A battle between House Republicans and Hunter Biden is heating up ahead of a scheduled deposition next week, with the president’s son continuing to resist closed-door testimony while offering to speak in a public format.
Abbe Lowell, Biden’s legal counsel, sent a letter to House Oversight and Accountability Committee Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) on Wednesday reiterating Biden’s willingness to testify in a public hearing and saying the committee “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 said.
House Republicans are entering the final stages of their impeachment probe into President Biden, which they aim to formalize with a vote next week. House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), who is leading another aspect of the impeachment probe, said Monday he expects remaining interviews of key witnesses to be completed over the next six to seven weeks.
Comer had subpoenaed Hunter Biden in November as part of the probe. Lowell responded last week by saying his client was willing to testify in a public setting but not a in a private deposition.
That was not acceptable to the House GOP, with Comer and others arguing that a public hearing with five-minute questioning segments divided among members of the panel was not sufficient. They said a closed-door format where legal counsel can methodically go through numerous questions was necessary.
“The subpoenas Mr. Biden has received compel him to appear before the Committees for a deposition; they are not mere suggestions open to Mr. Biden’s interpretation or preference,” Comer and Jordan wrote in a letter to Lowell last week — asking him to confirm by Monday that Biden would attend the scheduled Dec. 13 deposition.
Comer also Biden could have the opportunity to testify in a public setting after a closed-door deposition, and said that the committee planned to release a transcript from the deposition with Biden “soon after its completion.”
But Lowell in his letter Wednesday pointed to numerous statements from Comer indicating that he would be happy to have Biden testify publicly.
“We’re in the downhill phase of this investigation now because we have so many documents, and we can bring these people in for depositions or committee hearings, whichever they choose,” Comer said in an Oct. 31 appearance on “The Benny Show” posted online.
Lowell also pointed to a Sept. 13 statement from Comer on Newsmax: “Hunter Biden is more than welcome to come in front of the committee. … He’s invited today. We will drop everything.”
The House GOP is seeking testimony from Biden as part of a multi-pronged impeachment inquiry into the president, based in part on his son’s foreign business dealings and allegations and suspicions that the president may have improperly used government policy to benefit the business or improperly benefited from the foreign business dealings. The White House, as well as Hunter Biden, have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.