Hunter Biden associate described ‘illusion of access’ to Joe, Democratic lawmaker says

Hunter Biden associate described ‘illusion of access’ to Joe, Democratic lawmaker says

Hunter Biden associate described ‘illusion of access’ to Joe, Democratic lawmaker says By Reuters

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Published Jul 31, 2023 11:57AM ET
Updated Jul 31, 2023 04:46PM ET

(C) Reuters. Devon Archer, a former Hunter Biden business associate, arrives for a deposition before the House Oversight and Accountability Committee at the O’Neill House Office Building in Washington, U.S., July 31, 2023. REUTERS/Kevin Wurm

By David Morgan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -A witness in a Republican-led congressional probe said on Monday that Hunter Biden sought to create an “illusion of access” to his father Joe Biden while doing business in Ukraine but that the then-vice president played no role in any deals, according to a Democratic lawmaker.

Former Hunter Biden associate Devon Archer appeared for a closed-door interview led by staff from the U.S. House of Representatives Oversight Committee, which Republican lawmakers hoped would shed light on unproven allegations that Biden was directly involved in his son’s business dealings in Ukraine.

Democratic Representative Dan Goldman, who attended the interview, told reporters Archer provided no evidence of wrongdoing by the elder Biden.

The interview focused on the 2010s, when Hunter Biden sat on the board of the Ukraine energy company Burisma and his father was vice president under President Barack Obama.

“He had to give the illusion of access to his father and he tried to get credit for things that Mr. Archer testified Hunter had nothing to do with,” Goldman said.

Republicans allege that the elder Biden played a conscious role in his son’s business dealings and profited from transactions. The White House has said Joe Biden was never in business with his son.

“The witness stated unequivocally that there is no evidence in his possession or his knowledge that Joe Biden ever discussed business with Hunter Biden, Joe Biden ever did anything on behalf of Hunter Biden’s business interests,” Goldman said.

But Republican Representative Andy Biggs, who has co-sponsored legislation to impeach Biden, said Archer’s testimony implicated the president and quoted the witness as saying Burisma could not have survived without the “Biden brand.”

“Archer talked about the ‘big guy’ and how Hunter Biden always said, ‘We need to talk to my guy,'” Biggs told reporters. “I think we should do an impeachment inquiry.”

Committee chairman James Comer said: “Joe Biden was ‘the brand’ that his son sold around the world to enrich the Biden family.”

Goldman, the Democratic representative, said the then-vice president’s interaction with his son’s business associates was just “casual,” however. Archer told investigators that Hunter Biden spoke with his father daily while serving on the Burisma board and had the elder Biden talk to his associates and others by speaker phone about 20 times over 10 years.

“It was all casual conversation, niceties about the weather, what’s going on. There wasn’t a single conversation about any of the business dealings that Hunter had,” the New York Democrat said.

Burisma played a central role in Trump’s 2019 impeachment over his alleged efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens and help him win re-election. A Republican-majority Senate later acquitted Trump.

The House investigation has intensified since Trump’s federal indictment in June.

Claims of Biden wrongdoing in Ukraine have been contradicted by former Trump insider Lev Parnas, who helped one-time Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani try to dig up damaging information about the Bidens in Ukraine.

The House Oversight Committee has heard testimony from two Internal Revenue Service whistleblowers who say their investigation of Hunter Biden was stymied by the U.S. Justice Department, though the Trump-appointed prosecutor in that case has denied that his work was interfered with.

Biden’s son appeared in court last week amid expectations that he would plead guilty to two tax charges and avoid a gun charge. But the judge in the case said she could not accept the plea agreement with prosecutors. House Republicans launched a probe into the plea deal on Monday.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has warned that Republicans could begin an impeachment inquiry against President Biden if the federal agencies fail to cooperate with oversight committees looking into his administration and family’s business dealings.

Trump, the leading 2024 Republican presidential candidate, went a step further this weekend at a rally in Pennsylvania.

He called on Republicans to withhold military aid to Ukraine until the Justice Department, FBI and IRS “hand over every scrap of evidence they have on the Biden crime family’s corrupt business dealings.”

Hunter Biden associate described ‘illusion of access’ to Joe, Democratic lawmaker says

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