SEN. GRASSLEY: Foreign election interference should have no quarter in this country

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Last week, Senator Johnson and I released our report about our investigation into potential conflicts of interest with respect to Ukraine policy during the Obama administration.


My Democratic colleagues have attacked this investigation with unsupported and inaccurate allegations that this investigation is rooted in a foreign-sourced influence campaign.

They’ve asserted that our oversight activities relating to the Obama administration are advancing a Russian disinformation campaign and have implied that we’re “wielding that disinformation as a political cudgel.” 

 Nothing could be further from the truth.


My Democratic colleagues have publicly insinuated that I received records from a Ukrainian national, Andriy Derkach, a Russian agent that has taken actions to influence and interfere in the 2020 election.


I’ve praised the Treasury Department for sanctioning him.


I’ve neither received nor solicited information from Derkach.


The Democrats know it, yet they refuse to stop repeating their false insinuations.


And those false insinuations have resulted in Russia-based media repeating that Democrat disinformation, which is Exhibit A why they should’ve never created that false narrative in the first place.   


In fact, during the course of this investigation, the minority introduced his disinformation into the record – not the majority.


Foreign election interference should have no quarter in this country and we must do everything we can to stop it.


If only the Democrats felt the same about the Steele Dossier, which is the very definition of Russian disinformation and election interference.


Our investigation is based on Obama administration government records and records from a Democrat lobby shop, Blue Star Strategies.


So, if my Democratic colleagues think those records amount to Russian disinformation, then that says more about the previous Obama administration than it does about our inquiry.  


Do you think my Democratic colleagues would have attacked an investigation involving Donald Trump Jr.? 


Remember, I interviewed the President’s son years ago as part of our Russia investigation. I didn’t hear any complaints about my investigative work at that time.


Funny how that is.


My Democratic colleagues have jammed up document productions from government agencies and engaged in questionable political media efforts.


We would’ve been done with this matter a while ago if all that hadn’t occurred.


But, here we are and the American people can see our work and judge it for themselves.


I’d like to remind my Democratic colleagues that the first step in this investigation was a letter that I wrote on August 14, 2019.


That letter was about an Obama-era Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States transaction.


That transaction gave control over an American company that made anti-vibration technologies with military applications to a Chinese government-owned aviation company and China-based investment firm with established ties to the communist Chinese government.


Reports indicated that a firm formed by Hunter Biden and Chris Heinz, the step-son to John Kerry, later partnered with a Chinese based firm to purchase the American company.


Also at that time, Joe Biden was Vice President and John Kerry was Secretary of State.


The State Department is an approval agency on the Committee on Foreign Investment.


Clearly, this transaction presented conflicts of interest.


And that’s exactly why I wrote the letter to the Treasury Department.


My Democratic colleagues like to say that we started this investigation as a result of impeachment.


Well, last time I checked August 14, 2019, was well before the impeachment investigation began.


That letter was also sent before Congress was notified of the Ukraine-related whistleblower complaint and before it was made public.


No matter how hard the Democrats try to say otherwise, this investigation is rooted in good government oversight.


Exactly the type of investigations I’ve run my entire career.


Then, after the August 2019 letter, news reporting picked up the pace about Hunter Biden’s association with Burisma, the corrupt Ukrainian company, and the fact his father was in charge of the Obama administration’s anticorruption policy in Ukraine.


Think about that for a second.


Vice President Biden was responsible for carrying an anticorruption message to Ukraine on behalf of the United States.


At the same time his son was making millions of dollars working on the board of a corrupt Ukrainian company.


To any reasonable observer, that’s a very questionable fact pattern that deserves attention.


Documents made public as a result of Freedom of Information Act requests and investigative reporting, brought fresh public attention and scrutiny to this fact pattern.


Reporting showed additional potential conflicts of interest with respect to Hunter Biden’s business dealings all over the world, not just in Ukraine.


Those financial dealings also exposed how Hunter Biden and his business associates sought to benefit financially from their relationship with Vice President Biden.


As our report shows, Hunter Biden and his business associates had extensive connections to Ukrainian nationals. Their business associations also extended to Russian nationals.


The report also shows that Hunter Biden, his family members and business associates had extensive connections to Chinese nationals.


The records acquired by the Committees show that Hunter Biden and his associates and family members were connected to Chinese nationals associated with the communist party and People’s Liberation Army.


Those connections formed business links which resulted in millions of dollars passing through company after company.


Some of those companies were associated with Hunter Biden, his business partner Devon Archer, and James Biden.


The records show deep and complex financial relationships with Chinese nationals and how financially fruitful those relationships became.


As one example, records show that Hunter Biden opened a bank account with a Chinese national linked to the communist regime and funded it with approximately $100,000. Then he, James Biden and Sara Biden went on an extravagant global spending spree.


Records show that Hunter Biden, via his law firm, also sent over a million dollars to James Biden’s consulting firm, the Lion Hall Group.


When the bank contacted Sara Biden, who was associated with the firm’s bank account, she refused to answer their questions and provide additional documentation.


According to records we have on file, the bank submitted the account for closure.


What’s clear is that Hunter Biden leveraged his name and his father’s position for financial gain.


And his work for Burisma is just the tip of the iceberg.


These associations, and the millions of dollars that passed between and among Hunter Biden, Archer, James Biden and others, create criminal financial concerns.


Moreover, they create counterintelligence and extortion concerns.


The investigation also uncovered that the Obama administration was well aware of the problems that Hunter Biden’s board position caused.


State Department officials testified that his board membership created the perception of a conflict of interest and “was very awkward for all U.S. officials pushing an anticorruption agenda in Ukraine.”


Secretary of State Kerry publicly denied knowing of Hunter Biden’s role on Burisma’s board. We’ve acquired evidence that he did, in fact, know about that role.


The owner of Burisma was viewed as an “odious oligarch” by State Department officials. However, in December 2015, instead of following U.S. objectives of confronting oligarchs, Vice President Biden’s staff advised him to avoid commenting on the odious oligarch and instead say, “I’m not going to get into naming names or accusing individuals.”


Well, if you’re running an anticorruption agenda in Ukraine and you pull your punches when it comes to Burisma while your son is on the board that goes to judgment – and here it looks like very bad judgment and weak leadership.


Based on witness testimony, Burisma’s owner allegedly paid a $7 million bribe to officials serving under Ukraine’s prosecutor general to shut the case against him. When he allegedly paid that bribe in December 2014, Hunter Biden was on the board and had been hired to assist with “corporate governance and responsibility.”


The facts show that the Obama administration was well aware of the problems that Hunter Biden being on Burisma’s board caused.


The facts show that the Obama administration turned a blind-eye to it. Everyone knew about the problems it caused but nobody wanted to do anything about it.


So much for leadership.


At its core, this investigation is a good government oversight investigation. These are exactly the kinds of shady, back-room deals that the American public should know about.


The American people can judge the information for themselves.


As to next steps, we will continue to review the records that we possess and are able to acquire.