Hunter Biden’s lawyers told the House Oversight Committee that the president’s son is willing to testify on Dec. 13 in its investigation into his actions, but only if he can do so publicly, according to a letter the legal team of Hunter Biden sent to the committee that CNN obtained.
“We have seen them use closed-door sessions to manipulate, even distort facts and misinform the public. That is why we propose to open the door. If, as you claim, your efforts are important and involve issues that Americans should know about, then let the light shine on these proceedings,” Hunter Biden’s lawyers wrote in the letter.
An offer to testify at a public hearing does not guarantee that this will happen. Federal courts have upheld the authority of House committees to subpoena private individuals and entities. House Republicans might find it difficult to turn down the opportunity to question Hunter Biden in front of a national audience, but it would be a departure from the way they have handled their oversight investigations.
House Oversight Chairman James Comer rejected the idea that a public hearing should replace his scheduled deposition, but agreed that the president’s son should have the opportunity to testify publicly at some point.
“Hunter Biden is trying to follow his own rules instead of following the rules that are required of everyone else. That won’t be to the liking of House Republicans. Our lawfully issued subpoena to Hunter Biden requires him to appear for a deposition on December 13,” Comer said in a statement to CNN. “We expect full cooperation with our subpoena for a deposition, but we also agree that Hunter Biden should be given the opportunity to testify in a public place at a future date.”
House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan, who also issued a subpoena to Hunter Biden, said on later at a public hearing. ”
Earlier this month, the Republican-led House Oversight Committee subpoenaed Hunter and James Biden, President Joe Biden’s son and brother, setting up a long-awaited showdown as House Republicans Representatives continue to investigate whether the president committed an impeachable crime in connection with his family’s foreign policy. business deals: a very high bar that they have yet to meet.
As the back-and-forth between Hunter Biden’s lawyers and House Republicans unfolds, the president’s brother appears to be interacting with the panel about his subpoena.
“We have been in contact with Oversight Committee staff about their requests,” James Biden’s lawyer, Paul J. Fishman, said in a statement to CNN.
The subpoenas were the first time the panel directly subpoenaed members of the Biden family and came as House Republicans on the House Oversight and Judiciary committees are focusing on a slate of high-profile interviews that they want to carry out before concluding their impeachment investigation into the president.
The top Democrat on the Oversight panel, Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, criticized his Republican colleagues for insisting that Hunter Biden appear for testimony before a public hearing.
“What an epic humiliation for our colleagues and what a frank confession that they simply are not interested in the facts and have no confidence in their own case or the ability of their own members to move forward,” Raskin said in a statement to CNN. “President Comer’s insistence that Hunter Biden’s interview should be conducted behind closed doors proves this once again. “What Republicans fear most is sunlight and the truth.”
The Oversight Committee also subpoenaed an assistant U.S. attorney working on Hunter Biden’s criminal case after Internal Revenue Service whistleblowers alleged political interference in the case. A senior IRS official along with the special prosecutor investigating Hunter, David Weiss, have disputed the whistleblowers’ claims in testimony before Congress.
Hunter Biden’s attorney, Abbe Lowell, has vehemently criticized the Republican-led investigation into Hunter, calling it a “political stunt” rife with “debunked conspiracies about the Biden family.” The letter He criticized House Republicans’ impeachment inquiry, which revolves around ties between the president and Hunter Biden’s businesses.
Republicans’ accusations of “corruption” of the Bidens are still uncorroborated and have essentially failed in their efforts to connect Joe Biden to money his son earned in China and elsewhere.
“Here we are, eleven months into his alleged investigation, and every objective review of his ‘revelations,’ even by some of his colleagues, has declared that his exploration has turned up nothing but dry holes,” Hunter Biden’s lawyers wrote.
“Your committee has been working for almost a year, without success, to link our client’s business activities to his father,” Lowell wrote in his letter Tuesday in response to the subpoena, adding that, instead of Hunter, the committee should investigate the former president. Donald Trump and his family business.
Comer, the Republican who issued the subpoena, previously said Hunter Biden’s testimony was necessary to determine the extent to which “Joe Biden knew about, was involved in, and benefited from his family’s influence-peddling schemes.”
This story has been updated with additional information.
CNN’s Paula Reid, Zachary Cohen, Holmes Lybrand and Marshall Cohen contributed to this report.