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Hunter Biden and House GOP spar over possible testimony

Hunter Biden’s attorney and House Republicans exchanged angry statements Wednesday over whether the president’s son will testify before Congress next week, as a GOP committee chairman threatened to refer contempt charges against him if he does not appear for a closed-door deposition.

The dispute is largely over whether Hunter Biden will testify in public — which he demands as a condition of appearing — or whether the questioning will take place in private, as House Republicans insist. Hunter Biden’s team says private testimony would let Republicans selectively leak his quotes to misrepresent his comments, while GOP lawmakers say Hunter Biden should follow the practices of their other witnesses and that he could provide open testimony at a later date.

Abbe Lowell, a lawyer representing Biden, wrote Wednesday to Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), chairman of the House Oversight Committee, to reiterate his client’s willingness to participate in an open hearing. Lowell included several quotes from Comer saying he would welcome the opportunity to have Hunter Biden and others testify in public or private, “whichever they choose.”

Lowell reiterated that Hunter Biden would appear at a public hearing Dec. 13, when Comer has invited him to testify privately, or on any other date that Comer wants.

“He is making this choice because the Committee has demonstrated time and again it uses closed-door sessions to manipulate, even distort, the facts and misinform the American public—a hearing would ensure transparency and truth in these proceedings,” Lowell wrote.

Within a few hours came a response from Comer and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), who chairs the House Judiciary Committee.

“Contrary to the assertions in your letter, there is no ‘choice’ for Mr. Biden to make; the subpoenas compel him to appear for a deposition on December 13,” they wrote.

If Hunter Biden does not appear, they added, they would initiate proceedings to hold him in contempt of Congress. When asked about that prospect, Hunter Biden’s legal team pointed back to its letter offering for him to testify publicly.

Jordan himself ignored a subpoena last year from the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, a move that drew sharp criticism from Democrats at the time.

Hunter Biden’s offer late last month to testify in public was a dramatic and unexpected move, apparently designed in part to throw his Republican pursuers on the defensive. Should the president’s son appear before the committee next week, he would be the highest-profile witness so far in House Republicans’ year-long investigation of the Biden family’s business dealings.

The testimony also would come in a week when House Republicans are expected to move toward a floor vote authorizing an impeachment inquiry into President Biden. It would give firmer authority to an impeachment inquiry that has been underway since September focused on whether the president benefited from his son’s business activities.

House investigators have obtained more than 12,000 pages of financial records and conducted interviews with individuals who worked closely with the president’s son in various capacities.

While the committee has uncovered evidence and heard testimony that Hunter Biden tried to leverage the Biden family name to appeal to potential clients, it has not produced evidence that Joe Biden benefited from his son’s business dealings. Nor has the president been linked to wrongdoing amid congressional scrutiny of the Justice Department’s separate investigation of Hunter Biden.

Several of Hunter Biden’s former business associates have testified that Hunter Biden put his father on speakerphone during business meetings or arranged for the elder Biden to drop by as he met with potential business partners. Hunter Biden also helped arrange several meetings between his father and a group of wealthy Mexican businessmen with whom he was trying to do business.

Hunter Biden has repeatedly denied wrongdoing, as has the president. Even some Republicans have expressed doubts about whether the GOP investigation has uncovered evidence that would warrant impeachment.

The president, after delivering remarks on aid to Ukraine, was asked by a reporter Wednesday why he had interacted with some of his son’s foreign business associates.

“I did not. And it’s just a bunch of lies,” the president said. “They’re lies. I did not. They’re lies.”

This post appeared first on The Washington Post
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