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NBC News reports that Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI), chair of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, has pushed forward an inquiry into long-debunked Ukraine corruption claims against Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential candidate. The Biden campaign in turn has accused Johnson of being party to a “foreign influence operation against the United States.”

  • The campaign shared a memo signed by Deputy Campaign Manager Kate Bedingfield with NBC News. In this memo, the campaign accuses Johnson of “diverting” his committee away from oversight on COVID-19 pandemic to instead pursue a “a long debunked, hardcore rightwing conspiracy theory” about Biden in an attempt to assist President Donald J. Trump’s re-election campaign.
  • NBC News explains that at issue is Biden’s attempt as Vice President to oust Viktor Shokin, the Russia-aligned former prosecutor general of Ukraine. Johnson’s inquiry and similar conspiracy theories accuse Biden of doing so in order to shield his son, Hunter Biden, from an investigation into the Burisma energy company he worked at in Ukraine.
  • However, NBC News has previously reported that the evidence for actual wrongdoing by Joe Biden is limited. The broader United States government and several other allied western nations were already calling for Shokin’s dismissal, on the grounds that he was soft on corruption.
  • Furthermore, media investigations suggest that Shokin’s investigation into Burisma was dormant at the time of his ouster, suggesting that any supposed danger of scrutiny Hunter Biden might face was no more.
  • Despite this, Trump attempted to withhold about $400 million in military aid from Ukraine in an attempt to pressure the government to investigate these accusations against Biden.
  • By so doing, Trump became the third president of the United States to face impeachment by the House of Representatives.
  • The Senate acquitted Trump of the charge, and allies such as Johnson have vowed to press forward with investigations into Biden and Ukraine.
  • And the Washington Post reports that pro-Russia Ukrainians have already passed on edited audio recordings to the committee.
  • However, when asked about the investigation, a committee staffer told NBC News that the committee had not received any “oppo” research, saying “The claims are false and Democrats know this.”
  • But the same staffer did not directly respond to questions about whether the committee had received any materials from foreign sources.

The Biden campaign memo adds that Johnson, the Trump campaign, the White House, and the State Department

have all declined to comment on whether that is true—meaning that each are refusing to tell the American people whether they are party to a foreign influence operation… Senator Johnson should be working overtime to save American lives and jobs—but instead, he’s wasting taxpayer dollars on a blatantly dishonest attempt to help Donald Trump get reelected.

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