Sen. Mitt Romney will back Burisma/Biden probe

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Sen. Mitt Romney speaks to Republican representatives at the state Capitol in Salt Lake City on Friday, Feb. 28, 2020.

Washington • After getting private assurances that a proposed investigation into Burisma wouldn’t become a public spectacle, Sen. Mitt Romney said Friday he would vote to issue a subpoena to the Ukrainian energy company at the heart of Republican concerns about former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

Romney, who had raised concerns that a Senate probe “appears political,” met with Sen. Ron Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican and chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, about the probe that the Utah senator feared would end up being another political foray to impact the 2020 presidential election.

“Senator Romney has expressed his concerns to Chairman Johnson, who has confirmed that any interview of the witness would occur in a closed setting without a hearing or public spectacle,” Romney spokeswoman Liz Johnson said Friday. “He will therefore vote to let the chairman proceed to obtain the documents that have been offered.”

Romney was the key vote on the subpoena since Republicans hold only a two-seat majority on the committee. A vote is slated for next week on the subpoena.

Johnson said this week that he wanted to take a hard look at Burisma, which at one point had Hunter Biden on its board at a time his father was seeking to oust a Ukrainian prosecutor. The proposed investigation came as Joe Biden surged to the lead of the Democratic presidential race.

Johnson had said voters deserved to be aware of the Bidens’ interactions with Burisma.

“If I were a Democrat[ic] primary voter, I’d want these questions satisfactorily answered before I cast my final vote,” Johnson told reporters.

President Donald Trump, too, had echoed his concern about Burisma in an interview with Fox News where he vowed to make Biden’s link to Ukraine “a major issue in the campaign.”

Trump’s efforts to raise concerns about the Bidens and Burisma were the catalyst for the impeachment and eventual Senate acquittal of the president, who had asked Ukraine’s new leader to announce an investigation into the company and Biden at the same time the foreign country was seeking U.S. military aid.

Romney was the only Republican to vote that the president was guilty of abuse of power in the Senate trial.