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Hunter Biden accepts congressional subpoena to testify behind closed doors

At the request of the Republicans, the son of the U.S. president will attend a disposition on February 28 to discuss his foreign business dealings

Hunter Biden
Hunter Biden, son of the president of the United States, Joe Biden, in a surprise appearance in Congress on January 10.KEVIN LAMARQUE (REUTERS)
Miguel Jiménez

Hunter Biden has an appointment at the Capitol on February 28. Joe Biden’s son has finally agreed to testify behind closed doors following a new request from a House of Representatives committee that has opened an investigation to try to find evidence to impeach the president. With the agreement to testify, Hunter Biden has avoided being charged with contempt.

The president’s son had until now volunteered to testify publicly. He argued that he feared Republicans would manipulate and distort his statement if the public could not witness it. He took advantage of the fact that the Republican chairman of the House Oversight Committee, James Comer, had said publicly that Hunter Biden could choose whether he preferred a closed-door deposition or a public appearance.

When push came to shove, Republicans did not want the disposition to be public and Hunter Biden refused to testify behind closed doors. He had another trump card in his pocket: the subpoena had been issued as part of an investigation that had not been approved by the full House of Representatives, and there were doubts about whether it was legally binding.

Still, the committee decided to charge Hunter Biden with contempt. The president’s son made a surprise appearance at the committee’s contempt hearing on January 10. The Democrats offered to have him testify, but the Republicans again refused. Now it was the House that had to rule on whether Hunter Biden had been in contempt and, if applicable, send a complaint to the Department of Justice. But before tempers boiled over, Hunter Biden said he was willing to accept a new subpoena now that the impeachment inquiry has the support of the House.

“The president’s son is a key witness in this investigation and he’s going to be able to come in now and sit down and answer questions in a substantive, orderly manner,” Comer told reporters, according to AP. He added that Hunter Biden will be able to testify publicly sometime after his deposition.

Republicans are trying, so far without success, to find evidence that Joe Biden profited from his son’s foreign business dealings while he was vice-president. Curiously, while they fiercely investigate whether any money from foreign governments reached Joe Biden’s hands, they argue that Donald Trump’s businesses had the right to receive millions of dollars from overseas administrations and public companies when he was president.

Last November, the day he was summoned for the first time, Hunter Biden gave a speech at the doors of the Capitol: “For six years, MAGA Republicans including members of the House committees who are in a closed-door session right now, have impugned my character, invaded my privacy, attacked my wife, my children, my family and my friends. They ridiculed my struggle with addiction, they belittled my recovery and they have tried to dehumanize me all to embarrass and damage my father, who has devoted his entire public life to service,” he said. “For six years, I have been the target of the unrelenting Trump attack machine, shouting ‘Where’s Hunter?’ Well, here’s my answer — I am here,” he said.

“Let me state as clearly as I can. My father was not financially involved in my business, not as a practicing lawyer, not as a board member of Burisma [a Ukrainian energy company], not in my partnership with a Chinese private businessman, not in my investments at home nor abroad, and certainly not as an artist,” he continued, adding that his family had helped him through his addiction.

In addition to the congressional subpoena, Hunter Biden is accused of 12 crimes in two indictments: three in Wilmington (Delaware) for buying and possessing a gun while he was a drug addict; and nine in Los Angeles (California) for alleged tax fraud. For years, Hunter Biden’s problems with addiction have made him a target of the Republicans.

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