MURPHY TO EXECUTIVE BRANCH: ARE YOU COMPLYING WITH REPUBLICAN SUBPOENA REQUESTS RELATED TO HUNTER BIDEN AND BURISMA AFTER STONEWALLING IMPEACHMENT-RELATED REQUESTS?

Murphy Raises Serious Alarms of Politicization of Federal Agencies & Importance of Congressional Oversight Given Trump’s Firing of Inspectors General

WASHINGTON—Ahead of the U.S. Senate Homeland Security Committee vote to subpoena Burisma-tied firm Blue Star Strategies, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) on Wednesday asked the U.S. Departments of State, Treasury, and Homeland Security, and the U.S. National Archives, whether they are currently complying with Republican subpoena requests for documents related to Hunter Biden and Burisma after having previously stonewalled Congress on other requests related to the impeachment inquiry into President Trump. Murphy expressed serious concerns about the perceived politicization of federal agencies under the Trump administration, and stressed the importance of Congress’s oversight duties given the president’s decision to fire multiple inspectors general.

In March, Murphy wrote to the Inspectors General at the U.S. Departments of State, Treasury, and Homeland Security, and the National Archives, expressing these same concerns. While all four IGs responded to Murphy’s initial request, recently fired State Department Inspector General Linick and Treasury Department Inspector General Eric Thorson told Murphy that the agencies could respond to this request directly. In April, Murphy announced the Inspectors General Independence Act which establishes seven year terms for inspectors general and protects them from politically-motivated firings by only allowing for removal for cause.

“On March 11, 2020, I sent a letter to your respective agency’s Office of Inspector General requesting an investigation into whether your agency was or is applying a different standard to congressional requests related to the president’s political opponents compared to congressional requests related to recent impeachment proceedings or the president’s tax returns,” Murphy wrote. “Several of your respective agency’s Office of Inspector General asked that we first reach out to you because your agency has the factual information sought and that your agency would therefore be able to provide answers to my questions.”

“I am troubled that President Trump may be weaponizing the executive branch in advance of the 2020 elections by direct agencies to comply with congressional investigations designed to hurt his political opponents while stonewalling legitimate oversight investigations into the actions of his own administration,” Murphy continued.

Murphy concluded: “With President Trump’s continued firings of Inspectors General, it is more important than ever that Congress perform its oversight duties in a timely manner.”

Full text of the letter can be found here and below:

Dear Archivist Ferriero and Secretaries Mnuchin, Pompeo, and Wolf:

I write with concerns that executive branch agencies are cooperating with, or considering cooperating with, congressional investigations related to Hunter Biden, a private citizen, and his work on the board of an overseas gas company, Burisma, while refusing to cooperate with other, legitimate congressional investigations into President Trump.

On March 11, 2020, I sent a letter to your respective agency’s Office of Inspector General requesting an investigation into whether your agency was or is applying a different standard to congressional requests related to the president’s political opponents compared to congressional requests related to recent impeachment proceedings or the president’s tax returns.

Several of your respective agency’s Office of Inspector General asked that we first reach out to you because your agency has the factual information sought and that your agency would therefore be able to provide answers to my questions.

To that end, I respectfully ask that you respond to the following questions:

  1. Whether your respective agency cooperated with any congressional requests related to the president’s political opponents, including those associated with Hunter Biden or Burisma;
  2. If so, to what extent your agency complied with such requests;
  3. Whether your respective agency cooperated with congressional requests related to recent impeachment proceedings or the president’s tax returns;
  4. If so, to what extent your agency complied with such requests; and
  5. Whether there has been a different standard applied to document requests for investigations related to the president’s political opponents and document requests related to investigations of the president.

As I wrote to your Inspectors General, I am troubled that President Trump may be weaponizing the executive branch in advance of the 2020 elections by directing agencies to comply with congressional investigations designed to hurt his political opponents while stonewalling legitimate oversight investigations into the actions of his own administration.

With President Trump’s continued firings of Inspectors General, it is more important than ever that Congress perform its oversight duties in a timely manner. I therefore request your initial response by Friday, May 29, 2020.

Sincerely,

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