The chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday threatened to subpoena Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for documents the State Department provided to two Senate committees investigating former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter.
In a letter to Pompeo obtained by POLITICO, Chairman Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) demanded the department turn over all documents that it already sent to the Senate Homeland Security and Finance committees as part of Senate Republicans’ investigation, which targets the Obama-era State Department in addition to the Democratic presidential candidate’s son. Engel said he was prepared to issue subpoenas if he does not receive the information by June 1.
“I am deeply concerned by what appears to be a partisan misuse of Department of State resources to assist Senate Republicans in a political smear of Democratic presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden,” Engel wrote, noting that the department sent documents to the Senate committees just days after President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial wrapped up.
Engel’s letter comes a day after the Senate Homeland Security Committee, chaired by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), voted on party lines to authorize a subpoena to Blue Star Strategies, a Democratic public relations firm. Johnson’s panel is probing allegations that the firm sought to leverage Hunter Biden’s position on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company, to influence the Obama State Department.
Echoing other Democrats, Engel said the allegations are “baseless” and “blatantly political,” and he slammed Pompeo for complying with the GOP senators’ probe after having ignored other House subpoenas, including during the impeachment inquiry last year.
“As the coronavirus spread from overseas and began to ravage American cities, scarce State Department resources were expended on producing documents to advance conspiracy theories damaging to a candidate for president of the United States,” Engel wrote.
Johnson and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Finance Committee, have asserted that their investigations are legitimate exercises of congressional oversight. Democrats have argued that the probes are a misuse of the Senate’s resources and are intended to boost Trump’s reelection chances. They also have said the overall effort advances Russian disinformation, citing Kremlin-aligned sources that are pushing similar claims against the Bidens.
Pompeo has been under intense scrutiny in recent days after he urged the president to fire the State Department’s inspector general, Steve Linick, who was investigating several claims of alleged misconduct by the secretary.