The office of former President Barack Obama has privately expressed disdain for the congressional probe into his former vice president, Joe Biden, his son Hunter Biden and their ties to Ukraine ― lambasting the GOP-led investigation as an effort to “shift the blame for Russian interference in the 2016 election to Ukraine.”
In a March letter to the National Archives and Records Administration, which preserves government records, Obama’s office took issue with an earlier request from Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) for Obama administration records of “certain meetings connected to Ukraine.”
The congressmen’s request was “not proper,” said the March 13 letter, obtained and first reported by BuzzFeed News.
“The request for early release of presidential records in order to give credence to a Russian disinformation campaign ― one that has already been thoroughly investigated by a bipartisan congressional committee ― is without precedent,” the letter said.
According to BuzzFeed, the letter represents the first reported comments by Obama or his team on the investigation ― led by Johnson and Grassley ― into whether Biden, as vice president, withheld aid to Ukraine to pressure the country to drop a probe into Burisma Holdings, an energy company with ties to Biden’s son.
No evidence has emerged to date of any misconduct by the Bidens in the case.
Johnson’s spokesman responded to Obama’s letter on Tuesday, telling BuzzFeed that “the accusation that our oversight gives ‘credence to a Russian disinformation campaign’ is unfounded.”
“Baseless accusations aside, our legitimate oversight will continue until we get answers for the American people,” the spokesman added.
Biden emerged as the presumptive Democratic nominee for president following Bernie Sanders’ departure from the race last month. Obama formally endorsed his former vice president for the nation’s top job a few days after Sanders bowed out of the contest.
“Joe has the character and the experience to guide us through one of our darkest times and heal us through a long recovery,” Obama said at the time. “I know he’ll surround himself with good people ― experts, scientists, military officials who actually know how to run the government and care about doing a good job running the government, and know how to work with our allies, and who will always put the American people’s interests above their own.”