U.S. Senate Republican delays vote on subpoena in Hunter Biden probe


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A Republican U.S. senator said on Wednesday he would delay a committee vote on whether to issue a subpoena in an investigation of Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden’s businessman son, Hunter Biden.

Senator Ron Johnson, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said in a statement he would postpone a vote to subpoena Andrii Telizhenko, a former Ukrainian diplomat and consultant for the lobbying firm Blue Star Strategies, for records and an appearance.

Johnson, an ally of Republican President Donald Trump, said he would postpone the committee vote, which had been expected on Wednesday, “out of an abundance of caution, and to allow time … to receive additional briefings.”

Instead, Johnson said, the committee would seek to compel the same records and an appearance directly from Blue Star Strategies. He provided no further details.

Trump, without evidence, has attacked Hunter Biden’s role as a board director for a Ukrainian gas company, while his father was the U.S. vice president, as corrupt. Trump said recently that he would use the issue against the elder Biden, who has emerged as the leading Democratic candidate to face him in the November election.

Trump was impeached in December by the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives for asking Ukraine to investigate the Bidens or announce an investigation of them. His impeachment triggered a trial in the Republican-led Senate, which acquitted him last month.

Johnson, who insists the investigation has nothing to do with the election, escalated the probe as Biden’s presidential bid surged in South Carolina on Feb. 29 and in subsequent primaries. Johnson also said he would issue an investigation report in the coming months.

Separately on Wednesday, Democratic U.S. Senator Chris Murphy released a letter asking the oversight arms of the State Department, National Archives, Department of Homeland Security and Treasury Department to investigate reports that the agencies were cooperating in the Republican-led probes of the Bidens.

Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; editing by Jonathan Oatis