Never Trump conservatives have been praising Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah as one of the few Republicans in Congress who is willing to stand up to President Donald Trump, and now, Romney is speaking out against a GOP investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, and his ties to the Ukrainian energy company Burisma.
Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, has said that the Committee will issue a report on Hunter Biden’s activities in Ukraine before the presidential election on November 3. Many Trump allies have promoted the debunked conspiracy theory that it was Ukraine — not the Russian government, President Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin — that interfered in 2016’s presidential election, and that Ukraine interfered to help Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. And Trump supporters are hoping that the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs report will be some type of “October surprise” that benefits Trump in the 2020 presidential election.
But Romney — the lone GOP senator who voted “guilty” on one of two articles of impeachment that Trump faced in a U.S. Senate trial earlier this year — considers the investigation of Hunter Biden and his connection to Burisma a huge waste of taxpayers’ money. Romney, according to the Associated Press, spoke out during a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee meeting on Wednesday, September 16 — saying that from the “outset,” the investigation “had the earmarks of a political exercise.”
“Obviously, it is the province of campaigns and political parties’ opposition research, the media, to carry out political endeavors — to learn about or dust up one’s opponent,” Romney told fellow U.S. senators. “But it’s not the legitimate role of government or Congress, or for taxpayer expense, to be used in an effort to damage political opponents.”
Andrew Yates, a spokesman for Joe Biden, denounced the Hunter Biden/Burisma probe as “disgraceful” in an official statement. And two Democratic senators, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon called for “the cessation of any Senate investigation or activity that allows Congress to act as a conduit for Russian disinformation” in a resolution.
AP reporter Mary Clare Jalonick notes, “There is no evidence of wrongdoing by the Bidens, and Hunter Biden has denied using his influence with his father to aid Burisma.”
Romney’s willingness to vote “guilty” on an article of impeachment against Trump has been applauded by Democrats as well as Never Trump conservatives, but it has made him the least popular Republican U.S. senator among Trump’s allies.