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Hunter Biden addresses ‘Big Guy’ conspiracy and addiction as he testifies on Capitol Hill

‘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,’ Hunter Biden says of father

Gustaf Kilander,Andrew Feinberg
Wednesday 28 February 2024 23:19 GMT
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James Comer gets into testy exchange with reporter about lack of evidence in Biden probe

Hunter Biden testified for more than six hours behind closed doors on Wednesday in the Republican impeachment probe into his father, President Joe Biden, saying in his opening statement that “I did not involve my father in my business” and that the House GOP has “built your entire partisan house of cards on lies”.

Speaking to the press on Wednesday afternoon, Hunter Biden’s attorney, Abbe Lowell said: “After seven hours of questions, the Republican majority ends the day where they started. They have produced no evidence that would do anything to support the notion that there was any financial transactions that involved Hunter with his father – period.”

“It seems to me that the Republican members wanted to spend more time speaking about my client’s addiction than they could ask any question that had anything to do with what they call their impeachment inquiry,” he added.

For months, Hunter Biden, who did not address the press on Wednesday, said he would only testify in public in the probe, to avoid Republicans taking his words out of context in the way they then present it to the public.

House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer said on Wednesday that he intends to hold a public hearing with Mr Biden in the “next phase” of the probe, according to CNN.

The president’s son only agreed to the closed session after his attorneys negotiated several conditions that Republicans accepted.

While other witnesses, including Biden family members, have been filmed during their depositions, Hunter Biden was not. A transcript, with sensitive information redacted, will also be released to counteract any selective leaks.

“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,” Mr Biden said in his opening statement. “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.”

Hunter Biden arrives with attorney Abbe Lowell at the O’Neill House Office Building for a closed-door deposition (AFP via Getty Images)

“For more than a year, your Committees have hunted me in your partisan political pursuit of my dad,” he added. “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.”

A source with direct knowledge of Mr Biden’s deposition described the remarks of the president’s son in further detail in a statement to The Independent later on Wednesday afternoon.

“As Hunter Biden first made clear in his opening statement and emphasized throughout the deposition, Joe Biden was not involved in, did not benefit from, and took no official actions to benefit any of his business ventures,” that source said.

They continued: “With regard to James Gilliar’s 2017 ‘10 held by H for the big guy?’ email, Hunter explained that Gilliar was out of his mind for even suggesting Joe Biden get involved in their joint venture.”

“Hunter discussed his addiction at length,” the source added. “Hunter admitted that he was high or drunk when he sent the ‘sitting here with my father’ WhatsApp message, sent it to the wrong recipient, and is now embarrassed by the message. He confirmed that his dad was not sitting next to him.”

Democrats were quick to slam the proceedings. California Rep Eric Swalwell said Republicans are “so desperate to humiliate the president, but they started asking the president’s son personal details about a divorce that happened almost ten years ago. They’re doing all this when we are days away from the government shutting down”.

Fellow Golden State Rep Robert Garcia told MSNBC: “We’ve been in the deposition now for about an hour, and one thing is crystal clear – the Republicans have zero evidence linking Hunter Biden to any sort of business dealings with the president.”

The president’s son has faced increased attacks from congressional Republicans ever since the party took the House majority in January 2023, after narrowly winning the 2022 midterms.

He has now appeared before the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees – helmed by Rep Jim Jordan of Ohio and Mr Comer of Kentucky respectively.

Hunter Biden’s interview was the most vital moment for the troubled probe so far as Republicans have failed to turn up any evidence that the president acted corruptly.

Even some House Republicans don’t believe the impeachment inquiry is the right thing to prioritise right now.

The probe has put much of its focus on Mr Biden’s foreign business dealings, attempting to find connections to the president via meetings where he allegedly met his son’s business associates – several of whom have testified that the president wasn’t involved in any of his family’s foreign business dealings.

The Independent reported this week that a convicted felon and notorious fraudster interviewed by House investigators as part of the probe became the latest in a growing string of witnesses to pour cold water on the claims of corruption.

Last week, the probe shifted its focus from Washington to Federal Prison Camp Montgomery in Alabama, where House investigators travelled to interview Jason Galanis, known there as Inmate 80739-198.

