Republicans are facilitating “foreign interference” in the 2020 election by probing “discredited” allegations of Ukrainian involvement in the 2016 election, three Democratic Senators wrote in a Tuesday letter.
The message – addressed to Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Ron Johnson (R-WS), and Charles Grassley (R-IA) – accuses the Senators of embarking on an investigation that “could advance the Russian disinformation and election interference efforts.”
The letter was sent from the ranking members of the Senate Judiciary, Homeland Security, and Finance Committees to their respective chairs.
Johnson and Grassley have opened an investigation into unsubstantiated allegations that the Ukrainian government interfered in the 2016 election. The probe appears to focus on – and mirror the claims of – Andrii Telizhenko, a former staffer at Ukraine’s embassy in Washington in 2016 who says he bore witness to an effort at collusion by the Democratic National Committee and the Ukrainian government.
Telizhenko has not advanced any documentation to substantiate his claims, though he reportedly is in contact with Senate Republican staff investigating the allegations, and has promised to share documents with the committees as they prepare to mount a defense of President Trump’s pressure campaign on Ukraine in his impeachment trial.
Telizhenko did not immediately return a request for comment.
The Tuesday letter from Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Gary Peters (D-MI), and Ron Wyden (D-OR) describes the investigation as “part of a Russian disinformation campaign.”
It goes on to cite House testimony from former National Security Council official Fiona Hill and Assistant Secretary of State George Kent that the allegations against Joe Biden are baseless and are being propagated by the Russian government.
“Consequently, we do not see a basis for an investigation by three major Senate Committees into these discredited allegations and believe that doing so could advance the Russian disinformation and election interference efforts,” the letter reads. “We should not facilitate foreign interference in our 2020 election.”
The Senators go on to ask that, should the investigation continue, the Republicans share any evidence that they may have gathered.
Read the letter here: