On Wednesday, NBC News reported that Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-WI), who is currently running a probe into the financial dealings of former Vice President Joe Biden’s family in Ukraine, is declining to directly challenge the Biden campaign’s accusation that they are receiving “materials” from foreign sources.
“Among other things, the Biden campaign is accusing Johnson of being opaque about whether he is, in effect, ‘party to a foreign influence operation against the United States’ by receiving materials from pro-Russian foreigners as part of the committee’s probe,” reported Heidi Przybyla.
“A committee staffer told NBC News it is ‘false’ the committee has received any ‘oppo,’ or opposition research, without responding directly to whether that covers any materials from foreign sources,” said the report. However, the Biden campaign has noted that Johnson himself, the campaign, the White House, and the State Department “have all declined to comment on whether that is true — meaning that each are refusing to tell the American people whether they are party to a foreign influence operation against the United States.”
Additionally, Ukrainians aligned with the Kremlin have stated they are, in fact, passing this information along to the Johnson probe.
Biden’s accusation comes as several Democratic congressional officials are sending a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray warning that Congress is being targeted by a foreign effort to “launder” opposition research and undermine the 2020 presidential election. That letter did not mention the Johnson probe specifically, but sources told Politico it was what prompted the concern.
Republicans have been divided over Johnson’s probe, with some fearful it would backfire and draw public anger over Senate priorities.