President Biden met with and spoke to his son Hunter’s international business associates on a number of occasions over a decade as Hunter Biden sought to drum up consulting deals, including while his father was vice president, his former business partner told Congress on Monday.
However, in nearly five hours of closed-door testimony to the House Oversight Committee, Devon Archer, the former partner, asserted that the elder Mr. Biden was not party to any of his son’s business deals and that Hunter Biden had tried to sell the illusion that he was providing access to his powerful father when he was not, according to Democrats on the panel.
Mr. Archer’s testimony, which he provided in response to a subpoena, was the latest bit of evidence in an investigation by House Republicans into Hunter Biden’s business dealings and conduct. Republicans have claimed repeatedly — and so far without proof — that the investigations implicate the president in corruption and crimes.
Republicans pointed to the interview as evidence that President Biden had lied when he claimed he had no involvement in his son’s business dealings, and some said that was grounds for impeaching the elder Mr. Biden.
Mr. Archer told lawmakers during the session that Hunter Biden had put his father on speakerphone to talk to his business partners about 20 times over a decade, according to both Republicans and Democrats in the room.
Representative James R. Comer, Republican of Kentucky and chairman of the Oversight Committee, said Mr. Archer had testified that Mr. Biden was put on the phone to sell “the brand.” The phone calls were made during a range of events, including a dinner in Paris with a French energy company and another in China with the executive of an investment fund, Mr. Comer said.
“Devon Archer’s testimony today confirms Joe Biden lied to the American people when he said he had no knowledge about his son’s business dealings and was not involved,” Mr. Comer said in a statement.
But Democrats said that Mr. Archer had described the conversations in which the elder Mr. Biden participated as short and casual — about topics like the weather — and his interactions as little more than stopping by a dinner or a hotel for a brief handshake or a few pleasantries over the phone.
“The witness was very, very consistent that none of those conversations ever had to do with any business dealings or transactions,” said Representative Dan Goldman, Democrat of New York and a member of the Oversight Committee who participated in the interview. “They were purely what he called ‘casual conversation.’”
A transcript of the interview was not immediately released. Congressional transcripts typically undergo a review process before they are finalized.
Representative Jamie Raskin of Maryland, the top Democrat on the panel, said Mr. Archer had testified that Mr. Biden talked to his son frequently after the untimely death of his brother, Beau Biden, in 2015, and that “President Biden was never asked to, nor did he, take any official actions in relation” to Hunter Biden’s business interests.
Mr. Archer also said he had no knowledge about unverified allegations from an anonymous informant that President Biden and Hunter Biden had accepted millions of dollars in bribes, undercutting a claim trumpeted by Republicans.
Still, Mr. Archer’s testimony underscored that Mr. Biden had made false or misleading statements regarding his family members’ finances. During the 2020 presidential debate, Mr. Biden claimed that no one in his family had received money from China, when, in fact, Hunter Biden and his business associates took in millions from a Chinese firm.
In 2019, Mr. Biden also repeatedly said he had “never discussed” and had “never spoken to” Hunter Biden about his business dealings.
Recently, the White House spokeswoman, Karine Jean-Pierre, has begun speaking in less declarative terms about the matter, saying that Mr. Biden “was never in business with his son.”
Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, Republican of Georgia and a member of the committee who is a leading proponent of impeaching Mr. Biden, said the beginning of a formal impeachment inquiry was the logical next step.
“When Congress moved toward impeachment with Richard Nixon, it was because they had proof that Richard Nixon lied,” Ms. Greene said. “When Congress moved toward to impeachment with Bill Clinton, it was because they had proof that Bill Clinton had lied about sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky. Today, with Devon Archer’s testimony, we have proof that Joe Biden has lied.”
Ian Sams, a White House spokesman, said Mr. Archer had testified that he “never heard of President Biden discussing business with his son or his son’s associates or doing anything wrong.”
“House Republicans keep promising bombshell evidence to support their ridiculous attacks against the president, but, time after time, they keep failing to produce any,” Mr. Sams said.
It has long been known that the elder Mr. Biden at times interacted with his son’s business partners.
Mr. Archer, a Yale graduate and former Abercrombie & Fitch model whom Hunter Biden described in his book as a “self-made, super-motivated former college lacrosse player” who had “flown all over the world to raise money for his real estate investment firm,” worked with Hunter Biden on business deals including in China and Ukraine.
Mr. Archer was convicted of federal tax charges in 2018 as part of an unrelated conspiracy to defraud a Native American tribe.
Luke Broadwater covers Congress. He was the lead reporter on a series of investigative articles at The Baltimore Sun that won a Pulitzer Prize and a George Polk Award in 2020. More about Luke Broadwater
Source: Read Full Article