(CNN)Senate Republicans on Wednesday issued a partisan report attacking Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden over his role on the board of a Ukrainian energy company but says little about the former vice president beyond the long-known potential conflict of interest issues that arose because of Hunter’s position.

The report was released fewer than two months before the presidential election and days before the first debate between Biden and President Donald Trump.The report focuses largely on Hunter Biden’s role on the board of Burisma, the Ukrainian energy firm, and his financial transactions with foreigners. The report says concerns were raised inside the Obama administration and with Biden directly about the potential issues surrounding Hunter Biden’s position. But the Republicans do not write that US policy changed because of Hunter Biden’s role — a key assertion pushed by Trump and other Republicans, which has never been backed up by any evidence.”The extent to which Hunter Biden’s role on Burisma’s board affected U.S. policy toward Ukraine is not clear,” the Republicans wrote.The Republican investigation into Joe and Hunter Biden, led by Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa, has been criticized by Democrats and the Biden campaign as a partisan attempt to boost Trump’s campaign, and Johnson has previously claimed the report will harm Biden’s candidacy.Read MoreSen. Mitt Romney, a Utah Republican on the Homeland Security Committee, also raised concerns last week about the investigation, saying it was not the legitimate role of government “to be used in an effort to damage political opponentsBiden’s role in Ukraine while he was vice president, in which he pushed for the firing of prosecutor general Viktor Shokin, was a significant topic during the impeachment of Trump last year.Trump and his allies repeatedly made unfounded and false claims to allege that the former vice president and his son acted corruptly in Ukraine. The effort to remove Shokin was backed by the Obama administration, European allies and even Republicans like Johnson. The report released Wednesday by Republicans makes little mention of Shokin’s firing, however.Senate panel approves more subpoenas for probe into FBI's Russia investigationSenate panel approves more subpoenas for probe into FBI's Russia investigationSenate panel approves more subpoenas for probe into FBI's Russia investigationDemocrats have accused Johnson of advancing a narrative in line with Russian disinformation efforts to denigrate Biden. Earlier this month, the Treasury Department sanctioned Andrii Derkach, a Ukrainian lawmaker who has spread Russian disinformation, calling him an active Russian agent.Johnson denied working with Derkach for the investigation, accusing Democrats of spreading their own disinformation by leveling the accusation.The report does include information form Andrii Telizhenko, who was a low-level Ukrainian diplomat and later a contractor with Blue Star Strategies, a US consulting firm that worked with Burisma. Telizhenko has worked with Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani to spread disinformation about Biden and about foreign meddling in the 2016 election.Telizhenko has said that the criticisms of him were part of a “smear campaign” by the Democratic Party.Sens. Gary Peters of Michigan and Ron Wyden of Oregon, the top Democrats on the two committees, released a rebuttal report to the Senate GOP findings, accusing Republicans of relying on Telizhenko despite his promoting of Derkach’s claims about Biden.”The Chairmen have amplified a known Russian attack on our election, and have used the credibility of the United States Senate to advance these discredited narratives, despite warnings from the Intelligence Community, the national security experts they interviewed over the course of their investigation, and Trump Administration officials,” the Democrats wrote.The Democratic report says the Republican investigation found no evidence of US government policy being altered due to Hunter Biden’s position.The Republicans write that Hunter Biden’s position and financial dealings with foreign individuals created a conflict of interest for the vice president, and notes those concerns were raised by State Department officials Amos Hochstein and George Kent, who testified during the impeachment proceedings that he raised the issues within the State Department while Biden was vice president.”What the Chairmen discovered during the course of this investigation is that the Obama administration knew that Hunter Biden’s position on Burisma’s board was problematic and did interfere in the efficient execution of policy with respect to Ukraine,” the report says.Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates accused Johnson of issuing a report “to subsidize a foreign attack against the sovereignty of our elections with taxpayer dollars — an attack founded on a long-disproven, hardcore rightwing conspiracy theory.”Hunter Biden said last year that he used “poor judgment” in serving on the board, but said he did nothing improper.”My son did nothing wrong. I did nothing wrong,” Joe Biden said during a Democratic primary debate last year. “I carried out the policy of the United States government in rooting out corruption in — in Ukraine. And that’s what we should be focusing on.”Trump allies immediately seized on the report and used it as a cudgel against Biden.White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany highlighted findings about Hunter Biden’s foreign income. Fox News host Mark Levin, who interviewed Trump earlier this week, tweeted that it’s “long past time to open a federal criminal investigation into Hunter Biden.”The Trump campaign issued a statement Wednesday attacking Biden over the report.Report quotes key impeachment witnessThe report alleges ethical lapses by the Bidens, but also concedes that the federal conflict-of-interest regulation “does not apply to the president or vice president,” which means Biden could not have violated this rule during his tenure. Many Democrats have called on these rules to be changed to cover these two top officials, and have pointed to Trump’s overseas business empire and all of its potential ethics conflicts.The Republicans also write that Hunter Biden’s overseas business dealings, including with officials in Ukraine, Russia, China and Kazakhstan, “illustrate serious counterintelligence and extortion concerns relating to Hunter Biden and his family,” pledging to continue investigating the matter. Hunter Biden’s overseas footprint is substantial for a vice president’s son — but it is small in comparison to the Trump family’s sprawling international business empire of hotels, golf courses and marketing deals.Even the title of the GOP report — “Hunter Biden, Burisma, and Corruption” — could prove controversial. Despite a year of searching, Republicans have uncovered no credible evidence that the Bidens did anything illegal in Ukraine. Furthermore, the US intelligence community has publicly warned that Kremlin-backed figures are peddling “claims about corruption” by the Bidens as part of Russia’s ongoing efforts to hurt Biden’s campaign and help Trump win.Asked Wednesday if the report was alleging Joe Biden acted corruptly Grassley said, “The only thing is I’ll let somebody else worry about that. We are just laying out what we know.”The first person quoted in the report is George Kent, a senior career State Department official who testified during impeachment. After his impeachment testimony, Republicans criticized his strength as a witness and Trump tweeted that he was part of the deep state. One year later, Republicans are praising Kent, calling him a “dedicated career-service individual” — and touting the parts of his testimony that look bad for Biden, in which he raised conflict-of-interest concerns about Hunter Biden. Perhaps the most revealing new information from the GOP report is that Hochstein “raised concerns directly” to Biden about “potential conflicts of interest” regarding his son, the report says, citing witness testimony and news reports. Hochstein, who handled energy issues for the Obama-era State Department, provided testimony to the committees but declined to answer questions about his conversation with Biden. He told the committee that he wanted Biden to know that Russian-backed media were using his son’s role on the Burisma board to “undermine” his message about cleaning up corruption in Ukraine. He said he also warned Hunter Biden that “the Russians were using his name … to sow disinformation among Ukrainians.” Hochstein was not a player in the impeachment saga but one top Trump adviser, Fiona Hill, said Hochstein told her in 2019 that Ukrainian officials were feeling pressure from Giuliani to do political favors for Trump. Hochstein was still in touch with Ukrainians through his post-government work in the energy industry.This story has been updated with additional developments Wednesday.

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https://www.cnn.com/2020/09/23/politics/republican-report-bidens-burisma-ron-johnson/index.html

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