Statement for the Senate Record by Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa
United States Senate
Combatting Russian Disinformation
September 16, 2020
M. President,
Earlier today, my colleagues, Senator Schumer and Senator Wyden violated the senate rules by attempting to offer a resolution disparaging oversight work being done by me and Senator Johnson. They argued, without evidence, that the investigation Senator Johnson and I are engaged in is advancing a Russian disinformation campaign. To be clear, that investigation is focused on potential conflicts of interest and other wrongdoing regarding the time Vice President Biden was lead on the Obama administration’s Ukraine policy. At that same time, his son, Hunter Biden, was on the board of a corrupt Ukrainian gas firm called Burisma. This investigation is a good government investigation to better understand the effect these potential conflicts had on policy execution. This investigation is based on federal government records from the Obama administration and records from a Democrat lobby shop, Blue Star Strategies. If those records are Russian disinformation then that says more about the Obama administration than the purpose of this investigation.
I’ve also addressed the claim that this investigation is somehow connected to Andriy Derkach. I’ve said publicly, on many occasions, that I’ve never received information or material from him. I’ve never solicited information from him. The same is true for my staff. In fact, the only two times that I am aware of that my staff have come in contact with his information are (1) when the Democrats introduced his records into a transcribed interview and (2) when Minority Leader Schumer, Speaker Pelosi, Senator Warner, and Representative Schiff used it in their July 13, 2020 letter.
They also attempted to link Andrii Telizhenko to Andriy Derkach, apparently to cast him as a nefarious foreign agent. But they neglected to mention his many connections to the Obama-Biden administration, including White House meetings and outings with White House staff. They also omitted his work for Blue Star Strategies, which was working on behalf of the corrupt Ukrainian firm that hired Hunter Biden while his father was the face of U.S. policy toward Ukraine. Democratic connections to Mr. Telizhenko are many and well-documented. If they are so concerned that he’s a conduit for disinformation, why did they work with him for so long?
Maybe the Democrats should take a pause and realize that they are the only ones pushing Russian disinformation. Let’s not forget about the Steele Dossier. Thanks to now-declassified information, we know the Dossier was filled with Russian disinformation. The Democrats bought-and-paid-for crown jewel ironically was an example of the very disinformation and collusion that it falsely accused the Trump campaign of. The Democrats pushed it for years. Now that it’s a failed document, they’ve tried to run the same baseless smear tactic on this investigation. The facts simply aren’t on their side. If my colleagues on the other side are as concerned about foreign disinformation as they claim to be, they’d stop relying on it to falsely attack us. Let’s stop playing these games and get back to business for the American people.