Sen. Chuck Grassley accused Senate Democrats in a fiery speech on the Senate floor on Wednesday of behaving like “cowards” by accusing him of falling victim to a Russian disinformation campaign regarding Joe Biden, while ignoring allegations that Russian intelligence operatives planted false information in the Democrat-funded Steele dossier.
“Truth be told, the Democrats should know a thing or two about Russian disinformation,” Grassley said in his speech.
“The Steele Dossier is the very definition of election interference, yet we hear no objections from Democrats,” he continued, adding that “Democrats got duped into falsely accusing their political rivals of doing the very thing they were actually complicit in.”
Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, took issue with Democrats’ claim that he and fellow Republican Sen. Ron Johnson are helping Russian interests by investigating Hunter Biden’s activities in Ukraine.
Top Senate and House Democrats have asked the FBI and Justice Department to provide briefings on a packet of documents that a Ukrainian politician allegedly sent to Grassley, Johnson and other Republicans regarding the Bidens and Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian energy company.
But Grassley said that he and Johnson did not receive the documents, and that he has communicated as much to congressional Democrats.
“The claims are baseless,” said Grassley. “We never received or reviewed anything like what was described in the Democrats’ leaked documents.”
He criticized Senate Democrats, saying that they declined opportunities to speak directly with him about the Russian disinformation allegation.
“What bothers me most here is, my Democratic colleagues have known me a long time. They know who I am. They know where to find me,” Grassley said.
“This is the behavior of cowards.”
Grassley and Johnson are investigating whether the Obama administration altered its policy towards Ukraine because of Hunter Biden’s position on the board of Burisma Holdings, which has long been dogged by fraud allegations.
Burisma hired Hunter Biden to serve on its board of directors in April 2014, just months after Joe Biden began handling Ukraine-related issues for the Obama administration.
“Did the corrupt firm get special access or special treatment because of its ties to the vice president’s son? Did the Obama administration appropriately address any conflicts of interest?” Grassley asked.
Grassley and Johnson have requested records from the State Department, Justice Department and a consulting firm called Blue Star Strategies, which worked with Hunter Biden on Burisma’s behalf.
Grassley went on to accuse Democrats of hypocrisy through their silence about the Steele dossier, which was the product of an opposition research project funded by the Clinton campaign and DNC.
Grassley noted that he and Johnson worked to declassify footnotes from a Justice Department inspector general’s report that said that the FBI received evidence in 2017 that parts of the dossier may have been Russian disinformation.