House Republicans say their counterparts in the Senate need to do more to help President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate MORE on impeachment.
The House GOP lawmakers note their power is limited on impeachment hearings, but Senate Republicans have the authority to call witnesses and issue subpoenas. Republicans in the lower chamber have expressed frustration that little attention has been paid to allegations that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 presidential election and that former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate MORE may have had a serious conflict of interest with regard to Ukraine because of his son Hunter Biden.
Major media outlets, with the exception of Fox News, have given little credibility to these allegations pushed by Trump, his personal lawyer Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiBiden: Impeachment hearings show ‘Trump doesn’t want me to be the nominee’ Sondland brings impeachment inquiry to White House doorstep FBI sought interview with whistleblower at heart of impeachment probe MORE and their allies.
Rep. Lee ZeldinLee ZeldinThis week: Round 2 of House impeachment inquiry hearings Sondland testimony looms over impeachment hearings this week Five takeaways from ex-ambassador’s dramatic testimony MORE (R-N.Y.), after a marathon day of impeachment hearings Tuesday, complained that allegations that Ukraine interfered in U.S. politics and that Biden was conflicted in his dealings with Ukraine have been considered “debunked” without a more thorough review.
“The Democrats and some in the media like to just say the Burisma/Zlochevsky issue is just totally debunked, even though Burisma is a corrupt Ukrainian company run by a corrupt Ukrainian oligarch hiring Hunter Biden — by Hunter’s Biden own admission — solely because [of] his last name, solely because he’s the vice president’s son,” Zeldin said, referring to Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian gas company that paid Hunter Biden generously to serve on its board, and the company’s owner, Mykola Zlochevsky.
Several Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee said Senate Republicans should delve into this side of the impeachment story.
While Senate Republicans have discussed the possibility of a Ukraine investigation focused on Joe and Hunter Biden, there has been little follow-through.
“I think that’s appropriate,” said Rep. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanWill Republicans continue to engage in willful blindness? How Democrats can avoid fatal flaws of their impeachment inquiry Live coverage: Schiff closes with speech highlighting claims of Trump’s corruption MORE (R-Ohio) when asked if the Senate needs to do more to investigate Ukrainian corruption and links to the Bidens. “The Democrats keep saying it’s some conspiracy theory.”
“I think it would be helpful to get the bottom of all that,” added Jordan, a staunch defender of Trump.
He pointed to a claim by a member of the Ukrainian parliament that many of the country’s political figures wanted Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonAs Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Harris rips Gabbard over Fox appearances during Obama years Steyer, Gabbard and Yang shut out of early minutes of Democratic debate MORE to win the 2016 election, a critical 2016 op-ed aimed at then-candidate Trump by Ukrainian Ambassador to the U.S. Valeriy Chaly, and criticism that Arsen Avakov, the former Ukrainian interior minister, leveled at Trump on Facebook.
“That’s serious,” Jordan said.
He expressed frustration that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffNunes’s facial expression right before lawmakers took break from Sondland testimony goes viral Sondland brings impeachment inquiry to White House doorstep Maloney wins House Oversight gavel MORE (D-Calif.) has refused to call Hunter Biden or request that the whistleblower testify.
Asked if the Senate should step in and call witnesses left out of the House impeachment hearing, Jordan said “heck, yeah” and “sure they should.”
GOP leaders specially appointed Jordan to the Intelligence Committee last month to spearhead Trump’s defense.
Rep. Brad WenstrupBrad Robert WenstrupSix memorable moments from Ex-Ukraine ambassador Yovanovitch’s public testimony Live coverage: Ex-Ukraine ambassador testifies in public impeachment hearing Washington celebrates diplomacy — and baseball — at Meridian Ball MORE (R-Ohio), another member of the House Intelligence Committee, said “there really could be” a bigger role played by Senate Republicans because Schiff has blocked House GOP requests for witnesses who could show that Trump had a legitimate interest in pressing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate corruption.
“We’re really stymied here,” he said.
Wenstrup said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham: Report on alleged surveillance abuse in 2016 to be released Dec. 9 McConnell hopes Senate impeachment trial ‘not too lengthy a process’ Hillicon Valley: Progressives oppose funding bill over surveillance authority | Senators call for 5G security coordinator | Facebook gets questions over location tracking | Louisiana hit by ransomware attack MORE (R-S.C.) and Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrMcConnell hopes Senate impeachment trial ‘not too lengthy a process’ Bipartisan senators urge national security adviser to appoint 5G coordinator GOP divided over impeachment trial strategy MORE (R-N.C.) could bolster Republican counterarguments by launching their own investigations.
“I would love for them to do it because that’s the only way I think we’re going to get to the whole truth,” he said.
Graham has given different statements on the need to investigate Ukrainian corruption and the Bidens.
In September, he and Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonSondland testifies quid pro quo in Ukraine was real and widely known Dem senator says Zelensky was ‘feeling the pressure’ to probe Bidens Former Bush aide defends Vindman, criticizes GOP congressmen for ‘defaming’ him MORE (R-Wis.) floated the idea of investigating Biden.
Graham, who is up for reelection next year, told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt someone “should look at corruption” related to the Ukraine but said the probe should be conducted outside the Senate.
He then told reporters in late September that he didn’t call on Hunter Biden to testify because he didn’t “want to turn the Senate into a circus.”
But after coming back to Washington after a two-week recess in October, Graham said he hadn’t yet made a decision on bringing Biden before the Judiciary Committee and suggested it would depend on what information Giuliani, who had been invited to testify, would provide.
