House Republicans have subpoenaed Hunter and James Biden, the son and brother of the president — a dramatic escalation of their impeachment inquiry.
Oversight Committee Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) on Wednesday issued the legal demand that the two Bidens appear for closed-door interviews with his panel. Comer also subpoenaed Rob Walker, a Hunter Biden business associate, and requested voluntary interviews with five other people, such as Sara Biden, who is James Biden’s wife, and Hallie Biden, the widow of the president’s late son Beau Biden.
It’s the first time House Republicans have directly tried to compel testimony from members of the Biden family as part of their months-long investigation, which former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) escalated to an impeachment inquiry in September. While Comer has previously held closed-door interviews with Hunter Biden business associates, much of his investigation so far has focused on gathering and analyzing bank records.
Comer is demanding Walker appear behind closed doors with the panel on Nov. 29, James Biden on Dec. 6 and Hunter Biden on Dec. 13, according to copies of the subpoenas. And Comer’s suggested he’s willing to try to hold anyone who doesn’t comply with his summons in contempt.
“The House Oversight Committee has followed the money and built a record of evidence,” Comer said in a statement. “Now, the House Oversight Committee is going to bring in members of the Biden family and their associates to question them on this record of evidence.”
Comer, Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Ways and Means Committee Chair Jason Smith (R-Mo.) are spearheading the impeachment inquiry that is guaranteed to drag into next year, with political risks for both sides as it runs closer to the 2024 election.
While Republicans have uncovered examples of Hunter Biden trying to use his last name to further his business deals — and poked holes in some of Biden and the White House’s previous statements — they’ve struggled to find a smoking gun that would link Joe Biden’s official decisions to his family’s business deals.
Comer has recently pointed to two checks — one for $200,000 and one for $40,000 — from James and Sara Biden to Joe Biden, with Republicans saying both funds have their origins in Chinese companies. Republicans pointed to those checks as proof that Joe Biden benefited financially from his family’s business deals and had knowledge of them. Both checks are from when Joe Biden was out of office.
The White House has repeatedly said that the two checks were loans, with James Biden repaying Joe Biden. Records reviewed by POLITICO show that less than two months before James and Sara Biden made the “loan repayment,” a $200,000 transfer was made from an account that appeared to belong to Joe Biden to James Biden. Similarly, just over a month before James and Sara Biden transferred $40,000, a wire of $40,000 went from an account that appeared to belong to Joe Biden to James and Sara Biden.
The records reviewed by POLITICO were redacted for security reasons, with most of the bank account numbers blacked out. But the last two numbers of the account that belonged to Joe Biden, to which Sara and James Biden gave a total of $240,000, match the last two numbers of the account that initially wired $240,000.
The account, according to records reviewed by POLITICO, is also an attorney trust account based in Wilmington, Del., for a law firm founded by a long-term friend of Joe Biden. Sara and James Biden paid the money back into an account also overseen by the same law firm.
Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin, the top Democrat on the Oversight Committee, accused Comer of employing “impressive acrobatic efforts to conceal evidence” in order to support false claims about Joe Biden.
“Most recently, Chairman Comer buried key facts to invent a ridiculous narrative about two simple transactions: short-term loans between two brothers, neither of whom held public office, which were promptly repaid,” Raskin said.
Still, Comer argued Wednesday that the committee did not have records in its possession showing that Joe Biden had loaned $240,000 to his brother James Biden. The Kentuckian said the wire transfers are not evidence that the initial money came from Joe Biden, or that they were loans, and accused Democrats and the White House of manipulating data. And he’s pressed the White House to show formal paperwork of the initial loan from Joe Biden.
“That doesn’t say shit. There are a lot of wires from that law firm,” Comer told a small group of reporters. “You don’t know that they are loans. You don’t know that they came from Joe Biden.”