GOP Se­nate re­port on Bi­den son al­leges con­flict of in­ter­est

Daily Press - - Nation & World -

WASH­ING­TON — Two Repub­li­can-led Se­nate com­mit­tees is­sued a po­lit­i­cally charged re port Wed­nes­day al­leg­ing that the work Joe Bi­den’s son did in Ukraine con­sti­tuted a con­flict of in­ter­est for the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion at a time when Bi­den was en­gaged in Ukraine pol­icy as vice pres­i­dent.

But the re­port also of­fered no sup­port for Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s claim that the Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee had im­prop­erly pressed for the fir­ing of the coun­try’s top pros­e­cu­tor to pro­tect his son.

The re­port did not im­pli­cate Bi­den in wrong­do­ing, fo­cus­ing in­stead on his son Hunter, who it said “cashed in” on his fa­ther’s po­si­tion by join­ing the board of a Ukrainian gas com­pany. The doc­u­ment says that work cre­ated con­flict-ofin­ter­est con­cerns, in­clud­ing among two Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials, but ac­knowl­edged that it was ul­ti­mately “not clear” what im­pact Hunter Bi­den’s paid board po­si­tion had on pol­icy with Ukraine.

Bi­den’s cam­paign im­me­di­ately panned the re­port, re­leased six weeks be­fore the elec­tion, as an ef­fort by an ally of Trump’s to dam­age his elec­tion op­po­nent. The cam­paign said the in­ves­ti­ga­tion was founded on “a long-dis­proven, hard­core rightwing con­spir­acy the­ory” and, even be­fore the re­port was re­leased, is­sued a de­tailed state­ment aim­ing to re­but point-by-point al­le­ga­tions that it said had long been de­bunked by me­dia or­ga­ni­za­tions as well as by U.S. and Ukrainian of­fi­cials.

Hunter Bi­den’s work in Ukraine re­mains a prom­i­nent line of at­tack in con­ser­va­tive cir­cles head­ing into the elec­tion. Trump him­self has re­peat­edly drawn at­ten­tion to the is­sue, with his re­quest for Ukraine to in­vest i g a t e t he Bi­dens spurring an im­peach­ment case against him. He’s con­tin­ued to trum­pet the claims even as his own ad­min­is­tra­tion has warned of a con­certed Rus­sian ef­fort to den­i­grate Joe Bi­den and has as­serted that a Ukrainian law­maker who is in­volved in spread­ing an “un­sub­stan­ti­ated” anti-Bi­den nar­ra­tive has been an “ac­tive Rus­sian agent” for over a decade.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion, from the Se­nate Home­land Se­cu­rity and Govern­men­tal Af­fairs Com­mit­tee and the Fi­nance Com­mit­tee, pro­duced stark po­lit­i­cal di­vi­sions. Democrats have ac­cused Repub­li­can Sen. Ron John­son, the Home­land Se­cu­rity chair, of a po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated ini­tia­tive at a time when they say the com­mit­tee should be fo­cused on the pan­demic re­sponse and other, less par­ti­san is­sues.

Af­ter the re­port was re­leased Wed­nes­day, John­son de­fended the probe to re­porters as “a good in­ves­ti­ga­tion” by two com­mit­tees with ju­ris­dic­tion over cor­rup­tion and con­flicts of in­ter­est.

Fed­eral in­ves­ti­ga­tors are look­ing into whether a huge wild­fire near Los Angeles was sparked by South­ern Cal­i­for­nia Edi­son util­ity equip­ment, ac­cord­ing to the com­pany.

Edi­son has turned over a sec­tion of an over­head con­duc­tor from its trans­mis­sion fa­cil­ity in the area where the Bob­cat Fire

Western wild­fires:

started more than two weeks a g o, com­pany spokesman David Song said Wed­nes­day.

Edi­son will as­sist the U.S. For­est Ser­vice in its in­ves­ti­ga­tion of the fire that has burned more than two dozen homes and other build­ings on its way to be­com­ing one of the largest blazes in Los Angeles County his­tory.

