Feb 6, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Impeachment aftershocks: GOP considers Biden, Ukraine probes

Photo: Senate TV via AP

President Trump has been acquitted, but now Democrats — and Republicans — are seriously considering returning to battle over Ukraine with new waves of document and witness subpoenas.

What we're hearing: Many House Democrats want to pick up where the White House stonewalled them during impeachment. That could include renewed moves to seek John Bolton's testimony if he doesn't go public soon, while several Senate Republicans are contemplating investigations of Burisma, the Bidens and more.

  • The bitter debate over whether Trump's actions toward Ukraine were justified isn't dying with the end of the impeachment trial, and both parties see the opportunity to use these investigations to bring new evidence to light that could motivate voters ahead of the November elections.

What they're saying: Several Democrats want to continue investigating Trump and Ukraine and are still considering subpoenaing everyone from Lev Parnas to top current and former White House aides, especially if the White House blocks publication of former national security advisor Bolton's forthcoming book.

  • "John Bolton has to speak; the country wants to hear him," said Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.). "We can't run away from our oversight duties."
  • House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) told CNN Wednesday that House Democrats will “likely” subpoena Bolton and continue investigations.
  • "The general public deserves to know the facts of what happened here. And if the president tries to tie up Bolton’s book indefinitely, what he's depriving the voting public of is the insight that I would hope my Republican colleagues would agree they deserve," Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) told Axios.
  • Lead House impeachment manager Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), speaking in the Senate trial on Jan. 31, said that “the facts will come out in the end. In all of their horror, they will come out."
  • "There are more court documents and deadlines under the Freedom of Information Act," Schiff said. "Witnesses will tell their stories in future congressional hearings, in books and in the media. The documents the president is hiding will come out. The witnesses the president is concealing will tell their stories.”

Some Republicans are just as hungry for Biden blood.

  • Immediately after Trump's acquittal Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) announced a review of "potential conflicts of interest posed by the business activities of Hunter Biden and his associates during the Obama administration."
  • On Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told Fox Business' Maria Bartiromo that, as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, he would investigate the Bidens and whether their dealings with Ukraine were corrupt: “You should expect us to do this. If we don’t do it, we’re letting you down," he said.
  • Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said: “I think there needs to be an investigation" but that "it's important to note it's not it's not Hunter Biden, who needs to be investigated. It is rather Joe Biden." Cruz said, "I'd like to see the Judiciary Committee investigate. I'd like to see Foreign Relations investigate. I'd like to see the Department of Justice investigate."

Other Hill Republicans tell Axios there's little appetite to truly go after the Bidens now that Trump has been acquitted.

  • GOP aides tell Axios Trump's fiercest allies may do something to feed the narrative, but it'll be "extraordinarily half-assed and slow-walked," as one aide put it.
  • Some Republicans fear aggressively pursuing any investigations about Burisma will give the appearance of trying to hurt Joe Biden — a former Senate colleague —politically, which isn't worth it to them, the aide said, "especially since the Biden campaign looks like it’s toast."
  • "The issue of how Ukraine is progressing on corruption is a legitimate one, especially if it's a country that we intend to continue to support with aid," Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said. While questions about Burisma are "legitimate," he said, "I’m just not sure at this stage that Congress is the appropriate place."

Go deeper: The daily highlights from Trump's Senate impeachment trial

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Schiff: Bolton refused to give sworn statement on Ukraine to House Democrats

Bolton addresses reporters in the White House. Photo: Liu Jie/Xinhua via Getty Images

Former national security adviser John Bolton "refused" to submit a sworn affidavit "describing what he observed in terms of the president's Ukraine misconduct" to House Democrats after the Senate voted not to hear witnesses in President Trump's impeachment trial, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) told MSNBC on Wednesday.

Driving the news: Nadler said Wednesday it is "likely" House Democrats will subpoena Bolton and continue investigations into Trump's hold on military aid to Ukraine. Schiff told "The Rachel Maddow Show" that no decision had been made to subpoena Bolton.

Lindsey Graham says DOJ is receiving Ukraine information from Giuliani

Attorney General Bill Barr. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said on CBS' "Face the Nation" that he spoke to Attorney General Bill Barr on Sunday and that the Department of Justice has "created a process" to receive and verify information that Rudy Giuliani gathered about the Bidens in Ukraine.

Why it matters: The House impeached President Trump for allegedly abusing his power to coerce Ukraine to investigate his political rivals. Graham's suggestion that the Justice Department may now be receiving information on the Bidens from the president's lawyer — whose activities in Ukraine helped set off the impeachment inquiry — would be a significant development.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Feb 9, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Treasury Department complying with GOP requests for Hunter Biden review

Photo: eresa Kroeger/Getty Images for World Food Program USA

Republican Sens. Chuck Grassley (Iowa) and Ron Johnson (Wis.) announced a review on Wednesday of "potential conflicts of interest posed by the business activities of Hunter Biden and his associates during the Obama administration."

Why it matters: The announcement came roughly one hour after the Senate voted to acquit President Trump on both articles of impeachment. Trump's request for Ukraine to investigate Hunter and Joe Biden over unsubstantiated corruption claims is ultimately what sparked his impeachment.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Feb 6, 2020 - Politics & Policy