Hunter Biden’s legal team demanded that he be allowed to testify publicly in response to a House GOP subpoena. James Comer quickly shot it down.
A Biden lawyer sent a letter to the House Oversight Chair Tuesday morning, saying the president’s son would appear publicly before the committee on Dec. 13 That ran counter to a stipulation of the subpoena, which called for a private deposition with lawmakers and aides.
“A public proceeding would prevent selective leaks, manipulated transcripts, doctored exhibits, or one-sided press statements,” Abbe Lowell, Hunter Biden’s attorney, wrote in the letter. He added that they were also amenable to any other date next month the two sides could agree on.
Comer denied the request in a statement Tuesday, saying it “won’t stand with House Republicans.”
“Our lawfully issued subpoena to Hunter Biden requires him to appear for a deposition on December 13,” Comer continued. “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.”
Typically, House panels insist on a private deposition before allowing a public appearance. The Jan. 6 select committee denied several requests to testify publicly, including one from Rudy Giuliani.
The demand from Biden’s lawyers to testify publicly marks the latest salvo in an increasingly public back-and-forth between the president’s son and House Republicans, who view him as their top witness in a sprawling impeachment investigation focused on President Joe Biden. It has primarily focused on the business deals of Hunter Biden and other family members.
Lowell had initially indicated, in the immediate wake of Comer’s subpoena last month, that Hunter Biden was willing to speak with the committee “in a public forum and at the right time.”
The president’s son is just one of several targets of House GOP impeachment inquiry subpoenas or interview requests made in the last month. Comer also subpoenaed James Biden, Joe Biden’s brother, to appear for a deposition next month and Rob Walker, a Hunter Biden business associate, to appear for a deposition on Wednesday. Several other Biden family members received requests to voluntarily appear before the panel for questioning.
House Republicans are months deep into their multi-pronged investigation, with Republicans looking to make a decision early next year on whether or not to pursue impeachment articles against Joe Biden.
And while Republicans have found examples of Hunter Biden involving his father to try to boost his own profile and poked holes in some of Joe Biden’s and the White House’s previous statements, they’ve struggled to find a direct link that shows Joe Biden took official actions as president or vice president to benefit his family’s business deals.
At the same time, impeachment advocates are still facing skepticism from a coalition of centrists and old-school conservatives who support the investigations but don’t believe they’ve met the bar for impeachment, at least not yet. Given that no House Democrats are likely to back impeaching Biden, Republicans will need almost near unity in their conference.
In addition to Biden family business deals, Republicans are probing other avenues, including the years-long federal investigation into Hunter Biden and Joe Biden’s handling of classified documents, which is also the subject of a special counsel investigation.
Kyle Cheney contributed to this report.