Hunter Biden challenged this Wednesday (13) the subpoena of Republicans for a closed-door testimony in Congress. Instead of attending the hearing, the American president’s son preferred to speak to journalists near the Capitol, in a gesture interpreted as a provocation.
In recent days, Hunter and Republicans have been fighting a battle over whether the testimony would be public, as Biden’s son’s defense wanted, or closed, as the opposition determined.
“Here I am, Mr. President [do comitê que o investiga], accepting the offer you made when you said you could bring people in for depositions or hearings, as they prefer. Well, I chose. I’m here to testify at a public hearing today to answer any legitimate questions from the committee,” Hunter, 53, told reporters.
He then said that Republicans don’t want an “open process in which Americans can see their tactics.” “What are they afraid of? I’m ready.”
In the defense’s view, private testimony could allow Republicans to “selectively leak” or distort their claims.
The opposition has already responded that it will initiate proceedings against the president’s son for contempt. In a statement, Representatives James Comer and Jim Jordan, who respectively chair the Oversight and Judiciary Committee, stated that Hunter defied a legal subpoena.
“He was halfway to the Capitol. You would think he could have come here and sat down to answer questions. If you do that in a public format now, you’re going to see filibusters [obstruções]speeches, all kinds of things,” argued Jordan in conversation with journalists.
In his speech Wednesday, Hunter also denied that his father was financially involved in any of his businesses. “There is no evidence to support these allegations,” she said, in response to the opposition’s suspicions.
“I am here today to ensure that the House’s illegitimate investigations into my family do not proceed based on manipulated evidence and lies,” he continued. “I’m here today to acknowledge that I’ve made mistakes in my life and wasted opportunities.”
Hunter became a complication in his father’s campaign for re-election after being hit with a series of criminal charges, some for tax fraud, last week. According to investigators, he failed to pay US$1.4 million (R$6.8 million) in taxes while maintaining a luxurious lifestyle.
He had already become a defendant last September after an investigation showed that he did not report that he had drug problems, as required by law, when purchasing a revolver in 2018. There is a possibility, therefore, that he will be tried in two different cases.
In addition to these lawsuits, a committee formed by the opposition in the Chamber is investigating Hunter’s business dealings with foreign companies, under the suspicion that he used his father’s name, when he was Barack Obama’s vice president, to close deals.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the president’s son had used his father to obtain advantages in the purchase of a stake in a Chinese private equity fund and in consultancies with a Romanian real estate tycoon.
Republicans accuse the entire family, including the current president, of having benefited financially from this. However, investigations have so far found no evidence of the Democrat’s involvement with his son’s companies. The White House claims that the process has a political motivation as a backdrop to disrupt the race for re-election in 2024.
This Wednesday, the House is expected to vote on formalizing Biden’s impeachment process. In September, the inquiry was opened by a unilateral decision by the then President of the House, Kevin McCarthy. However, as there was no approval from the plenary, the White House has refused to collaborate with the investigation. The objective of this Wednesday’s vote, therefore, is to force the government to provide documents and respond to other requests from the opposition.
With Reuters and The New York Times