On Monday morning, before Donald Trump's impeachment trial was complete, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) assured Fox News that the Republican Party's counterattack would "happen in the coming weeks," and would include official investigations into Joe Biden.
Evidently, we didn't have to wait too long to see what that might entail. USA Today reported:
Two Republican senators have said they are continuing to look into "potential conflicts of interest" with Hunter Biden's business dealings in Ukraine and China, shortly after President Donald Trump was acquitted by the Senate on articles of impeachment for his own conduct in Ukraine.
Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Ron Johnson, R-Wis., sent a letter to Secret Service Director James Murray on Wednesday asking for clarification on "whether Hunter Biden used government-sponsored travel to help conduct private business" and details of his travel records.
The timing was of particular interest: Grassley and Johnson, two powerful Senate committee chairman, voted on Wednesday not to hold the president accountable for the illegal extortion scheme Trump hatched in the hopes of digging up dirt on the Bidens. The same day, the GOP senators got to work on Trump's behalf, hoping to dig up dirt on the Bidens.
What's more, that letter does not appear to represent the full extent of their efforts. Yahoo News reported yesterday that the Republican senators also requested "highly sensitive and closely held financial records about Hunter Biden and his associates," and the Treasury Department complied.
MSNBC and NBC News have not independently verified this reporting, but if it's accurate, it reinforces the impression that some of the White House's GOP allies on Capitol Hill are on the hunt, as per the president's expectations.
Walter Shaub, the former director of the Office of Government Ethics, wrote on Twitter overnight, "We're in extremely dangerous territory here. Senators like Grassley and Johnson are supposed to be holding the president accountable. Instead, they are corruptly weaponizing the criminal investigative apparatus against citizens to interfere in an election."
Trump couldn't coerce officials in Kyiv to launch investigations into the former vice president and his family, but it appears the American president is getting the probes anyway -- and by all appearances, Trump probably didn't need to extort Republican senators into doing his bidding.
MORE: Today's Maddowblog