Senate Republicans Launch Investigations Involving Joe Biden Two Senate committees will spend the summer investigating allegations against the Biden family and the Obama administration's role in the FBI's 2016 Russia investigation.
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Senate Republicans Set Summer Of Investigations Involving Biden

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Senate Republicans Set Summer Of Investigations Involving Biden

Senate Republicans Set Summer Of Investigations Involving Biden

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Senate Republicans are launching investigations involving the Obama administration and President Obama's vice president, the presumptive Democratic nominee this time, Joe Biden. Today the Senate Judiciary Committee is beginning hearings on the origins of the FBI's Russia investigation. Republicans are also investigating what they claim is questionable dealings by the Biden family, although there's no evidence to support those CLAIMS. NPR congressional correspondent Susan Davis has this preview.

SUSAN DAVIS, BYLINE: Senate Republicans haven't always shared President Trump's interest in investigating Joe Biden. Those days are over.

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RICK SCOTT: The public deserves to know how a guy who was vice president of the United States, who is currently trying to be president, got away with using the U.S. government to force a foreign country to stop investigating a company that was paying his son over $30,000 - or $80,000 a month.

DAVIS: Florida Senator Rick Scott joined every Republican on the Senate Homeland Security Committee last month to vote for a subpoena of Blue Star Strategies, a consulting firm that worked for Ukrainian energy company Burisma when Biden's son Hunter served on the board. A spokesman for the Biden campaign has accused Republicans of, quote, "running a political errand" for the president. This allegation is at the heart of Trump's impeachment. The president wanted Ukraine to investigate alleged corruption and unfounded theories about the Biden family. Ukraine did not, and Trump was impeached for abuse of power for making the ask.

Senate Democrats are howling over what they say is Republicans now using the Senate to try to boost Trump's reelection chances. Here's California Senator Kamala Harris.

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KAMALA HARRIS: There are literally matters of life and death waiting for our committee's attention. But instead, this committee is doing the president's personal bidding.

DAVIS: Today, in the Judiciary Committee, Republicans hold their first oversight hearing into the decision-making process inside the Obama-Biden administration around the FBI investigation of Trump associates during the 2016 campaign. They will hear testimony from former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham plans to issue subpoenas for 53 individuals, including former FBI Director James Comey, former Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, all frequent Trump targets.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had largely avoided weighing in on this, but he recently embraced the investigations in a floor speech.

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MITCH MCCONNELL: No matter what some Washington Democrats may try to claim, you're not crazy or a conspiracy theorist if you see a pattern of institutional unfairness toward this president. You would have to be blind not to see one.

DAVIS: Constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley, who testified against Trump's impeachment in the House, said investigations can be political and still have merit.

JONATHAN TURLEY: I certainly believe that the oversight interests are stronger when you're looking at things like the Russian investigation. The Burisma controversy presents a more challenging question. However, I tend to favor some inquiry.

DAVIS: As vulnerable House Democrats experienced during impeachment, politically loaded investigations can spark backlash when voters have more urgent concerns, like the pandemic, the economy and social unrest. Democratic strategist Scott Mulhauser is a former Biden aide. He said Senate Republicans, who are fighting to hold their majority this November, could be making a political blunder.

SCOTT MULHAUSER: It's an overreach here, an overplay of your hand with these hearings - taking your eye off the ball. These are mistakes that could cost careers.

DAVIS: Senator Graham says he'd like to issue a report by October, just in time for the election.

Susan Davis, NPR News, Washington.

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