Graham and other Senate Republicans have also come under pressure from Fox News host Sean HannitySean Patrick HannityFox’s Neil Cavuto rips into Trump over attacks on Chris Wallace’s impeachment coverage Graham: Senate trial ‘must expose the whistleblower’ Graham says Schiff should be a witness in Trump impeachment trial MORE to do more.
“It’s right now time for Republicans to get tough. Senate Republicans need to pay attention,” Hannity said on his show last week. “Republicans have the power in the Senate, that means you have the power to subpoena people,” he said.
Hannity urged Senate Republicans to subpoena the whistleblower as well as Hunter Biden.
“Did he speak with his father about his Ukrainian business deals? Their statements we already know and it pointed out are in conflict with each other. We know The New York Times tipped off Joe Biden that his son was being investigated by the prosecutor in Ukraine,” he said.
Hannity also challenged Graham in an interview Tuesday evening about the need to investigate Ukrainian corruption and the Bidens.
When Graham said “nobody’s looked,” Hannity shot back: “I’m looking and what I see is really bad.”
Earlier this month, Graham said he hoped Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jim RischJames (Jim) Elroy RischSenators voice support for Iran protesters but stop short of taking action Bipartisan senators urge national security adviser to appoint 5G coordinator McConnell urges Trump to voice support for Hong Kong protesters MORE (R-Idaho) would take up a probe of Hunter Biden.
“We need to look at whether or not Hunter Biden corruptly engaged in lobbying. Did Joe Biden ask the prosecutor to be fired because he was investigating his son?” Graham said during an interview with Fox News’s Laura IngrahamLaura Anne Ingraham Vindman’s lawyer requests Fox News retract guest’s allegation about espionage Overnight Health Care: GOP senator says drug price action unlikely this year | House panel weighs ban on flavored e-cigs | New York sues Juul Sessions vows to ‘work for’ Trump endorsement MORE.
Risch, however, has said he’s not interested in taking his committee down that path. On Wednesday he said the Senate Intelligence Committee would be more appropriate to investigate Ukraine issues related to the impeachment inquiry.
“In this instance the majority leader has assigned these issues to the Intelligence Committee to hear, so you want to talk to Sen. Burr,” he said.
But Burr on Wednesday said he right now is focused on the intelligence community’s handling of the whistleblower’s complaint against Trump and is stuck on trying to get the whistleblower to testify before his committee.
Burr said the jurisdiction more appropriately belongs to Risch’s Foreign Relations panel.
“We’re looking at the whistleblower complaint, the process as to who knew about it, how many people they talked to, and what did they do. That’s the extent of what we’re looking at right now,” he said.
The Senate Republican chairmen who have gone the furthest are Johnson and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyOvernight Health Care: GOP senator says drug price action unlikely this year | House panel weighs ban on flavored e-cigs | New York sues Juul Top GOP senator: Drug pricing action unlikely before end of year Key Republicans say Biden can break Washington gridlock MORE (R-Iowa) who released a letter in September asking the Justice Department to investigate links between Ukrainian operatives and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.
Johnson and Grassley last week asked Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoSondland brings impeachment inquiry to White House doorstep Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Senate eyes sending stopgap spending bill back to House | Sondland delivers bombshell impeachment testimony | Pentagon deputy says he didn’t try to block official’s testimony Five bombshells from explosive Sondland testimony MORE to release any State Department records that may exist related to Hunter Biden’s position as a Burisma Holdings board member. They also asked for information about what steps the Obama administration took to ensure policy decisions related to Ukraine and Burisma were not influenced by the financial interests of the senior officials’ family members.
House Republicans say these are steps in the right direction but they want to see more action.
Rep. Chris StewartChristopher (Chris) Douglas StewartThe Hill’s Morning Report – Wild Wednesday: Sondland testimony, Dem debate take center stage Vindman clashes with GOP Trump on Vindman: ‘I understand now he wears his uniform when he goes in’ MORE (R-Utah), a third Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, said the Senate should investigate the Ukraine- and Biden-related angles of the impeachment debate.
“I think they should and I think they will,” he said.
Stewart said if Democrats are going to argue it was improper to press Zelensky to investigate corruption, “we have to understand the basis of that.”
House Republicans last week submitted to Schiff a list of witnesses they wanted to call before the Intelligence Committee. It included Hunter Biden; Devon Archer, a former board member of Burisma Holdings; and Alexandra Chalupa, a former Democratic National Committee staffer who Republicans say worked with the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington to get “political dirt” on Trump’s campaign.
Senate Republicans have also come under pressure from other prominent conservatives to play a more active role in Trump’s defense.
Rep. Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsMichelle Obama presents Lin-Manuel Miranda with National Portrait Award Sondland testimony looms over impeachment hearings this week Democrats seize on new evidence in first public impeachment hearing MORE (R-N.C.), a leading member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, on Wednesday said Senate Republicans could use their subpoena power effectively.
“Certainly having a much more robust and fair process from the Senate standpoint on issuing subpoenas would be appropriate since we’re been denied a number of witnesses and due process over on the House side,” Meadows said.
Rep. Kenny MarchantKenny Ewell MarchantEthics sends memo to lawmakers on SCIF etiquette Ethics panel investigating Rep. Hastings over relationship with staffer GOP Rep. Gaetz calls for ethics investigation into Schiff MORE (R-Texas) said it could help Republicans politically if Senate chairmen got more aggressive in investigating Ukrainian corruption and possible ties to the Bidens.
Asked if a Senate investigation of Ukraine and the Bidens would be helpful, Marchant responded, “From a political standpoint, for my grassroot voter, yes.”
He said “it would be a legitimate thing to do” to use the Senate’s investigative powers to balance the story that House Democrats are laying out through their impeachment probe.