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Hunter Biden declines GOP invitation to testify publicly before House committee

GOP lays out next steps in impeachment probe
GOP lays out next steps in impeachment probe after Hunter Biden testifies 01:38

Washington — Hunter Biden, President Biden's son, will not testify publicly before the House Oversight and Accountability Committee at a hearing scheduled for next week, his lawyer informed the panel's GOP chairman in a letter Wednesday.

GOP Rep. James Comer of Kentucky, head of the Oversight Committee, announced last week that he invited Hunter Biden and several former business associates to answer questions at the hearing set for March 20. But Abbe Lowell, Hunter Biden's lawyer, told Comer that neither he nor the president's son can attend in part because of a court hearing in California scheduled for March 21.

"The scheduling conflict is the least of the issues, however," Lowell wrote. "Your blatant planned-for-media event is not a proper proceeding but an obvious attempt to throw a Hail Mary pass after the game has ended."

He called the scheduled hearing a "carnival side show," and said Hunter Biden would consider an invitation to a hearing with relatives of former President Donald Trump, who have engaged in their own work overseas after Trump left office.

Comer said in a statement that the hearing will proceed, and Republicans expect Hunter Biden to participate.

"The House Oversight Committee has called Hunter Biden's bluff," he said in a statement. "Hunter Biden for months stated he wanted a public hearing, but now that one has been offered alongside his business associates that he worked with for years, he is refusing to come."

Hunter Biden, center, and his attorney Abbe Lowell, left, address the media on Capitol Hill on Jan. 10, 2024.
Hunter Biden, center, and his attorney Abbe Lowell, left, address the media on Capitol Hill on Jan. 10, 2024.  Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

The Oversight chairman said that during an earlier phase of Republicans' investigation, Hunter Biden confirmed "key evidence," but  contradicted testimony from former business partners who appeared before House investigators.

"The American people demand the truth and accountability for the Bidens' corruption," Comer said.

Comer's request for Hunter Biden to appear in public comes after he testified behind closed doors before members of two House panels in a deposition late last month. 

During the nearly seven-hour session, the younger Biden reiterated that his father was not involved in his foreign business dealings, and called on Republicans to "put an end to this baseless and destructive political charade."

Hunter Biden initially defied a subpoena for his closed-door testimony and insisted on answering questions in a public hearing. Last November, Lowell wrote in a letter to Comer that public testimony would "prevent selective leaks, manipulated transcripts, doctored exhibits, or one-sided press statements."

GOP lawmakers have spent more than a year investigating the president and his son's foreign work, but have not uncovered evidence of wrongdoing by the elder Biden. The House voted last year to formalize an impeachment inquiry into the president, though the effort has largely stalled.

The probe was also dealt a blow when the special counsel investigating Hunter Biden charged a one-time FBI informant for allegedly lying about President Biden and his son accepting $5 million bribes from a Ukrainian energy company. Prosecutors revealed in a court filing last month that the informant, Alexander Smirnov, claimed he had ties to Russian intelligence officials

Citing the indictment of Smirnov, Lowell criticized Comer's impeachment inquiry as "based on a patchwork of conspiracies spun by convicted liars and a charged Russian spy," and said he believed even the GOP chairman "would recognize your baseless impeachment proceeding was dead."

He denounced the March 6 invitation to Hunter Biden as "not a serious oversight proceeding," but rather an "attempt to resuscitate your conference's moribund inquiry with a made-for-right-wing-media, circus act."

Lowell also criticized the credibility of two of Hunter Biden's former business partners invited to attend the March 20 hearing, Tony Bobulinski and Jason Galanis, calling them "discredited."

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