WASHINGTON (AP) — Hunter Biden offered to testify publicly before Congress on Tuesday, prompting an offhand comment in response. A summons from the Republicans And setting up a potentially high-stakes faceoff despite a separate special counsel investigation unfolding and her father, President Joe Biden, campaigning for re-election.
The Democratic president's son criticized the request for a subpoena to testify behind closed doors, saying it could be manipulated. But the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Representative James Comer of Kentucky, stood firm, saying Republicans expect "full cooperation" with their original demand for testimony.
Hunter Biden's lawyer called the inquiry a "fishing expedition," a response consistent with the more forceful legal approach adopted by congressional Republicans in recent months. an impeachment inquiry Trying to connect his father with his business dealings.
Republicans have so far failed to uncover evidence directly implicating President Biden in any wrongdoing. But questions have arisen about the ethics surrounding the Biden family's international business, and lawmakers say their testimony would paint a disturbing picture of "spill influence" in their business dealings, particularly with foreign clients. Are.
Comer said Tuesday that the president's son may testify publicly in the future, but he expects he will sit down to testify on Dec. 13, as outlined in the subpoena.
“Hunter Biden is trying to play by his own rules instead of following the rules required of everyone else. It will not stand with House Republicans,” he said. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Representative Jim Jordan also pushed for a testimony date followed by a public hearing — a timetable that would move any hearings closer to the 2024 election and raise the political stakes for President Biden.
Hunter Biden, for his part, said his business dealings are legitimate and accused Republicans of trying to whitewash his past struggles with addiction. His attorney, Abbey Lovell, said in Tuesday's letter that her client had previously offered to speak to the committee without receiving a response. Lovell said he was willing to appear publicly rather than behind closed doors because those sessions could be selectively leaked and used to manipulate facts.
"If, as you claim, your efforts are important and involve issues Americans should know about, then shed light on these proceedings," Lovell wrote.
Hunter Biden offered to appear on December 13, the date specified in the subpoena, or on another day next month. His uncle James Biden as well as former business associate Rob Walker have also been subpoenaed. The subpoena has been strongly opposed by the Democrats and the White House. Called for withdrawal of "irresponsible" summons,
Hunter Biden's response comes as he pushes back against his opponents in court, launching a flurry of lawsuits against Republican associates of former President Donald Trump who traded and transferred private data from a laptop, Which allegedly belonged to him.
For his part, President Biden has little to say about his son's legal problems, except to say that Hunter did nothing wrong and that he loves his son. White House strategy The elder Biden has generally been focused on governing and keeping voters focused on his policy accomplishments.
This may prove more difficult as Hunter Biden continues to fight both a congressional investigation and a criminal case over the next year, and there are signs this is politically risky territory for the president.
1 October referendum A poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that 35% of American adults believe Joe Biden has personally done something illegal regarding his son's business dealings. An additional 33% say the president acted unethically but did not violate the law. Only 30% say Joe Biden did nothing wrong.
Hunter Biden has been charged with three firearms felonies related to a gun purchase in 2018, during which period he has admitted to being a drug addict. The case was filed following an expected plea agreement on tax evasion and gun charges during a July hearing.
No new tax charges have been filed, but the Justice Department special counsel overseeing the long-running investigation has indicated they are possible in California, where he now lives.
Associated Press writer Farnoush Amiri contributed to this report.