There, as The Independent previously reported, they sought to question him about business activities he had participated in with fellow convicted criminal Devon Archer – a former business partner of the president’s son.

A source familiar with the outcome of the transcribed interview told The Independent that the jailhouse interview turned up nothing in the way of incriminating evidence or testimony linking the president to his son’s activities.

James Biden, the younger brother of the president, also spent more than eight hours giving testimony on Capitol Hill last week.

He said in his opening statement that those who argued that he used his connection to his brother to boost his business ventures are “either mistaken, ill-informed, or flat-out lying”.

“In every business venture in which I have been involved, I have relied on my own talent, judgment, skill, and personal relationships – and never my status as Joe Biden’s brother,” he said in the statement on Wednesday last week.

“I have nothing to hide. With my appearance here today, the Committees will have the information to conclude that the negative and destructive assumptions about me and my relationship with my brother Joe are wrong,” the 74-year-old added. “There is no basis for this inquiry to continue.”

Hunter Biden said in his opening statement that “rather than follow the facts as they have been laid out before you in bank records, financial statements, correspondence, and other witness testimony, you continue your frantic search to prove the lies you, and those you rely on, keep peddling”.

The flailing impeachment inquiry has also been hit with a sizable setback in recent days after former FBI informant Alexander Smirnov was charged with making up false claims that executives at the Ukrainian energy company Burisma paid $5m each in bribes to Mr Biden and the president.

Mr Smirnov, a dual US and Israeli citizen, appeared in federal court in Los Angeles on Monday after being transported to California from Las Vegas, Nevada.

A judge ordered him to remain in jail until his trial.

“There is nothing garden variety about this case,” Judge Otis Wright said on Monday, the AP reported. “I have not changed my mind. The man will be remanded pending trial.”

His court hearing comes after he was arrested twice within a week, being detained by US Marshals on Thursday morning at his lawyer’s office in Las Vegas.

The hearing was called to determine if prosecutors were correct in arresting him just two days after he was released on an order from a magistrate judge, who required Mr Smirnov to hand over his passports and wear a monitoring device.

On Wednesday, Mr Biden said in his opening statement that Mr Smirnov has made the House Republicans leading the probe “dupes in carrying out a Russian disinformation campaign waged against my father”.

Hunter Biden faces nine tax charges in California for not paying almost $1.4m in federal taxes between 2016 and 2019 when he was struggling with addiction to alcohol and crack cocaine. He has also been indicted on three gun charges in Delaware after he allegedly lied about being a drug user on a form to buy a firearm that he had for 11 days in 2018, CBS News noted.

He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

New York Democratic Rep Dan Goldman said outside the hearing room during the deposition on Wednesday that “that first hour of this much-anticipated testimony was the nail in the coffin to what is a complete bogus and sham impeachment inquiry”.

Fellow New York Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said: “After it has been exposed one of their most key pieces of information was based on a source that was in communication with Russian intelligence, they are now trying to scramble to find anything to substantiate their fairy tales.”

Meanwhile, Hunter Biden recently spoke out about his sobriety and why it’s key to stopping Donald Trump from returning to the White House.

The president has said in private that Republicans’ attacks on his son, as well as the criminal charges against Hunter Biden, are putting a strain on his family and could prompt his son to relapse, noting his family struggles with addiction, Axios reported.

Hunter Biden told the outlet that he views his sobriety as important in his private life and in keeping Mr Trump from winning the 2024 election.

“Most importantly, you have to believe that you’re worth the work, or you’ll never be able to get sober. But I often do think of the profound consequences of failure here,” Mr Biden told the outlet.

“Maybe it’s the ultimate test for a recovering addict, I don’t know,” he said. “I have always been in awe of people who have stayed clean and sober through tragedies and obstacles few people ever face. They are my heroes, my inspiration.

“I have something much bigger than even myself at stake. We are in the middle of a fight for the future of democracy.”

On Wednesday, Mr Biden said in his statement: “During my battle with addiction, my father was there for me. He helped save my life. His love and support made it possible for me to get sober, stay sober and rebuild my life as a father, husband, son, and brother.”

“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.

In conclusion, he said: “My testimony today should put an end to this baseless and destructive political charade. 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.”

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