WASHINGTON, D.C. — House Republicans demanded Friday that Hunter Biden appear this month for a closed-door deposition, rejecting his offer to testify publicly while pledging to release a transcript of the private interview for transparency.
House Oversight Committee chair James Comer and Judiciary Committee chair Jim Jordan reiterated the parameters of the subpoena issued last month to Hunter Biden in a letter — obtained by The Associated Press — to his attorney. The president’s son had refused their request this week for closed-door testimony, saying it could be manipulated.
“The subpoenas Mr. Biden has received compel him to appear before the Committees for a deposition; they are not mere suggestions open to Mr. Biden’s interpretation or preference,” the Republican chairmen wrote in a letter to attorney Abbe Lowell.
Lowell this week had called the nearly yearslong GOP investigation into his client a “fishing expedition,” but offered for his client to appear publicly rather than behind closed doors, saying closed sessions can be selectively leaked and used to manipulate the facts.
His response to the committee was in line with the more forceful approach Hunter Biden’s legal team has taken in recent months as congressional Republicans pursue an impeachment inquiry seeking to tie his father to his business dealings.
But Comer and Jordan reiterated their initial request, saying they are conforming with the approach Republican and Democratic majorities have historically taken when deposing witnesses.
“Mr. Biden seems to believe that he should be treated differently than other witnesses before the Committees,” the men wrote.
Lowell did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The early-November subpoenas to Hunter Biden and others were the inquiry’s most aggressive steps yet, testing the reach of congressional oversight powers.
Republicans have so far failed to uncover evidence directly implicating President Joe Biden in any wrongdoing. But questions have arisen about the ethics surrounding the Biden family’s international business, and lawmakers insist their evidence paints a troubling picture of “influence peddling” in the family’s business dealings, particularly with clients overseas.
Republicans have also spoken with an attorney for the president’s brother, James Biden, to determine a date for his subpoenaed testimony, Jordan said last week. The subpoenas to the Biden family members and others, including former business associate Rob Walker, are bitterly opposed by Democrats, and the White House has called for them to be withdrawn and questioned their legitimacy.
The criticism has pushed Republicans to consider holding a vote this month to formally authorize their inquiry in an effort to strengthen their legal standing if the subpoena battle drags into court.
But holding a vote on the impeachment investigation would be a risky move by House Republican leaders, who have not yet been able to garner enough support for the inquiry in their narrow 221-213 majority. With Democrats united against the impeachment push, GOP leaders would need near-unanimous support from their side for the vote to succeed.