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Hunter Biden Testifies in Impeachment Inquiry, Condemning G.O.P.’s Case

Hunter Biden, the president’s son, blasted House Republicans’ impeachment inquiry during a closed-door deposition on Wednesday, condemning their investigation as a “partisan political pursuit” that was based on a “false premise” and fueled by “lies.”

Conducted in an office building on Capitol Hill, the interview was the latest bid by Republicans to unearth evidence that President Biden was inappropriately involved in his son’s foreign business dealings. So far, their impeachment investigation has turned up no proof.

Hunter Biden, 54, made clear in his opening statement, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times, that he planned to cede no ground to the G.O.P.

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

“I did not involve my father in my business,” Mr. Biden added. “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.”

The interview, which lasted more than six hours, came at a make-or-break moment for the inquiry. Republicans have sought for months to tie President Biden to the alleged misdeeds of his second-born son, but they have struggled with a series of setbacks, including the indictment of an F.B.I. informant accused of making up a story that the elder Mr. Biden took a $5 million bribe.

In his opening statement, Hunter Biden mocked the way Republicans have relied on accused criminals to build the case against his father.

“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,” he said. “Yes, they are lies.”

As he left the deposition, Representative James R. Comer of Kentucky, the top Republican on the Oversight Committee, said he planned to invite Mr. Biden back to testify again at a public hearing.

“I think this was a great deposition for us; he proved several bits of our evidence that we’ve been conducting throughout this investigation,” Mr. Comer said without elaborating. “But there are also some contradictory statements that I think need further review. So this impeachment inquiry will now go to the next phase, which will be a public hearing.”

The deposition was the culmination of a multiyear Republican pursuit of Mr. Biden, whose business dealings and descent into debauchery have long made him a punching bag for the G.O.P. After years of asking “Where’s Hunter?” and spreading the lurid contents of a laptop that contained graphic material of his exploits while he struggled with drug addiction, Republicans finally had their chance to question him.

The interview also was a major moment in the drawn-out feud between Republicans and Mr. Biden about whether he would cooperate in the impeachment inquiry. He had refused repeatedly to sit for a private deposition, and Republicans threatened to hold him in contempt of Congress for defying an earlier subpoena to do so.

Mr. Biden had maintained that he was worried that House Republicans would selectively leak portions of his testimony to misrepresent his account and try to harm his father. He made two surprise appearances on Capitol Hill in which he challenged Republicans to question him at a public hearing. But after the contempt threat, Mr. Biden relented.

Democrats on the Oversight Committee emerged from the deposition room to accuse their Republican counterparts of engaging in an embarrassing spectacle.

“I believe, based on this first hour, that this whole thing really has been a tremendous waste of our legislative time and resources,” said Representative Jamie Raskin of Maryland, the top Democrat on the Oversight Committee.

Representative Nancy Mace, Republican of South Carolina, said Mr. Biden had not invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, but was far from a cooperative witness.

“Hunter Biden is being defiant, and also dishonest,” Ms. Mace said, “and his testimony, some of it, is in direct conflict with other witnesses.”

Representative Matt Gaetz, Republican of Florida, said Hunter Biden’s business deals were clearly corrupt.

“This was a bribe masquerading as an international business transaction,” Mr. Gaetz alleged.

Hunter Biden is already under federal indictment over accusations of tax crimes related to his overseas business interests, including with companies and partners in Ukraine and China. Testifying is a…

Read More: Hunter Biden Testifies in Impeachment Inquiry, Condemning G.O.P.’s Case

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