Impeachment Effort Faces Roadblocks as Hunter and James Biden, Aided by White House, Suggest They Will Resist Subpoenas
Congressman James Comer says he prefers closed door depositions for his interviews with Hunter Biden and his uncle James, conducted by staff lawyers. Biden fils’ attorney wants a public hearing.
House Republicans’ push to impeach President Biden, already delayed by the fracas over the speakership, is at risk of hitting significant roadblocks in the coming weeks as witnesses, including Hunter Biden and the president’s brother, James, are publicly bashing the subpoenas and refusing to comment on whether they will appear for closed-door depositions in December. This could set up legal fights that may delay the impeachment process even further.
Furthermore, the White House “now seeks to block the Bidens, their associates, and current and former White House staff from testifying before Congress,” according to the Oversight Committee chairman, Congressman James Comer.
Following the Oversight Committee’s issuing of subpoenas to the first son, the president’s brother, and others, lawyers for the potential witnesses began to hit back at Mr. Comer and his GOP colleagues. Hunter Biden’s attorney, Abbe Lowell, strongly suggested that his client will fight the subpoena, which demands that he sit for an hours-long, closed-door deposition with committee members and staff lawyers.
“This is yet another political stunt aimed at distracting from the glaring failure of Rep. Comer and his MAGA allies to prove a single one of their wild and now discredited conspiracies about the Biden family,” Mr. Lowell said. “Nevertheless, Hunter is eager to have the opportunity, in a public forum and at the right time, to discuss these matters with the Committee.”
Mr. Comer previously told the Sun that he does not like having the initial interview with a witness in a public hearing. During these events, the questioning ping-pongs between Democratic and Republican members, who are only given five minutes to speak with witnesses, and use of much of their time with meandering statements and grandstanding.
The January 6 committee, by contrast, conducted most of its interviews in closed-door depositions that were recorded, then edited skillfully by a team of ex-ABC News producers into a video narrative that achieved dramatic effect.
“It’s easier in a serious issue like this to do it like the January 6 committee and just do it all in depositions because if you’ve got four hours with someone” who will face legal experts asking focused questions behind closed doors, it is more efficient, Mr. Comer told the Sun.
An attorney for the president’s brother, Paul Fishman, hinted in a statement that he could fight the subpoena if he so chose. “There is no justification for this subpoena,” Mr. Fishman said in a statement. “After a long, desperate search for any financial transaction between Jim Biden and his brother, including an unnecessary and intrusive review of Jim’s private banking records, the Committee has resorted to criticizing two loans that Jim received when his brother was no longer in public office and not even a candidate for the Presidency.”
“There is nothing more to those transactions, and there is nothing wrong with them,” Mr. Fishman continued. “And Jim Biden has never involved his brother in his business dealings.”
Republicans have described these transactions, between James Biden, his wife Sara Jones Biden, and the president, as evidence the future president was receiving “laundered” payments drawn from the proceeds of James and Hunter Biden’s business affairs, which leveraged the Biden name to get money from foreign entities.
Mr. Comer has also sent letters to a number of women in the greater Biden family, asking them to sit for voluntary interviews — requests that are likely to be ignored, just as the first son and the president’s brother did when they were invited for interviews earlier this year. Those individuals include Beau Biden’s widow and later Hunter Biden’s girlfriend, Hallie Biden, her sister, Elizabeth Secundy, and James Biden’s wife. The first son’s second (and current) wife, Melissa Cohen Biden, has also been asked to appear.
On Wednesday, the Oversight, Judiciary, and Ways and Means committees called on a friend of the younger Mr. Biden’s — lawyer Kevin Morris — to sit before the committees for a transcribed interview. Mr. Morris was not subpoenaed, so it is possible he will follow the path of other Bidenworld figures in simply not responding.
Mr. Morris — a multimillionaire entertainment lawyer who received windfalls from a TV show, “South Park,” and a Broadway musical, “The Book of Mormon” — in recent years “reportedly has lent millions of dollars to Hunter Biden to help him pay back taxes,” according to the Oversight Committee.
Another problem for Mr. Comer and his fellow impeachment-hungry Republicans is that the White House has declined to cooperate with the investigation, claiming that the probe is illegitimate because the House failed to take a full vote to authorize it.
In a letter sent to the chairman, the president’s special counsel, Richard Sauber, said Mr. Biden would not turn over any documents related to his bank records, his retention of classified documents, or any other subject related to a possible impeachment.
“This pattern of distortions and falsehoods lays bare that no amount of truthful testimony or document productions will satisfy you and exposes the improper nature of your Committee’s efforts,” Mr. Sauber wrote. “Congressional harassment of the President to score political points is precisely the type of conduct that the Constitution and its separation of powers was meant to prevent.”
Mr. Sauber also accused Republicans of “improperly weaponizing the oversight powers of Congress.”