Hunter Biden derided the House impeachment inquiry as “MAGA-motivated conspiracies about my father” in an opening statement Wednesday during his deposition before congressional investigators. 

By contrast, House Oversight and Accountability Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., said his and two other committees were deposing the president’s son because he is a “key witness in our investigation of President Joe Biden.” 

Comer also called the conduct unearthed so far “Public Corruption 101.”

After the seven-hour deposition wrapped, Hunter Biden’s lawyer Abbe Lowell briefly talked to reporters. 

“The Republican majority ends the day where they started,” Lowell said, as Hunter Biden stood behind him. “They have produced no evidence that would support the notion that there was any financial transaction that involved Hunter with his father, period.”

As they walked away, a reporter shouted, “Mr. Biden, is the cocaine at the White House yours?” referring to cocaine discovered at the White House last summer. Another reporter asked if he would return for a public hearing. Neither Hunter Biden nor Lowell answered.

The younger Biden’s opening statement, obtained by The Associated Press and widely reported by other news outlets, came ahead of questions from staffers with the three House committees investigating President Joe Biden’s role amid evidence of Biden family influence peddling.

Hunter Biden, who has been indicted on tax and gun charges, is a central figure along with presidential brother James Biden in bringing in what the House Oversight and Accountability Committee determined to be about $30 million through 20 separate shell companies. The money, lawmakers say, came to the Biden family from China, Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Romania. 

“For more than a year, your committees have hunted me in your partisan political pursuit of my dad,” the younger Biden said in his opening statement.

The House voted in December to formally authorize an impeachment inquiry to be conducted jointly by three House committees: Oversight, Judiciary, and Ways and Means.

“You have trafficked in innuendo, distortion, and sensationalism — all the while ignoring the clear and convincing evidence staring you in the face,” Hunter Biden told investigators. “You do not have evidence to support the baseless and MAGA-motivated conspiracies about my father, because there isn’t any.”

MAGA is a reference to Donald Trump’s past and current presidential campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.”  The president frequently uses the acronym to brand his opposition as extreme.

Previous congressional depositions have taken hours; weeks or more sometimes pass before a transcript is released. 

The three House committees deposed James Biden last week. Key Biden family business associates also have been deposed, including Devon Archer. 

Several Biden family business associates have told congressional investigators that Joe Biden—while serving for eight years as vice president and during his four years between offices—made personal appearances and called in by speakerphone to various business contacts. Biden himself has contended for years that he had no involvement in family business matters. 

The House’s impeachment investigation was dealt at least a public relations blow earlier this month, when special counsel David Weiss secured a federal grand jury indictment against veteran FBI informant Alexander Smirnov for lying to the FBI when he claimed to have information about a $5 million bribe to Joe Biden in 2016. 

The president and other Democrats pounced, saying the entire impeachment inquiry should be shut down as a result. 

Several committee members from both parties were part of Hunter Biden’s deposition, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., who vented her frustrations to reporters. 

“What we are seeing is just a complete inappropriate expedition into the president’s son for matters and subjects that are completely unrelated to an impeachment investigation, and I think it is disturbing to see the lack of professionalism, the lack of grounding, and the abuse of public resources and abuse of public power,” Ocasio-Cortez said. 

Rep. Jasmine Crockett, D-Texas, also came to the microphones to blast Republicans, saying: “All they want is a spectacle, and the spectacle right now is putting us in a sense of danger.”

Rep. Nancy Mace, R-S.C., said Republicans didn’t plan to speak during the younger Biden’s testimony, but she wanted to rebut what Democrats were saying while the deposition was in progress. 

“So far in the first hour, Hunter Biden is being defiant and also dishonest,” Mace told reporters. “His testimony, some of it, is in direct conflict with other witnesses. So the transcripts will be out. I won’t go into detail, but you’ll see it for yourself. It’s no surprise, it’s no shock, that he is being that way. In some cases, he doesn’t recall.”

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., also briefed reporters. 

“It is a mirage to believe that Hunter Biden was engaged in international business,” Gaetz said. “This was a bribe masquerading as an international business transaction—nothing more, nothing less.”

Hunter Biden was subpoenaed earlier to testify behind closed doors to committee investigators, but showed up on the Senate side of the Capitol only to make a defiant speech outside. 

On a later occasion, before House Oversight was about to approve a contempt citation, the president’s son sat briefly in the hearing room with his lawyers and a benefactor. 

“What was the Biden family business? That’s been a big question of this whole investigation,” Comer told reporters Wednesday morning before going into the hearing room.

“Biden family associates testified that Joe Biden was the brand. President Biden has repeatedly lied to the American people that he never interacted with his son’s associates,” Comer said. “But when Joe Biden was vice president, he spoke to his son’s associates by speakerphone over 20 times. He dined with foreign oligarchs and a Burisma executive, and had coffee with his son’s Chinese associate.”

Burisma Holdings is a major Ukrainian energy company that previously employed and paid Hunter Biden as a board member. 

Comer also talked about Hunter Biden and James Biden’s work with CEFC China Energy, an energy conglomerate linked to the Chinese Communist Party, specifically a $40,000 check that went to Joe Biden. 

“The Bidens received a $3 million payment [from CEFC] as a thank you for work completed while Joe Biden was vice president,” Comer said. He added:  “Joe Biden received a $40,000 check from that transaction. That’s evidence that Joe Biden received $40,000 directly from the Chinese Communist Party-linked entity. This is Public Corruption 101.”

But Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., said the impeachment inquiry “has been a comedy of errors from the beginning.” Comer and other Republicans should “fold up the circus tent,” he said.

“Nobody can state on their side what they think Joe Biden did, even as a private citizen, that would constitute some kind of criminal offense,” Raskin told reporters. 

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