Hunter Biden declines invitation to testify on Capitol Hill

ByPaula Reid and Annie Grayer, CNNWire
Wednesday, March 13, 2024
Hunter tells House GOP he did not involve Joe Biden in his business
"I am here today to provide the committees with the one uncontestable fact that should end the false premise of this inquiry: I did not involve my father in my business," Hunter Biden said in an opening statement.

WASHINGTON -- Hunter Biden's attorney has informed House Oversight Chairman James Comer that the president's son will not accept the committee's invitation for him to appear at a public hearing, according to a letter obtained by CNN.

The video is from a previous report.

Last month, Hunter Biden spoke at a closed-door deposition before the House Oversight and Judiciary committees about his foreign business dealings as part of the Republican-controlled House's larger interest in pursuing his father for a potential impeachment. Republicans are still planning to hold a hearing next week with three other witnesses they've interviewed as part of their inquiry into President Joe Biden, House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan told CNN on Wednesday.

The attorney, Abbe Lowell, argued the hearing "is not a serious oversight proceeding. It is your attempt to resuscitate your Conference's moribund inquiry with a made-for-right-wing-media, circus act."

Calling the invitation "a Hail Mary pass," Lowell wrote: "I thought even you would recognize your baseless impeachment proceeding was dead."

Hunter Biden, left, son of President Joe Biden, arrives with attorney Abbe Lowell at the O
Hunter Biden, left, arrives for a closed-door deposition in a Republican-led investigation into the Biden family, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Feb. 28, 2024.
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

In his letter, Lowell also criticized Comer's decision to invite some of the discredited business associates tied to the president's son to the same hearing. He argued if Comer was serious about holding an oversight hearing to address alleged influence peddling, the committee should invite Jared Kushner and members of the Trump family alongside Hunter Biden.

Lowell said that the president's son answered every question Republicans had for him in the six-hour closed door deposition. And Lowell even used Comer's own words against him to argue that a hearing was not necessary.

In January, Comer said, "All we need are people to come in for the depositions and then we'll be finished."

Lowell also said he and Hunter Biden have a court hearing in California that conflicts with the date Comer requested but that "the scheduling conflict is the least of the issues."

In response to Lowell's letter, Comer told CNN: "I'm confused. I thought they wanted a public hearing."

One of the witnesses who was invited to next week's hearing is Devon Archer, a former Biden family business associate, who testified behind closed doors last year that "nothing" of importance was discussed the 20 times he recalled then-Vice President Joe Biden being placed on speakerphone during meetings he participated in. Republicans have seized on Archer's testimony that Hunter Biden sold his father's "brand" around the world to enrich the Biden family.

Another witness is Tony Bobulinski, who has levied unproven allegations against the president that other witnesses have disputed. And the third is Jason Galanis, who is currently in federal prison for his role in an unrelated fraud scheme.

The back-and-forth between Biden's legal team and House Republicans has been ongoing for months.

When Republicans initially subpoenaed Hunter Biden, Lowell said his client would only participate in a public hearing. When Republicans were poised to hold Biden in criminal contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with the subpoena for a deposition, the two sides came to an agreement on a deposition.

This story has been updated with additional information.

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