Two Senate Republicans released a report on Wednesday detailing Joseph R. Biden’s alleged conflicts of interest tied to his son Hunter Biden’s business dealings in countries where the former vice president was wielding considerable influence at the time.
Sens. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Charles E. Grassley of Iowa released the anticipated report with less than a week to go until the first presidential debate between President Trump and Mr. Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee.
“What the Chairmen discovered during the course of this investigation is that the Obama administration knew that Hunter Biden’s position on Burisma’s board was problematic and did interfere in the efficient execution of policy with respect to Ukraine,” the report said.
Hunter Biden held a lucrative position on board of Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian energy company, while his father was vice president and running point for the Obama administration’s Ukraine policy.
George Kent, the former deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, had raised concerns about perceptions of conflicts of interest with Hunter Biden’s position on the board but they went unheeded, according to the senators’ report.
“Furthermore, the presence of Hunter Biden on the Burisma board was very awkward for all U.S. officials pushing an anticorruption agenda in Ukraine,” Mr. Kent wrote in an email to colleagues in 2016.
Mr. Kent delivered similar testimony during last year’s Trump impeachment probe, when he also said he didn’t think Mr. Biden, the candidate, did anything wrong.
In 2016, Mr. Biden had threatened to withhold $1 billion in loan guarantees unless the country’s leaders fired Ukraine’s top prosecutor, who had also reportedly been looking into Burisma.
The candidate has said he didn’t do anything wrong with respect to his son’s work and that the two of them never discussed business deals.
Democrats have cried foul on the probe, saying Mr. Johnson is leveraging information from sources who are actively trying to undermine Mr. Biden’s presidential campaign.
The Biden campaign said that Mr. Johnson is helping subsidize “a foreign attack against the sovereignty of our elections with taxpayer dollars.”
“The senator has now explicitly stated he is attempting to exploit [it] to bail out Donald Trump’s reelection campaign,” said Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates.
Mr. Johnson and Mr. Grassley have defended their investigation, saying that if there’s no wrongdoing, then Democrats shouldn’t have an issue with their asking questions.
“Many in the media, in an ongoing attempt to provide cover for former Vice President Biden, continue to repeat the mantra that there is ‘no evidence of wrongdoing or illegal activity’ related to Hunter Biden’s position on Burisma’s board,” Mr. Johnson said last month. “I could not disagree more.”
The Democratic-led House impeached Mr. Trump last year, accusing him of strong-arming Ukraine into digging up dirt on the Bidens. The GOP-led Senate voted to acquit him earlier this year.