18:32 GMT29 November 2020
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    The former vice president’s son was caught up in a major scandal last year after Republicans accused him of accepting a cushy $50,000-a-month job with a Ukrainian energy company in exchange for access to the Obama White House. The Biden family has vocally denied the allegations.

    The Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee authorized the subpoena of documents and depositions from Blue Star Strategies, a Clinton-connected Democratic consulting company known to have worked together with Ukrainian energy firm Burisma while Hunter Biden was a member of its executive board.

    The committee voted along party lines 8-6, with Massachusetts Senator Mitt Romney voting alongside his fellow Republicans despite reports that he thought the investigation may appear ‘too political’.

    Blue Star Strategies, owned by former Clinton administration officials Karen Tramontano and Sally Painter, was hired by Burisma in 2015 to try to smooth over allegations of corrupt activity by the energy company.

    Burisma hired Hunter Biden for a no-show, $50,000-a-month board member job in April 2014, just a couple months after a coup d’état overthrew Ukraine’s unpopular but democratically elected government. Vice President Joe Biden was tapped as the Obama administration’s chief liaison on Ukraine. Hunter Junior was chosen for the job despite a lack of experience of any kind in the energy business.

    Trump, Biden and Conflicting Quid Pro Quo Claims

    Wisconsin Republican Senator Ron Johnson, the Senate committee’s chairman, began the effort to subpoena Blue Star in March, less than a month after President Donald Trump was cleared of any wrongdoing in an impeachment trial investigating alleged quid pro quo pressure involving Ukraine and its President, Voloydymyr Zelensky.

    House Democrats accused Trump of attempting to withhold hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to Ukraine last year, and of pressuring Zelensky to restart an investigation into Burisma and the Bidens which was halted in 2016 following Vice President Biden’s personal intervention.

    The extent of Biden’s alleged efforts to have a prosecutor investigating Burisma and his son fired was perhaps revealed on Tuesday, after a Ukrainian lawmaker released audio files purportedly featuring excerpts from conversations between former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Biden and former Obama Secretary of State John Kerry in which the US officials said that Washington would block $1 billion in loan guarantees unless the prosecutor was removed. The authenticity of these clips has yet to be independently confirmed.

    Probe 'Pulling Us Apart'

    Democrats slammed Wednesday’s vote, With Michigan Senator Gary Peters saying that “at this moment when Americans need us to work together, this extremely partisan investigation is pulling us apart.”

    Florida Republican Senator Rick Scott expressed support for the probe, saying lawmakers “need to get to the truth of the Bidens’ relationship with Burisma,” and adding that the hearings “will provide the Senate with the full picture.”

    Blue Star itself expressed bewilderment at the subpoena, claiming it had been prepared to cooperate with lawmakers all along. Committee chairman Johnson previously alleged that the company refused to provide documents related to the probe, including the work of former Ukrainian diplomat Andrii Telizhenko with the consulting firm.

    Related:

    Trump Demands Biden and Obama Go to Jail 'For 50 Years' for Flynn Case
    Most Democrats Don't Believe Sexual Assault Accusations Against Biden, New Poll Shows
    Alleged Recordings of Biden, Kerry Pressuring Ukraine's Poroshenko to Fire Prosecutor Emerge Online
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