looking at China, looking at North Korea, Iran… It’s ridiculous.”