The office of former President Barack Obama’s March letter privately assailed a congressional investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son’s work at a Ukrainian energy company, calling it an attempt “to shift the blame for Russian interference in the 2016 election to Ukraine.”Writing to the National Archives and Records Administration — which maintains presidential records — Obama’s office specifically said that a request from Republican Sens. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Chuck Grassley of Iowa seeking administration documents related to Ukraine was improper. The letter was first reported by BuzzFeed.“The request for 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,” said the letter signed by Obama’s records representative and dated March 13.Obama’s office went on to write that it will release the requested records but only “in the interest of countering the misinformation campaign underlying this request.””In doing so, we emphasize that abuse of the special access process strikes at the heart of presidential confidentiality interests and undermines the statutory framework and norms that govern access to presidential records,” the letter concluded.
The November request from Johnson and Grassley came as part of GOP effort to obtain a host of records from government agencies related to the Bidens, the Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma and uncorroborated allegations about Ukrainian interference in the 2016 US election. While Republicans have publicly insist their efforts have nothing to do with Biden’s current presidential campaign, they have used their powers in the Senate to look into a series of matters that they believe could shine negative light on the former vice president — and help President Donald Trump.Trump and his allies have repeatedly made unfounded and false claims to allege that the Bidens acted corruptly in Ukraine.The President was impeached by the House of Representatives in December 2019 following a sprawling three-month Democratic investigation into allegations that the he pressured Ukraine to investigate the former vice president while withholding US security assistance and a White House meeting. Biden, who was surging in the Democratic primary race in early March as Republicans sharpened their investigation into him and his son, has since become the presumptive Democratic nominee for president.