A Senate committee has moved forward with a subpoena for records from a Washington lobby shop about the work Hunter Biden did for the Ukrainian energy firm Burisma Holdings.
The committee is investigating whether representatives of Burisma, through the Blue Star firm, sought to influence Obama administration officials via the son of then-Vice President Joseph R. Biden and whether the Bidens had any conflicts of interest.
Questions about Hunter Biden’s work in Ukraine were at the center of the impeachment of President Trump. The Senate acquitted the president Feb. 5 on charges that he abused his power by pressing Kyiv to investigate purported corruption stemming from the high-paying job Hunter Biden landed at Burisma while his father led Obama administration efforts in that graft-riddled country.
The questions about Hunter Biden have not been resolved and promise to be an issue in the race for the White House this year as the former vice president closes in on the Democratic nomination.
The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee appeared to be focused on Andrii Telizhenko, a former consultant for Blue Star Strategies, but suddenly shifted last week to going after the lobbying firm itself.
Mr. Telizhenko claims to have information relevant to the investigation and has been teasing it on conservative talk radio.
Sen. Ron Johnson, Wisconsin Republican and the committee chairman, has notified the panel’s Democrats about the subpoena for Blue Star. Mr. Johnson’s letter indicates he also wants Blue Star CEO Karen Tramontano and Chief Operating Officer Sally Painter to testify before his committee.
“The suggestion was made by both Democrat and Republican members of our Committee that we should issue a subpoena directly to the source of the documents relevant to our work: Blue Star,” Mr. Johnson wrote in a letter last week. “I appreciate the engagement of our Committee members on this issue, and believe the appropriate course of action at this time is to accommodate this request.”
Committee members had been expected to vote Wednesday on issuing a subpoena against Mr. Telizhenko, but Mr. Johnson abruptly changed course to focus directly on Blue Star. He said he did it “out of an abundance of caution” and to give members time to receive more briefings.
Mr. Telizhenko appeared Thursday on conservative radio host Glenn Beck’s program and said he was going public with what he knows because he had been threatened. He did not explain the nature of the threats or who made them.
He also said he heard that if Mr. Biden wins the presidency, he may no longer be welcome in the U.S.
“I have emails, communications, with Blue Star Strategies throughout the time I worked for them, before and after that I wanted to share with the Senate, which is relevant for the investigation,” Mr. Telizhenko said. “There’s no Russia collusion here; it’s just documents.”
Mr. Telizhenko said his information is covered by a nondisclosure agreement, which is why he cannot turn over his information voluntarily to the Senate in the absence of a subpoena. He said he has evidence that Mr. Biden used the vice presidency and the National Security Council to target Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
Mr. Biden has repeatedly said that neither he nor his son did anything wrong.
Attorney General William Barr said last month that the Justice Department must be careful vetting Ukrainian information on the Bidens. He said the department has a process in place to scrutinize all information involving Ukraine.
“We have to be very careful with respect to any information coming from the Ukraine,” Mr. Barr said last month. “There are a lot of agendas in the Ukraine, there are a lot of crosscurrents, and we can’t take anything we receive from Ukraine at face value.”
Mr. Telizhenko said he has documentation showing Mr. Biden’s communications with Ms. Tramontano and Ms. Painter while Blue Star represented Burisma. No hearing has been scheduled for the testimony of the Blue Star executives.
• Ryan Lovelace can be reached at email@example.com.
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