KEY POINTS

  • Republicans, without evidence, have been trying to smear former Vice President Joe Biden for ouster of corrupt Ukraine prosecutor
  • Romney, who voted with Democrats on one impeachment article, has said he would prefer an independent, nonpartisan investigation
  • Trump has said he would make the investigation a centerpiece of his campaign if Biden becomes the Democratic nominee

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, indicated Friday he would vote to support a subpoena for documents and testimony related to former Vice President Joe Biden’s son’s work with the Ukraine energy company Burisma while Biden was in office one day after he indicated he might oppose such a summons.

A spokeswoman for Romney, who voted with Democrats to impeach President Trump on one of two counts, said in a statement he would back a subpoena as long as the witnesses were interviewed behind closed doors to avoid a “public spectacle.”

“He will therefore vote to let the chairman proceed to obtain the documents that have been offered,” the statement said.

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., who heads the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, sent a letter to members of the panel Sunday, a day after Biden’s fortunes turned in the Democratic presidential sweepstakes, informing them of his plans. The subpoena vote is expected Wednesday.

Romney said Thursday an “independent, nonpolitical body” should conduct an investigation of Hunter Biden if any investigation is warranted.

“There’s no question but that the appearance of looking into Burisma and Hunter Biden appears political. And I think people are tired of these kinds of political investigations,” Romney told  Fox News.

Sen. Mitch McConnell  said Thursday night that although he won't be directing the probe, he trusts Johnson to handle the investigation.

If Joe Biden becomes the Democratic presidential nominee, Trump has promised Hunter Biden’s work with Burisma would become a centerpiece of the campaign.

“I will bring that up all the time,” Trump said in a Fox News interview Wednesday.

Trump’s fixation on the Bidens was a basis for the articles of impeachment. He was accused of asking Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to announce an investigation in exchange for $391 million in military aid. No investigation was ever initiated, and the military aid eventually was released.

Burisma paid the younger Biden $50,000 a month while he was on the company’s board of directors. Without presenting any evidence, Trump and his allies have accused the former vice president of pushing to get a corrupt Ukraine prosecutor removed to forestall an investigation into Burisma. An investigation into the company’s owner had ended years before, and Biden’s campaign to oust Viktor Shokin was supported by the Obama administration and the international community.