Former President Barack Obama criticized a congressional investigation related to former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter’s activity in Ukraine as giving credence to “Russian disinformation.”
In November, Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron Johnson and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley sent a letter to the National Archives demanding documents related to Obama-era White House meetings that National Security Council staff had with Ukrainian officials and former Democratic National Committee consultant Alexandra Chalupa.
Chalupa, 43, a Ukrainian American, is facing allegations that she coordinated with Ukrainian officials while looking for Russia-related opposition research on President Trump’s then-campaign manager Paul Manafort. The National Archives did not deliver the documents by the deadline, and by March, Johnson and Grassley pressed the archives again.
Johnson told the Washington Examiner on March 9, “There’s a certain time period that President Obama would have to claim executive privilege. Specifically, the National Archives have to let us know what those privilege claims are, and that time has already expired, so we should be getting this production now.”
“There had to be a valid claim of executive privilege [from Obama] or deliberative process,” he added. “So they have to make those claims, and they haven’t that I’m aware of and the National Archives hasn’t. … We’re working on a letter right now.”
Johnson and Grassley eventually caught the former president’s attention. In a March 13 letter to Archivist of the United States David Ferriero, obtained by BuzzFeed News Tuesday, Obama’s representative Anita Breckenridge wrote on his behalf that the Ukrainian investigation into the Bidens lends “credence to a Russian disinformation campaign — one that has already been thoroughly investigated by a bipartisan congressional committee — is without precedent.”
The letter closed, “Nevertheless, in the interest of countering the misinformation campaign underlying this request, we are prepared on this occasion to provide the Committees access to the records responsive to this request.”
Johnson’s spokesman Austin Altenburg responded to the former president’s letter, which CC’ed both Johnson and Grassley.
“Our legitimate oversight is based on the many unanswered questions that surround potential conflicts of interest relating to the Obama administration’s policy decisions with respect to Ukraine and Burisma Holdings. Our investigation is extensive and our request for President Obama’s records is only one of many lines of inquiry,” Altenburg said to the Washington Examiner in an email.
“The accusation that our oversight gives ‘credence to a Russian disinformation campaign’ is unfounded,” he added. “The real Russian disinformation, we now know, was contained in the Steele dossier. Baseless accusations aside, our legitimate oversight will continue until we get answers for the American people.”
Author: Kerry Picket
Source: Washington Examiner: Obama says GOP-led investigation related to Ukraine and Bidens is feeding ‘Russian disinformation’