Senate Republicans are still pushing to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter ahead of the 2020 election even as the Congressional schedule was upended by the coronavirus crisis, Politico reports.
Homeland Security Committee Chairman Sen. Ron Johnson vowed to move forward with the probe despite the Senate out on recess before they are expected to return to craft a fourth phase coronavirus relief bill.
“While the chairman is primarily focused on the once-in-a-generation crisis we’re experiencing, our oversight staff is continuing to push ahead with their work. Nothing has changed in our long-term plans for our investigations,” a spokesman for Johnson told the outlet.
A Senate staffer working on the investigation already warned at least one witness that the pandemic would not interfere with the probe.
Democrats clash with GOP over probe:
The Republican insistence to move forward with the probe resulted in a “combative and partisan snipe-fest” during a top-secret briefing on 2020 election security, according to the report.
Johnson claimed that the probe had nothing to do with the upcoming election.
But New Hampshire Sen. Maggie Hassan and Montana Sen. Jon Tester took issue with the plan.
“Sen. Tester expressed concern over the reliance on reportedly untrustworthy foreign nationals and cautioned his colleagues against playing politics with national security,” a Tester spokeswoman said.
Hassan said that she believes the committee “should not play a role in enabling” Russian interference in the 2020 election.
Coronavirus may push probe closer to election day:
Despite plans to move forward, Congress remains on recess and will have its work cut out when it sets out to craft the next relief bill.
The result may push the hearings closer to Election Day, prompting more concerns among Democrats that the party was using the probe to damage Biden’s candidacy.
“I frankly think that that is a line of inquiry that has already been pursued over and over and over. And not a single credible journalistic outlet has concluded that the former vice president did anything wrong,” Delaware Sen. Chris Coons told Politico. “And so, they can keep pushing that narrative and keep trying to bring that up and try to make that work.”