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House Republicans insist Hunter Biden testify in private, bucking public hearing bid

By Jake Beardslee · December 3, 2023

In brief…

  • Biden lawyer proposed public testimony; GOP cited past private depositions as "standard practice"
  • Comer previously supported public hearing but now worries it could reveal private financial data
  • Letters reveal partisan dispute over transparency of investigation into president's son
The House GOP oversight chairs subpoenaed Hunter Biden's closed-door testimony while rejecting his offer for a public hearing, prompting a conflict over transparency.  Prime Minister's Office (GODL-India)/United States Congress/Wikimedia

The Republican-led House Oversight and Judiciary committees are demanding that Hunter Biden testify in a closed-door deposition on December 13th, despite an offer from Biden’s lawyer for public testimony, according to letters revealed on Friday.

Biden’s lawyer, Abbe Lowell, wrote to House Oversight Chair James Comer (R-KY) earlier this week offering for Biden to speak publicly, stating that “if your efforts are important and involve issues that Americans should know about, then let the light shine on these proceedings.” However, Comer and Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan (R-OH) responded that “this testimony will occur initially in a deposition setting, as has been the consistent practice of Committees of the House of Representatives in recent Congresses.” They added that “we also appreciate your confirmation that Mr. Biden is willing to testify at a public hearing” later on.

The House Committee on Oversight and Accountability posted on X, “Our lawfully issued subpoena to Hunter Biden requires him to appear for a deposition on December 13…we expect full cooperation with our subpoena for a deposition but also agree that Hunter Biden should have the opportunity to testify in a public setting at a future date.”

The Republican chairs claimed that closed-door depositions have been standard for House committees “during both Republican and Democrat majorities.” Lowell has argued that House Republicans previously misconstrued witnesses’ private testimony. While Comer expressed openness to public testimony last week, he has since raised concerns about releasing sensitive financial records in such a setting.