Wyden: RonJohn Stumbled Upon Evidence Of Trump Corruption In Ukraine Probe

WASHINGTON, USA - FEBRUARY 13: Senator Ron Wyden questions the directors of the U.S. Intelligence agencies during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on the threats the U.S. is facing worldwide at the U.S. Capito... WASHINGTON, USA - FEBRUARY 13: Senator Ron Wyden questions the directors of the U.S. Intelligence agencies during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on the threats the U.S. is facing worldwide at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, USA on February 13, 2018. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images) MORE LESS

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) accidentally revealed more evidence of corruption in the Trump administration’s dealings with Ukraine in the course of his investigation into Hunter Biden, according to a letter from Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR).

In an unbelievable twist of irony, the corruption allegation has to do with a cabinet-level Trump official pressuring the Ukrainian government to alter the composition of the board of a Ukrainian energy company.

Lawmakers came across the evidence last week during the testimony of Amos Hochstein, who serves on the supervisory board of state-owned Ukrainian oil and gas holding Naftogaz.

Hochstein told the investigation that former Energy Secretary Rick Perry “inappropriately pressured the Ukrainian government” to place a Houston-based businessman named Robert Bensch on the board of Naftogaz, while other DOE officials pressed Kyiv to sign an agreement with a “private business entity connected to Mr. Bensh,” the letter reads.

Wyden addressed the letter to the Department of Energy Inspector General. He noted that the Senate Homeland Security and Finance Committees “are concluding an investigation into potential conflicts of interest related to executive branch officials who are responsible for carrying out the United States Government’s foreign policy in Ukraine.”

“Witness testimony in this investigation has directly implicated former Secretary Rick Perry in alleged wrongdoing and the Department more broadly in a scheme to undermine anti-corruption efforts that were implemented by Ukraine in partnership with the international community,” Wyden added.

ProPublica reported on the allegations surrounding Perry and Naftogaz earlier this month.

Sens. Johnson and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) had used the probe to further unsubstantiated smears that Biden had improperly pressured the Ukrainian government to end an investigation of gas company Burisma in order to protect his son, Hunter Biden, who sat on the firm’s board.

Senate Republicans released the resulting report Wednesday morning, noting that “the extent to which Hunter Biden’s role on Burisma’s board affected U.S. policy toward Ukraine is not clear.”

A spokesman for Johnson did not return a request for comment.

A Democratic Senate Finance aide told TPM that uncovering new evidence of administration corruption “was certainly not Republicans’ goal.”

“While Republicans’ Ukraine investigation showed Vice President Biden did nothing wrong, it succeeded in implicating former Secretary Perry in a corrupt scheme to pressure the Ukrainian government to change the board of Naftogaz,” the aide said.

Read the letter here:

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

Sincerely,
TPM Staff
Latest Muckraker
Comments
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Reporters:
Newswriters:
Director of Audience:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: