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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

In long-awaited testimony, Hunter Biden assails GOP impeachment inquiry

Boxes of documents are brought into the room for the closed-door deposition of Hunter Biden, son of President Joe Biden, conducted by House Republicans on Capitol Hill in Washington on Wednesday morning, Feb. 28, 2024. Republicans’ deposition of Hunter Biden comes at a make-or-break moment in their impeachment investigation of his father. (Kenny Holston/The New York Times)

By Luke Broadwater

Hunter Biden, the president’s son, blasted House Republicans’ impeachment inquiry during a closed-door deposition Wednesday, condemning their investigation as a “partisan political pursuit” that was based on a “false premise” and fueled by “lies.”

Conducted in an office building on Capitol Hill, the interview was the latest bid by Republicans to unearth evidence that President Joe Biden was inappropriately involved in his son’s foreign business dealings. So far, their impeachment investigation has turned up no proof.

Hunter Biden, 54, made clear in his opening statement, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times, that he planned to cede no ground to the GOP.

“You have trafficked in innuendo, distortion and sensationalism — all the while ignoring the clear and convincing evidence staring you in the face,” Biden said in the prepared remarks. “You do not have evidence to support the baseless and MAGA-motivated conspiracies about my father because there isn’t any.”

“I did not involve my father in my business,” Biden said. “Not while I was a practicing lawyer, not in my investments or transactions domestic or international, not as a board member and not as an artist. Never.”

The interview, which was expected to last all day and into the evening, came at a make-or-break moment for the inquiry. Republicans have sought for months to tie Joe Biden to the alleged misdeeds of his second-born son, but they have struggled with a series of setbacks, including the indictment of an FBI informant accused of making up a story that the elder Biden took a $5 million bribe.

In his opening statement, Hunter Biden mocked the way Republicans have relied on accused criminals to build the case against his father.

“Rather than follow the facts as they have been laid out before you in bank records, financial statements, correspondence and other witness testimony, you continue your frantic search to prove the lies you, and those you rely on, keep peddling,” he said. “Yes, they are lies.”

The deposition is the culmination of a multiyear Republican pursuit of Hunter Biden, whose business dealings and descent into debauchery have long made him a punching bag for the GOP. After years of asking “Where’s Hunter?” and spreading the lurid contents of a laptop that contained graphic material of his exploits while he struggled with drug addiction, Republicans finally have their chance to question him.

The interview also was a major moment in the drawn-out feud between Republicans and Biden about whether he would cooperate in the impeachment inquiry. He had refused repeatedly to sit for a private deposition, and Republicans threatened to hold him in contempt of Congress for defying an earlier subpoena to do so.

Biden had maintained that he was worried that House Republicans would selectively leak portions of his testimony to misrepresent his account and try to harm his father. He made two surprise appearances on Capitol Hill in which he challenged Republicans to question him at a public hearing. But after the contempt threat, Biden relented.

Hunter Biden is already under federal indictment over accusations of tax crimes related to his overseas business interests, including with companies and partners in Ukraine and China. Testifying is a risk because anything he says could be used against him in the criminal case.

Republicans have determined through bank records that from 2014 to 2019, Biden family members received about $15 million through business deals from foreign entities. But they have yet to show that any of the deals were illegal, or that the elder Biden benefited from them.

House Republicans have uncovered evidence that the elder Biden was aware of and met some of his son’s business partners, raising questions about whether some of the president’s public statements about the deals were intentionally misleading. But a key witness also testified that such conversations were superficial in nature, extending only to niceties like the weather or fishing.

In his opening statement, Hunter Biden acknowledged making “mistakes in my life, and I have squandered opportunities and privileges that were afforded to me.” But he said his mistakes and shortcomings “are my own and not my father’s.”

“During my battle with addiction, my father was there for me,” he said. “He helped save my life. His love and support made it possible for me to get sober, stay sober and rebuild my life as a father, husband, son and brother.”

Last week, Republicans interviewed another key Biden family member, the president’s brother James, but that testimony did not produce the bombshell revelations the GOP sought. James Biden told investigators that his older brother was not involved in any of the business deals in which he and Hunter Biden were partners.

House Republicans have already voted to impeach Alejandro Mayorkas, the homeland security secretary, on charges that he had intentionally refused to enforce immigration laws. They have yet to send those impeachment articles over to the Democratic-controlled Senate, which is expected to quickly reject the charges.

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