GOP Ukraine probe clears Bi­den:

San Francisco Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - By Ni­cholas Fandos Ni­cholas Fandos is a New York Times writer.

A Se­nate in­ves­ti­ga­tion into cor­rup­tion al­le­ga­tions finds no ev­i­dence of wrong­do­ing by the for­mer vice pres­i­dent.

WASH­ING­TON — An elec­tion­year in­ves­ti­ga­tion by Se­nate Repub­li­cans into cor­rup­tion al­le­ga­tions against Joe Bi­den and his son, Hunter, in­volv­ing Ukraine found no ev­i­dence of im­proper in­flu­ence or wrong­do­ing by the for­mer vice pres­i­dent, clos­ing out an in­quiry its lead­ers had hoped would tar­nish the Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion found that Hunter Bi­den had “cashed in” on his fa­ther’s name to close lu­cra­tive busi­ness deals around the world. It also con­cluded that his work for Burisma Hold­ings, a Ukrainian en­ergy com­pany then mired in a cor­rup­tion scan­dal, while the for­mer vice pres­i­dent was di­rect­ing U.S. pol­icy to­ward Kyiv had given the ap­pear­ance of a con­flict of in­ter­est and alarmed some State Depart­ment of­fi­cials.

But an 87­page re­port sum­ming up the find­ings, re­leased jointly on Wed­nes­day by the Se­nate Home­land Se­cu­rity and Fi­nance com­mit­tees, con­tained no ev­i­dence that the el­der Bi­den im­prop­erly ma­nip­u­lated U.S. pol­icy to­ward Ukraine or com­mit­ted any other mis­deed. In fact, in­ves­ti­ga­tors heard wit­ness tes­ti­mony that re­but­ted those charges.

The home­land se­cu­rity panel’s Repub­li­can chair­man, Sen. Ron John­son of Wis­con­sin, had made lit­tle se­cret of his po­lit­i­cal am­bi­tions for his re­port, boast­ing for weeks that his find­ings would demon­strate Bi­den’s “un­fit­ness for of­fice.” In­stead, the re­sult de­liv­ered on Wed­nes­day ap­peared to be lit­tle more than a re­hash­ing six weeks be­fore Elec­tion Day of un­proven al­le­ga­tions that echo an ac­tive Rus­sian dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paign and have been pushed by Trump.

Hunter Bi­den’s po­si­tion “hin­dered the ef­forts of ded­i­cated ca­reer­ser­vice in­di­vid­u­als who were fight­ing for an­ti­cor­rup­tion mea­sures in Ukraine,” the Repub­li­cans wrote. They did not clar­ify the na­ture of that hin­drance be­yond say­ing that the sit­u­a­tion had been “awk­ward” for ca­reer State Depart­ment of­fi­cials, who “were re­quired to main­tain sit­u­a­tional aware­ness of Hunter Bi­den’s as­so­ci­a­tion with Burisma.”

It was also filled with de­tails that em­pha­sized the un­seemly ap­pear­ance cre­ated by the younger Bi­den’s in­volve­ment with Burisma, given his fa­ther’s po­si­tion.

“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.

The Trump cam­paign quickly pro­moted the “ex­plo­sive new rev­e­la­tions,” ze­ro­ing in on fi­nan­cial records ob­tained by the sen­a­tors that showed Hunter Bi­den re­ceiv­ing large sums of money — some­times as large as seven fig­ures — from for­eign­ers in China, Rus­sia and else­where while his fa­ther was in of­fice.

In their own com­pet­ing doc­u­ment chal­leng­ing the re­port, Democrats ac­cused Repub­li­cans of cherry­pick­ing their find­ings. All 10 wit­nesses in­ter­viewed by in­ves­ti­ga­tors, they noted, had tes­ti­fied that nei­ther Bi­den nor any­one else had al­tered U.S. pol­icy be­cause of his son.

Paul Mo­rigi / Getty Im­ages

Se­nate in­ves­ti­ga­tion con­tained no proof that Joe Bi­den used U.S. pol­icy to help his son, Hunter.

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