Hunter Biden tells Congress his father was not involved in business dealings

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Washington Hunter Biden testified Wednesday before two GOP-led House committees leading the impeachment inquiry into President Biden, telling lawmakers in a closed-door deposition that his father was not involved in his various business deals.

In a prepared opening statement, the younger Biden contested the premise of the inquiry, saying he "did not involve my father in my business," while noting that his testimony "should put an end to this baseless and destructive political charade."

"For more than a year, your Committees have hunted me in your partisan political pursuit of my dad," he said in his prepared remarks. "You have trafficked in innuendo, distortion, and sensationalism — all the while ignoring the clear and convincing evidence staring you in the face. You do not have evidence to support the baseless and MAGA-motivated conspiracies about my father because there isn't any."

Republicans on the House Oversight and Judiciary Committees have long sought Hunter Biden's testimony, moving last month toward holding him in contempt of Congress before he agreed to testify voluntarily. They argued that Hunter Biden's testimony was a "critical component" of their impeachment inquiry, which has centered around allegations that the president profited off of his family members' foreign business dealings while he was vice president.

Hunter Biden arrives for a deposition related to the impeachment inquiry of his father, President Biden, conducted by the House Oversight and Accountability Committee and the House Judiciary Committee on Feb. 28, 2024. / Credit: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images
Hunter Biden arrives for a deposition related to the impeachment inquiry of his father, President Biden, conducted by the House Oversight and Accountability Committee and the House Judiciary Committee on Feb. 28, 2024. / Credit: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

But the inquiry has yet to uncover any evidence of impeachable offenses, and was dealt a blow when the Trump-appointed special counsel investigating Hunter Biden charged a one-time FBI informant for allegedly lying about the president and his son accepting $5 million bribes from a Ukrainian energy company. Prosecutors also revealed in a court filing last week that the informant, Alexander Smirnov, claimed he had ties to Russian intelligence officials.

The claims that prosecutors now say are false have been central to Republicans' argument that the president acted improperly to benefit his family's foreign business dealings.

Abbe Lowell, an attorney for Hunter Biden, said the charges show the impeachment inquiry is "based on dishonest, uncredible allegations and witnesses." The White House has dismissed the impeachment inquiry as a "baseless political stunt."

"They have produced no evidence that would do anything to support the notion that there was any financial transactions that involved Hunter with his father, period," Lowell said Wednesday after the seven-hour deposition.

"Hunter spent nearly seven hours today answering questions from members and staff truthfully and completely," Lowell said in another statement later Wednesday. "He could not have been clearer that there was no time that he involved his father in any of his businesses. And, the Republicans provided not one shred of evidence to the contrary because none exists."

House Oversight Chairman James Comer, a Kentucky Republican, said he is moving the impeachment inquiry into its "next phase," which includes a public hearing with Hunter Biden.

Rep. Eric Swalwell, a California Democrat, doubted earlier in the day that Hunter Biden would ever testify publicly.

"This thing is over," Swalwell told reporters. "I promise you, despite Comer saying that he's going to have a public hearing from Hunter Biden, we are never going to see Hunter Biden testify publicly because this is embarrassing. They will never bring this public. It's embarrassing."

Comer said in a statement Tuesday that his committee's investigation has revealed that "Joe Biden was 'the brand' his family sold to enrich" themselves.

"Joe Biden attended dinners, spoke on speakerphone, showed up to meetings, and had coffee with his son's foreign business associates," Comer said.

A former business associate of Hunter Biden testified last year that the younger Biden would occasionally put his father on speakerphone at business meetings, but they never discussed business on the calls. The associate said the then-vice president was put on the phone to help Hunter Biden sell "the brand."

Hunter Biden's attorney has said any interaction between his client's business associates and his father  "was simply to exchange small talk."

Republicans argue that those instances show the president was involved in his son's foreign business dealings, which the president and his son have repeatedly denied.

Lawmakers heard testimony last week from the president's brother, James Biden, who said the president "never had any involvement" in the business dealings of other members of his family.

"I have had a 50-year career in a variety of business ventures. Joe Biden has never had any involvement or any direct or indirect financial interest in those activities," the president's younger brother told lawmakers behind closed doors, according to his opening statement obtained by CBS News. "None."

Hunter Biden was indicted on nine tax charges in California in December for failing to pay at least $1.4 million in federal taxes between 2016 and 2019, while he was struggling with addiction. He has since paid off the back taxes, with the help of a loan from Kevin Morris, a Hollywood attorney.

Morris testified in January to lawmakers, denying that he used the loans to Hunter Biden to gain access and influence in the White House.

"I did not and do not have any expectations of receiving anything from Hunter's father or the Biden administration in exchange for helping Hunter, nor have I asked for anything from President Biden or his administration. My only goal was and is to help my friend and client," he said in a statement after testifying.

In addition to the tax charges, Hunter Biden was indicted on three federal gun charges in Delaware that allege he lied about his drug use to buy a gun that he possessed for 11 days in 2018.

He has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges against him.

Nikole Killion, Ellis Kim and Jenna Gibson contributed reporting. 

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