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Republican Sen. Mitt Romney is sharply criticizing an investigation by his own party into Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s son, saying its “not the legitimate role of government” to try and damage political opponents.

GOP Sen. Ron Johnson, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, has said the committee will issue a report before the Nov.

3 election on Hunter Biden’s activities in Ukraine. Johnson, a close ally of President Donald Trump, is leading the investigation into Burisma, a gas company in Ukraine that paid Hunter Biden to serve as a board member while Joe Biden was vice president to President Barack Obama.

Most Republican senators have been on board with Johnson’s inquiry. But Romney, a frequent Trump critic, has repeatedly made clear he has concerns about politicizing the committee’s work.

The Utah lawmaker, who was the 2012 Republican presidential candidate, had his strongest words yet for what he called the “Biden-Burisma” investigation at a committee meeting Wednesday, saying that the inquiry from the “outset had the earmarks of a political exercise.”

Romney added: “Obviously, it is the province of campaigns and political parties’ opposition research, the media, to carry out political endeavors, to learn about or dust up one’s opponent. But it’s not the legitimate role of government or Congress, or for taxpayer expense to be used in an effort to damage political opponents.”

Johnson, R-Wis., did not respond to the comments during the meeting. But he had earlier withdrawn from the meeting’s agenda a vote to authorize an additional subpoena, a move that Romney praised.

A committee aide said that the subpoena was withdrawn because the witness, Bridget Brink, the U.S. ambassador to Slovakia, had agreed to testify voluntarily. The aide was not authorized to publicly discuss committee work taking place in private and spoke on condition of anonymity.

In a statement responding to Romneys comments, Johnson spokesman Ben Voelkel said “the American people have the right to know” the facts of the investigation.

“This is Congress," Voelkel said. “Everything here has implications for politics and elections. The Committee is expressly authorized to investigate conflicts of interest, and its investigation into Burisma and US-Ukraine policy began well before the Democratic nominee for President had been decided.”

There is no evidence of wrongdoing by the Bidens, and Hunter Biden has denied using his influence with his father to aid Burisma. In a statement, Joe Biden spokesman Andrew Bates called the investigation “disgraceful."

Senate Democrats have strongly objected to the inquiry and have charged that Johnson could be amplifying Russian propoganda to hurt Biden.

After Wednesdays meeting, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York and Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., offered a resolution calling for “the cessation of any Senate investigation or activity that allows Congress to act as a conduit for Russian disinformation.”

Johnson himself came to the floor to object, preventing the measures passage. He denied that any Russian disinformation was part of the investigation, calling the Democrats resolution “false charges" and “wild claims against me."

Republicans coming to Trump’s defense during and after last year’s impeachment trial have encouraged investigations of Hunter Biden’s activities, questioning whether his highly paid job created a conflict of interest for Joe Biden as the elder Biden worked on Ukraine policy in the Obama administration. Trump has frequently mentioned Hunter Biden’s activities during his reelection campaign.

The president’s efforts to have Ukraine investigate Hunter Biden’s role were also at the heart of last years House impeachment investigation. Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate the Bidens on a July phone call that was later revealed by a whistleblower’s complaint.

The House impeached Trump in December for pressuring the Ukrainian government on investigations while withholding military aid to the country. The Senate acquitted him in February. Romney was the only Republican to vote for one of the articles of impeachment.

Johnson’s committee, along with the Senate Judiciary Committee, is also looking into the origins of the Justice Department’s Russia probe. The committee voted a second time to issue subpoenas in that investigation.

© Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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Tags: joe biden mitt romney coronavirus special george floyd protests 2020 elections trump administration coronavirus china the investigation hunter biden s the committee the committee

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Jennifer Aniston Almost Quit Acting 2 Years Ago

Actress Jennifer Aniston has contemplated quitting acting before.

Aniston opened up about the moment during iHeartRadio’s “SmartLess” podcast, according to an article published Tuesday by Yahoo! Entertainment.

View this post on Instagram

Thank you @interviewmag for this birthday surprise. I had no idea this would be coming out today. Feeling proud and honored to be celebrating with this cover. Thanks to the Interview team for celebrating women at every age… turns out 51 is pretty fun. And thanks to @nickkharamis, @melzy917, @alique_studio, @mrchrismcmillan, @gucciwestman — and my sister from another mister Sandy Bullock for talking to me about whatever the hell we were talking about. I love you so much. ????????

A post shared by Jennifer Aniston (@jenniferaniston) on Feb 11, 2020 at 1:11pm PST

“I would have to say the last two years that has crossed my mind, which it never did before,” Aniston said.

Thinking she might quit acting came before she landed her role in “The Morning Show” for Apple TV+. Aniston said she contemplated quitting after she finished an “unprepared project” that “sucked the life out of [her.]” (RELATED: Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston’s Mansion Sells For $32.5 Million)

“I don’t know if this is what interests me,” Aniston remembered thinking.

View this post on Instagram

Girl’s best friend… bring Clyde to work day.

A post shared by Jennifer Aniston (@jenniferaniston) on Nov 13, 2019 at 1:02pm PST

Aniston does have other passions though.

“Interior design, probably,” Aniston said when asked what she would do instead of acting. “I love it. It’s my happy place. It’s really a happy place for me.”

I would love that for Aniston if it was really going to make her happy, but at the same time I would really like her to not quit acting. She has put out some really great stuff recently, not to mention her infamous role as Rachel Green on “Friends.”

If Aniston continued to star in TV and movies, I would be so happy. However, I’d be willing to watch her succeed in something else as well.

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