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Obama's office excoriated a GOP-led congressional probe into Joe Biden and Ukraine as giving 'credence to a Russian disinformation campaign'

barack obama barack obama
Former President Barack Obama.
AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais
  • The office of former President Barack Obama excoriated a Republican-led congressional investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and purported Ukrainian election interference as giving "credence to a Russian disinformation campaign," according to a March letter .
  • The letter said the investigation, led by GOP Sens. Ron Johnson and Chuck Grassley, "arises out of efforts by some, actively supported by Russia, to shift the blame for Russian interference in the 2016 election to Ukraine."
  • It also said that in addition to legitimizing Russia's disinformation campaign in the US — which has been promoted by Republican lawmakers — Johnson and Grassley's request is legally unprecedented.
  • Nonetheless, Obama's office will provide the committees access to the records they'd requested "in the interest of countering the misinformation campaign underlying this request," the letter concluded.
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The office of former President Barack Obama excoriated a Republican-led congressional investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and purported Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election as giving "credence to a Russian disinformation campaign," according to a March letter .

Anita Decker Breckenridge, a records representative for Obama, sent the letter to the National Archives and Records Administration on March 13. The letter was sent in connection to a November request from Republican Sens. Ron Johnson and Chuck Grassley to NARA requesting Obama administration records "related to certain meetings connected to Ukraine."

The two senators launched their investigation into Biden and alleged Ukrainian election meddling last year, while the House of Representatives was investigating President Donald Trump's efforts to strongarm Ukraine into delivering political dirt against Biden in exchange for vital security assistance and a White House meeting for Ukraine's president. Biden is now the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.

2020欧洲杯足彩外围appThe US intelligence community concluded with high confidence in early 2017 that Russia interfered in the 2016 US election to propel Trump to the presidency. There is no evidence that the Ukrainian government engaged in a similar effort to help Democrats, as Trump and Republicans have alleged.

NARA is authorized to provide "special access to presidential records to a Committee of either House of Congress before their scheduled release date, provided the information in the records 'is needed for the conduct of its business' and 'is not otherwise available,'" Breckenridge wrote.

2020欧洲杯足彩外围appShe also highlighted that incumbent and former presidents are allowed to review and potentially withhold documents to protect the "confidentiality of presidential communications," and that Obama has "consistently supported the nonpartisan administration of presidential records and the commitment to transparency core to NARA's mission."

2020欧洲杯足彩外围appHowever, the letter continued, Johnson and Grassley's request is an improper use of the NARA exceptions and "arises out of efforts by some, actively supported by Russia, to shift the blame for Russian interference in the 2016 election to Ukraine."

Breckenridge pointed to impeachment testimony from Fiona Hill, the White House's former senior director for Russian and Eurasian affairs. Hill was one of several witnesses who testified last year about her knowledge of  an "irregular" foreign policy channel that Trump's allies used to force Ukraine to cave to the president's demands.

In her opening remarks, Hill skewered several Republican lawmakers on the House Intelligence Committee for suggesting Ukraine had meddled in the 2016 race.

2020欧洲杯足彩外围app"Based on questions I have heard, some of you on this committee appear to believe that Russia and its security services did not conduct a campaign against our country and that, perhaps, somehow for some reason Ukraine did," Hill said. "This is a fictional narrative that is being perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves."

David Hale, the US's undersecretary of state for political affairs, also testified that he had not seen any "credible evidence" showing Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election to help Democrats.

2020欧洲杯足彩外围appBreckenridge's letter continued to take aim at Republicans conducting the Ukraine congressional probe, saying their request for the early release of presidential records "in order to give credence to a Russian disinformation campaign — one that has already been thoroughly investigated by a bipartisan congressional committee — is without precedent."

2020欧洲杯足彩外围appHowever, Breckenridge concluded the letter by saying that Obama's office would provide the committees access to the records they'd requested "in the interest of countering the misinformation campaign underlying this request."

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