Weeks ago, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo provided a “portfolio” of documents for Republican senators—and only Republican senators—concerning the investigation of the Russia investigation and the ongoing attempt to flesh out Donald Trump’s conspiracies about Joe Biden’s actions in Ukraine. Only the word “portfolio” is about as deceptive as everything else about this affair, because what Pompeo shipped to his partisans topped 1,600 pages. That includes information provided to the State Department courtesy of pro-Russian former Ukrainian officials eager to get the Putin line into U.S. documents.
Asked about this portfolio, the State Department has routinely passed it off as an ordinary search of documents held at the department and provided to committees at the request of Republican Sens. Chuck Grassley and reliable conspiracy theorist Ron Johnson. Though, somehow the State Department only provided the documents to the Republican members of those committees. What the State Department hasn’t explained is why these documents haven’t been provided to any Democratic senator despite multiple requests. But now it appears that something is going to be provided to one Democrat, because a State Department official has ordered that Biden be provided the results of the same document search.
According to Politico, the memo issued on Tuesday is “in response to a July 28 request” from Grassley and Johnson. It appears to demand that the State Department turn over anything related to “Crossfire Hurricane”—the investigation of Russia’s interference into the 2016 election—and anything related to Biden’s actions in Ukraine.
The breadth of the request makes it clear that Republicans have been on a fishing expedition, attempting to pile up everything they possibly can for use against Biden, not matter how obscure. Johnson, for example, has been tweeting statements about meetings held by Hunter Biden’s former business partner as if they had some relevance. As in Joe Biden visited Ukraine and then, months later, someone with a business connection to his son also talked to someone in Ukraine, though not anyone Joe Biden spoke to. Johnson has been issuing long lines of such statements, insinuating that they prove some complex crime … one that Johnson completely fails to articulate. Instead, he just keeps inserting “coincidence?” into his tweets.
But while Johnson’s spaghetti tangle of statements may look like evidence to no one not currently on board with QAnon, it’s not at all clear that what Johnson is voicing is anything like the claims that Republicans will make in the closing weeks of the campaign. With Attorney General William Barr still sitting on the “results” of the John Durham investigation, Devin Nunes handing out his own “portfolio” to Republicans in the House, and the heap of documents from Pompeo being sifted through in the Senate, everyone should expect a coordinated, multipronged attack on Biden that renews and extends the claims that have come through Rudy Giuliani and his network of pro-Russian “sources.” Every one of these assaults on reason is designed to back up the conspiracy theories that Donald Trump was pushing when he tried to strong-arm Ukraine into lying about Biden—and ended up getting himself impeached. (Your regular reminder: Donald Trump was impeached.)
It’s also not clear that the document dump being provided to Biden is anything at all like the stack of documents provided by Pompeo. What Biden is being sent may be “in response to” the request from Grassley and Johnson, but that doesn’t mean the results will be identical, especially as Pompeo seems to have played a direct role in compiling the massive stack sent exclusively to Republicans.