Hunter Biden interview marks pivotal moment for GOP-led impeachment inquiry

The president’s son faces lawmakers on Wednesday behind closed doors.

February 28, 2024, 11:18 AM

Hunter Biden is facing the Republicans lawmakers he once accused of trying to kill him to harm his father's political career in a highly anticipated face-off that could be a pivotal moment for the sputtering GOP-led impeachment inquiry.

Members of the House Oversight and Judiciary Committees are interviewing President Joe Biden's son on Wednesday during a closed-door session on Capitol Hill.

Hunter Biden arrived for the deposition just before 10 a.m. flanked by his attorney Abbe Lowell. He did not speak to reporters or make any statements.

Republicans hope to elicit revelations that could justify moving forward with their inquiry, whose credibility suffered a blow with the recent indictment of an ex-FBI source who is accused of falsifying the allegations of bribery involving both Bidens that were once a central tenet of the GOP impeachment narrative.

Hunter Biden, who in January abruptly relented his efforts to testify at an open hearing, will continue to deny his father had an involvement in his overseas business endeavors. The president has forcefully denied having any role in his son's work life.

"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," the younger Biden is telling lawmakers in his testimony. "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."

Hunter Biden acknowledged he "squandered" opportunities afforded him during his time in the throes of addiction but that the "shortcomings are my own and not my father's."

He also had sharp words for Republicans, accusing of them of having "hunted me in your partisan political pursuit of my dad" and that his appearance today "should put an end to this baseless and destructive political charade."

PHOTO: Hunter Biden arrives for a closed-door deposition with the House Oversight and Judiciary committees on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, February 28, 2024.
Hunter Biden arrives for a closed-door deposition with the House Oversight and Judiciary committees on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, February 28, 2024.
Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

Republicans are also expected to ask him about the ethical implications of his art career and his relationship with Kevin Morris, his friend, attorney, and patron.

A source familiar with his planned testimony said Hunter Biden will also acknowledge mistakes he made during the years he spent in the throes of drug and alcohol addiction, but that he will forcefully push back on assertions made by the committee and seek to highlight shortcomings in the credibility of some of their key witnesses.

But Hunter Biden might otherwise be limited in what he can tell the committee about any matters related to the two federal criminal indictments he faces, a person familiar with his preparations told ABC News.

Hunter Biden has pleaded not guilty to tax-related charges in California and gun-related crimes in Delaware.

Wednesday's hearing will come after months of public and private wrangling over the nature and extent of Hunter Biden's cooperation with a congressional subpoena, which Oversight Chairman James Comer and Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan first issued in November 2023.

PHOTO: Representative and Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, James Comer speaks to the press before Hunter Biden arrives for a closed-door deposition with  the Oversight and Judiciary committees on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, Feb. 28, 2024.
Representative and Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, James Comer speaks to the press before Hunter Biden arrives for a closed-door deposition with the Oversight and Judiciary committees on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, February 28, 2024.
Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images

Hunter Biden appeared on Capitol Hill not once, but twice, to challenge Republicans to allow him to testify in public. Republicans declined his overtures, arguing that his initial testimony should take place behind closed doors, as they say is done with all other witnesses. Comer at one point threatened to hold him in contempt of Congress.

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Hunter Biden ultimately acquiesced. But a person familiar with the matter said his legal team negotiated conditions for the interview that satisfied their concern that Republicans on the panel would cherry-pick or mischaracterize his testimony.

Notably, the committees agreed to share a transcript of the complete interview to Democrats and Republicans on the committees simultaneously -- and subsequently made public as quickly as possible -- and that his interview would not be videotaped.

The committees have already interviewed scores of witnesses and reviewed thousands of bank records belonging to Hunter Biden and his uncle, James Biden, who last week told lawmakers that the president had no involvement in the family's business dealings.

PHOTO: Representative Jamie Raskin arrives before Hunter Biden in a closed-door deposition with the House Oversight and Judiciary committees on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, February 28, 2024.
Representative Jamie Raskin arrives before Hunter Biden in a closed-door deposition with the House Oversight and Judiciary committees on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, February 28, 2024.
Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

At least nine other key witnesses interviewed as part of the impeachment probe have shared similar exculpatory accounts that undercut key tenets of Republicans' accusations against the president.

Republicans are nonetheless expected to press Hunter Biden on his role in allegedly selling the Biden "brand" to score lucrative business deals abroad; his proclivity to invoke his family name in business negotiations; and whether any of the millions of dollars he earned from foreign business entities benefitted his father personally.

Those claims are central to Republicans' accusations against President Biden, even though no concrete evidence has emerged to suggest the president made policy decisions based on his son's business dealings when he was vice president or at other times or accepted any payments through family members.

Even so, some witnesses have testified that Joe Biden had a more active role in his son's work than he or the White House have otherwise acknowledged, even if those interactions did not amount to direct financial involvement.

Devon Archer, a former business associate of Hunter and James Biden, said Joe Biden attended at least two dinners with their foreign business partners, although "nothing of material was discussed."

Archer, who sat with Hunter Biden on the board of Burisma, the Ukrainian energy firm, also testified that Hunter Biden would often put his father on speakerphone while in the presence of business associates, but said those discussions were often about the weather and other benign subjects.

Notably, Archer said he was not aware of any wrongdoing by Joe Biden.

PHOTO: World Food Program USA Board Chairman Hunter Biden and Vice President Joe Biden attend the World Food Program USA's Annual McGovern-Dole Leadership Award Ceremony at Organization of American States, April 12, 2016, in Washington, D.C.
World Food Program USA Board Chairman Hunter Biden and Vice President Joe Biden attend the World Food Program USA's Annual McGovern-Dole Leadership Award Ceremony at Organization of American States, April 12, 2016, in Washington, D.C.
Teresa Kroeger/Getty Images

For his part, Hunter Biden has acknowledged at least one instance in which he and his father discussed his business activities. In an interview with the New Yorker in 2019, Hunter Biden recalled a conversation they had about his appointment to the board of directors of Burisma: "Dad said, 'I hope you know what you are doing,' and I said, 'I do,'" Hunter Biden recalled.

In a statement Tuesday, Comer said the Republican probe will continue -- despite Wednesday's outcome.

"Our committees have the opportunity to depose Hunter Biden, a key witness in our impeachment inquiry of President Joe Biden, about this record of evidence," he said. "This deposition is not the conclusion of the impeachment inquiry. There are more subpoenas and witness interviews to come. We will continue to follow the facts to inform legislative reforms to federal ethics laws and determine whether articles of impeachment are warranted."

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