Defiant Hunter Biden testifies behind closed doors in GOP impeachment inquiry

Republican Rep. James Comer said a public hearing might be necessary.

February 28, 2024, 10:07 PM

Hunter Biden on Wednesday condemned the GOP-led impeachment inquiry into his father, President Joe Biden, as a "political charade" and reiterated that he "never" involved his father in his own professional matters.

The president's son sparred for the more than six hours with Republican lawmakers who have made him the centerpiece of their bid to find wrongdoing by the president.

The House Oversight and Judiciary Committees have yet to present firm evidence linking President Biden to his family's business arrangements, and Wednesday's long-awaited deposition appeared to provide Republicans with no new investigative leads.

Hunter Biden, son of President Joe Biden, arrives for a closed-door deposition with the House Oversight and Judiciary committees on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 28, 2024.
Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

Even so, Rep. James Comer, the Republican chairman of the House Oversight Committee, departed Capitol Hill vowing to press forward with their probe, suggesting that a public hearing might soon be necessary to dissect some "discrepancies" between Hunter Biden's testimony and that of previous witnesses.

Comer did not elaborate on the nature of the alleged discrepancies.

PHOTO: Committee Chairman James Comer speaks to reporters following the closed-door deposition of Hunter Biden, in front of the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability, and House Judiciary Committee, on Feb. 28, 2024, in Washington, D.C.
Committee Chairman James Comer speaks to reporters following the closed-door deposition of Hunter Biden, son of U.S. President Joe Biden, in front of the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability, and House Judiciary Committee in the O'Neill House Office Building, on Feb. 28, 2024, in Washington, D.C.
Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Democrats, meanwhile, sought to frame Hunter Biden's closed-door testimony as the "nail in the coffin" of the beleaguered impeachment effort, as Rep. Dan Goldman, D-N.Y., told reporters.

"A referee would stop the fight if this were a boxing match," Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., said later.

A complete transcript of the deposition is expected to be made public in the coming days. But sources familiar with the testimony said Hunter Biden seemed willing to confront some of Republicans' core allegations head on, without once invoking his Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination.

When asked, for example, about a 2017 email from one of his business associates proposing that Joe Biden accept a share of profits from a prospective deal with a Chinese energy firm -- the infamous '10 held by H for the big guy' email -- Hunter Biden said the person who sent it, James Gilliar, was out of his mind for even suggesting that his father be involved, sources said.

And with regard to the July 2017 WhatsApp message he sent to a business associate suggesting that he was "sitting here with my father," Hunter Biden said he was high or drunk at the time and sent it to the wrong recipient, the sources said, and that he is now embarrassed by the message. The sources said he confirmed that he was not sitting with his father at the time.

In this Feb. 4, 2023, file photo, President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, step off Air Force One, at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base in Syracuse, N.Y.
Patrick Semansky/AP, FILE

The general tenor of Hunter Biden's testimony, the sources added, aligned closely with what he told lawmakers in a prepared statement, which he read aloud at the beginning of the deposition.

"I did not involve my father in my business," Hunter Biden said, according to a copy of the statement obtained by ABC News. "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."

Abbe Lowell, an attorney for Hunter Biden, shared a paper statement late Wednesday that largely reiterates what he told reporters as he and Hunter Biden departed Capitol Hill.

Notably, however -- without alluding to Comer's proposal for a public hearing -- Lowell said "there is nothing left to ask, answer, say, or do."

"Now that Hunter has put this partisan conspiracy to the lie that it is - on the record and under oath - this political charade should finally come to an end," Lowell said.

With the committee's highly anticipated deposition behind him, Hunter Biden will now turn his attention to legal liabilities elsewhere. He still faces felony charges on tax-related crimes in California and gun-related crimes in Delaware.

He has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

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