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Congressional Republicans target Hunter Biden's Hollywood mega-lawyer

Republicans in Congress want to know why a high-powered Hollywood attorney lent Hunter Biden millions of dollars while providing him legal and media assistance.

In a letter on Sunday, Rep. James Comer of Kentucky requested documents from attorney Kevin Morris related to a reportedly $2 million loan designed to help the president's son pay back taxes, as well as any records related to the Federal Election Commission or communications with the White House.

Morris is a retired Hollywood attorney and novelist who has had numerous high profile entertainment clients, best known for negotiating a pair of contracts totaling $1.4 billion for the creators of "South Park," and winning a Tony award as a co-producer of their hit musical "The Book of Mormon."  

A source on Morris's legal team said Morris declined to comment on the letter at this time. The source criticized Comer's letter.

"The House Oversight Committee surely has more important matters before it these days, to say the least. This doesn't go anywhere," the source said.

Comer said congressional Republicans are concerned about Morris' turn toward politics.

"Your sudden patronage of the President's son, enormous financial contributions to President Biden, and outsized role you are taking in defending against both congressional and criminal investigations raise serious concerns about whether you are providing in-kind contributions to President Biden's re-election efforts," wrote Comer, who is the ranking minority member on the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.

In an April 2021 interview with CBS News, Hunter Biden said he is "cooperating completely" with a Justice Department investigation into his finances, and is "100% certain that at the end of the investigation, that I will be cleared of any wrongdoing."

President Biden has said he was not involved in the business dealings of his son and brother, and there has been no evidence that has emerged to refute this. 

"I have not taken a penny from any foreign source, ever, in my life," Mr. Biden said in October 2020 at a presidential debate.

In April, the White Chief of Staff said the "president is confident that his family did the right thing," adding, "these are the actions of Hunter (Biden) and his brother. They're private matters. They don't involve the president. And they certainly are something that no one at the White House is involved in."

A source familiar with the arrangement between Morris and Hunter Biden told CBS News in May that Morris paid Hunter Biden's past-due tax debts. A long-running federal investigation by a Trump-appointed U.S. attorney in Delaware includes an examination of Hunter Biden's taxes, and a grand jury in Delaware has been hearing evidence on the matter for months.

Comer wrote that Morris' loan "may complicate the case the government is building."

"Committee Republicans are particularly troubled by your role in attempting to personally shield Hunter Biden from congressional and criminal investigations," Comer wrote.

A Democratic Party source in Washington told CBS News in May that Morris has also been working on a documentary about Hunter Biden's life in the limelight, and the Republican scrutiny he's attracted. 

But Morris, who has in the past represented Matthew McConaughey, Minnie Driver and other celebrities, has also been working behind the scenes to help Hunter Biden, even conducting a forensic analysis and investigation into how the contents of a laptop that may have been his became public.

"You convened a team of 30 lawyers and investigators to discredit information released about Hunter Biden and his business dealings and, in turn, their potential connection to President Biden," Comer wrote. "This is troubling because it appears to be an attempt to prevent the American people from discovering the truth about the [Bidens'] international business dealings." 

Comer wrote that the loan and "apparent pro bono counsel regarding the release of Hunter Biden's memoir, art career, divorce, oversight defense, and the funding of a documentary about his life" could constitute in-kind contributions to President Biden. In-kind contributions are services provided to campaigns for free or below the market rate.

Morris' work "appears to be meant to deflect oversight of Hunter Biden's numerous foreign business dealings and, more troublingly, shield President Biden from becoming implicated in them," Comer wrote.

Republicans in Congress do not have subpoena power because they are in the minority, meaning they cannot compel Morris to produce documents. That could change if Republicans take control of the House in the midterm elections later this year.

Hunter Biden has for years been dogged by parallel investigations by the Justice Department and Republican members of Congress.

The case is being led by the U.S. Attorney in Delaware, David C. Weiss. Weiss was appointed by former President Trump and kept on by the Biden administration, in part because they did not want to appear to be interfering in the probe by replacing him with a Democratic appointee.

The White House has referred questions to the Department of Justice.

"I'm a spokesperson for the United States," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said last month responding to questions about Hunter Biden. She directed questions about the investigation to the Justice Department, saying of the president's son, "He doesn't work in the government."

A lawyer for Hunter Biden has not responded to CBS News.

Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa told CBS News in April that Hunter Biden received monthly retainers totaling $100,000 in 2018 from a Chinese-financed consulting group. Grassley, who has been investigating Hunter Biden for three years, said his team obtained the records directly from the bank where the consulting group did business.

On May 25, Comer sent letters to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and 13 banks demanding suspicious activity reports related to transactions involving Hunter Biden and other members of the Biden family. Comer cited a CBS News report that more than 150 financial transactions involving the global business affairs of either Hunter Biden or the president's brother James Biden were flagged as concerning by U.S. banks for further review. Large wire transfers were among the transactions allegedly flagged.

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