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After months-long battle with GOP, Hunter Biden appears for impeachment testimony

Hunter Biden appeared for a closed-door deposition in the GOP impeachment inquiry into his father, President Joe Biden.
J. Scott Applewhite
/
AP
Hunter Biden appeared for a closed-door deposition in the GOP impeachment inquiry into his father, President Joe Biden.

After months of contentious battles with House Republicans, Hunter Biden appeared Wednesday for a deposition in the GOP impeachment inquiry into his father, President Joe Biden. The younger Biden has been a central target in the GOP-led investigation of the president and his family.

Hunter Biden arrived on Capitol Hill with his legal team shortly before his 10 a.m. deposition was set to begin. He made no remarks to a crowd of reporters gathered at the O'Neil House Office Building where several members of the House Judiciary and Oversight committees awaited his testimony.

In a copy of his opening statement obtained by NPR, the younger Biden reiterated his long-standing statement that his father played no role in his business dealings.

"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," Hunter Biden's statement read. "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."

His remarks echo those made by the president's brother, James Biden, during his closed-door testimony to the same panels last week. James Biden spoke with the committee for more than eight hours. The process for Hunter could be similarly lengthy.

The culmination of a months-long fight over testimony

Hunter Biden's appearance fulfills a long-running effort by House Republicans to force the president's son to testify. Republicans accuse President Biden of being involved in allegedly corrupt business dealings by members of his family, chief among them, his son.

But months into their impeachment probe, Republicans still have been unable to turn up any concrete evidence of wrongdoing by the president.

Last month, the Republican-led House chamber moved to hold Hunter Biden in contempt for his failure to appear for a subpoena issued in November. Just days before that vote, Hunter Biden's legal team began new talks for his testimony following appearances at the U.S. Capitol where he told reporters he disputed GOP demands to testify privately.

Republicans, led by former President Trump, have zeroed in on Hunter Biden's overseas business dealings for years. Republicans are expected to focus their questioning on a multi-million dollar deal Hunter Biden struck with a Chinese energy company, his work with a Ukrainian energy firm, Burisma and other foreign business dealings.

The testimony is part of a high-stakes effort by House GOP leaders to convince skeptics within their own party to fully back a vote to impeach President Biden. Republicans would need to be near-unanimous in order to approve articles of impeachment in the narrowly GOP-controlled House.

Hunter Biden's has publicly discussed his business dealings and struggles with addiction

Hunter' Biden has spoken publicly about many of his business dealings and struggles with addiction and is expected to acknowledge many mistakes he made along the way as part of his testimony.

"To be clear, I have made mistakes in my life, and I have squandered opportunities and privileges that were afforded to me," Biden said in his opening statement. "I know that. I am responsible for that. And I am making amends for that."

"During my battle with addiction, my father was there for me. He helped save my life. What he got in return for being a loving and supportive parent is a barrage of hate-filled conspiracy theories that hatched this sham impeachment inquiry and continue to fuel unrelenting personal attacks against him and me," he added.

Hunter Biden is also expected to accuse Republicans of using him as part of a political attack against his father and push back against the impeachment probe of his father, which was launched after the GOP took House control last year.

"For more than a year, your Committees have hunted me in your partisan political pursuit of my dad," his opening statement read. "You have trafficked in innuendo, distortion, and sensationalism — all the while ignoring the clear and convincing evidence staring you in the face. You do not have evidence to support the baseless and MAGA-motivated conspiracies about my father because there isn't any."

The younger Biden is also expected to highlight the "partisan house of cards on lies" told by other witnesses. This includes the case of recent criminal charges against Alexander Smirnov, former FBI informant who's allegedly fabricated claims of a Biden bribery scheme were central to the impeachment probe.

The testimony was not expected to be videotaped, and the transcript is expected to be released as soon as possible.

"My testimony today should put an end to this baseless and destructive political charade," Hunter Biden was set to say in his closing opening remarks. "You have wasted valuable time and resources attacking me and my family for your own political gain when you should be fixing the real problems in this country that desperately need your attention."

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Claudia Grisales
Claudia Grisales is a congressional correspondent assigned to NPR's Washington Desk.
Ryan Lucas
Ryan Lucas covers the Justice Department for NPR.