An attorney for Hunter Biden says the president’s youngest and only surviving son is willing to give evidence before the Republican-led House Oversight Committee, but only in a public hearing that would prevent GOP partisans from selectively leaking or distorting his words.
In a letter to Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, veteran Washington DC attorney Abbe Lowell said Mr Biden was accepting the Kentucky Republican’s offer to appear before the panel on 13 December, the date by which the Yale-educated attorney and ex-lobbyist was required to comply with a subpoena compelling him to testify and turn over a range of documents to the committee.
“Mr Chairman, we take you up on your offer,” said Mr Lowell, a partner at Winston and Strawn who has previously represented numerous high-profile figures during congressional investigations.
Continuing, Mr Lowell said Mr Biden would “get right to it by agreeing to answer any pertinent and relevant question you or your colleagues might have” at “a public Oversight and Accountability Committee hearing,” instead of the “cloaked, one-sided process” of a closed-door deposition.
“A public proceeding would prevent selective leaks, manipulated transcripts, doctored exhibits, or one-sided press statements,” he added.
Earlier this month, Mr Comer issued subpoenas compelling testimony from Hunter Biden and his uncle, James Biden, as part of a long-running probe into President Joe Biden’s family — an investigation which has thus far produced no evidence that the 46th president violated any laws or was improperly influenced by any family member’s business interests.
In his letter, Mr Lowell said the GOP committee’s “empty investigation” has “gone on too long, wasting too many better-used resources” and should “come to an end”.
“From all the individuals you have requested depositions or interviews, all you will learn is that your accusations are baseless,” he said, adding later that “the American people should see that for themselves”.
He also noted what he described as the panel’s practice of using “closed- door sessions” such as the deposition requested of his client to “manipulate, even distort the facts and misinform the public”.
“We therefore propose opening the door,” he said. “If, as you claim, your efforts are important and involve issues that Americans should know about, then let the light shine on these proceedings”.
Mr Comer, who has drawn scorn and ridicule from his Democratic colleagues for a series of increasingly outlandish and unsubstantiated claims he has made about alleged crimes committed by various members of the Biden family, rejected the president’s son’s offer in a statement posted to X (formerly known as Twitter), writing that Mr Biden “is trying to play by his own rules instead of following the rules required of everyone else”.
🚨STATEMENT ON ABBE LOWELL LETTER🚨
“Hunter Biden is trying to play by his own rules instead of following the rules required of everyone else. That won’t stand with House Republicans.
“Our lawfully issued subpoena to Hunter Biden requires him to appear for a deposition on…
— Oversight Committee (@GOPoversight) November 28, 2023
“We expect full cooperation with our subpoena for a deposition but also agree that Hunter Biden should have the opportunity to testify in a public setting at a future date,” he added.
His Democratic counterpart, Ranking Member Jamie Raskin of Maryland, issued a statement in response to the committee chairman’s decision in which he slammed Mr Comer for rejecting Mr Biden’s offer to testify in public.
He asked: “After wailing and moaning for ten months about Hunter Biden and alluding to some vast unproven family conspiracy, after sending Hunter Biden a subpoena to appear and testify, Chairman Comer and the Oversight Republicans now reject his offer to appear before the full Committee and the eyes of the world and to answer any questions that they pose?”
“What an epic humiliation for our colleagues and what a frank confession that they are simply not interested in the facts and have no confidence in their own case or the ability of their own Members to pursue it,” Mr Raskin said.