In re­cent years Cal­i­for­nia util­i­ties have strate­gi­cally shut off power to some ar­eas in or­der to pre­vent its equip­ment from spark­ing wild­fires. Edi­son did not have any planned shut­offs in the days be­fore the Bob­cat Fire erupted.

Fire­fight­ers are fi­nally start­ing to tame the blaze, with con­tain­ment Wed­nes­day hit­ting 38% — a jump from just 17% a day ear­lier.

Gas-pow­ered cars: Cal­i­for­nia will out­law sales of new gaso­line-pow­ered pas­sen­ger cars and trucks by 2035, Gov. Gavin New­som an­nounced Wed­nes­day, a move he says will cut green­house gas emis­sions by 35% in the na­tion’s most pop­u­lous state.

His plan would not ban peo­ple from own­ing gaspow­ered cars or sell­ing them on the used car mar­ket. But it would end the sales of all new gaso­linepow­ered pas­sen­ger cars and trucks in the state of nearly 40 mil­lion peo­ple.

“Pull away from the gas pumps,” New­som said in an­nounc­ing his ex­ec­u­tive or­der to state reg­u­la­tors to draw up guide­lines. “Let us no longer be vic­tims of geopo­lit­i­cal dic­ta­tors that ma­nip­u­late global sup­ply chains and global mar­kets.”

Tal­iban at­tacks: The Tal­iban launched a wave of at­tacks on se­cu­rity check­points in south­ern Afghanista­n overnight, killing a to­tal of 28 Afghan po­lice­men, of­fi­cials said Wed­nes­day.

The vi­o­lence comes even as Tal­iban lead­ers and Afghan gov­ern­ment-ap­pointed ne­go­tia­tors are holding his­toric peace talks in Qatar, a Mideast coun­try where the Tal­iban set up a po­lit­i­cal of­fice af­ter they were top­pled from power in the 2001 U.S.-led in­va­sion of Afghanista­n. The ne­go­ti­a­tions, which started ear­lier this month, are meant to end the fight­ing and es­tab­lish a road map for a post­war so­ci­ety.

Whales stranded: More pi­lot whales were found stranded in Aus­tralia on Wed­nes­day, rais­ing the es­ti­mated to­tal to nearly 500, in­clud­ing 380 that have died, in the largest mass strand­ing ever recorded in the coun­try.

Au­thor­i­ties had al­ready been work­ing to res­cue sur­vivors among an es­ti­mated 270 whales found Mon­day on a beach and two sand bars near the re­mote coastal town of Stra­han on the south­ern is­land state of Tas­ma­nia.

An­other 200 stranded whales were spot­ted from a he­li­copter Wed­nes­day less than 6 miles to the south, Tas­ma­nia Parks and Wildlife Ser­vice Man­ager Nic

Deka said. All 200 had been con­firmed dead by late af­ter­noon.

As­teroid to zoom by: An as­teroid the size of a school bus is headed our way, but NASA says the space rock will zoom safely past Earth on Thurs­day.

The newly dis­cov­ered as­teroid will come within 13,000 miles of Earth, well be­low many of the com­mu­ni­ca­tions satel­lites or­bit­ing the planet, sci­en­tists said this week.

A hunter has been killed by a griz­zly bear in Alaska’s Wrangell-St. Elias Na­tional Park and Pre­serve.

It’s the first-known griz­zly at­tack death in the na­tion’s largest na­tional park.

Park of­fi­cials said in a state­ment that the hunter was killed Sun­day, at­tacked while with a friend near the Chisana River drainage. The two were on a 10-day moose hunt, au­thor­i­ties said.

Alaska griz­zly maul­ing:


Rite of pas­sage in Kenya: A Maa­sai war­rior takes a selfie Wed­nes­day at an Olng’es­h­err cer­e­mony near Ka­ji­ado, Kenya. The cer­e­mony, which at­tracted more than 10,000 Maa­sai from around the re­gion, is a meat-eat­ing rite of pas­sage that takes place once ev­ery 15 years and marks the end of be­ing a young war­rior and the begin­ning of be­com­ing an el­der.

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