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Five takeaways from the Hunter Biden transcript

Republicans conducting an impeachment inquiry against President Biden released a transcript of a private interview with Hunter Biden Thursday night, a day after the president’s son huddled behind closed doors at the U.S. Capitol for nearly seven hours.

Since Republican leaders formally launched the impeachment inquiry last September, the younger Biden has become perhaps the most important witness to appear before the Oversight and Judiciary Committees, with Republican investigators facing first-hand information about his overseas dealings. He has been fighting for months for an opportunity to be questioned.

The investigation has divided House members along party lines, and Wednesday’s impassioned testimony from the president’s son did nothing to change the situation.

Republicans say his business was tainted by corruption and influence peddling that provided financial benefits to other members of the family, including the president, an allegation that supports Hunter Biden’s testimony. claims.

Democrats counter that there is nothing irregular about the business arrangement and that Joe Biden had no involvement in or profited from the pursuit, and that Hunter Biden It claims to clearly defend this position.

Here are five takeaways from Wednesday’s deposition.

Republicans failed to land a knockout punch.

Hunter Biden is a key witness in the investigation and the person on whom their most serious suspicions lie, but Republicans are hoping he will provide conclusive evidence of wrongdoing by the Biden family. If he had, it wouldn’t have been possible.

Republicans have repeatedly accused Hunter Biden of accepting payments from foreign companies and transferring the funds to other family members, including the president. However, Hunter Biden refuted each charge with detailed descriptions of these business arrangements and never invoked his Fifth Amendment rights. All of this didn’t translate into a clear knockout punch for Republicans.

For example, after Hunter Biden received a payment from a Chinese energy company, he wired it to his uncle James Biden, who then cut his brother Joe Biden a check totaling $40,000. . Republicans claim the exchange is evidence that Joe Biden is profiting from his son’s business dealings. The Bidens maintain that James was simply repaying a loan from his brother.

“My father never benefited my business financially or in any other way,” Hunter Biden testified about his dealings with Chinese companies.

Another controversy arose over an email from another business associate to Hunter Biden that referred to a 10 percent cut “for the big guys.” Republicans again claimed this was proof that Joe Biden was receiving payment for his son’s business dealings. However, under questioning, Hunter Biden testified that he had five business partners, each of whom received a 20 percent stake, leaving the others with nothing.

“there is nothing [to] Do it with Joe Biden,” his son testified.

Perhaps the biggest blow to the Republican investigation was the release of an FBI tip days before the deposition accusing Joe Biden and Hunter Biden of accepting $5 million in bribes from a Ukrainian energy company. The donor was indicted for fabricating the same charges.

“This is a reckless plan, a desperate attempt by Republicans to salvage an investigation that has been completely discredited,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.).

Biden family tragedy casts shadow over testimony

Hunter Biden lost his mother Neilia and sister Naomi in a car accident in 1971, then watched his brother Beau lose his battle with brain cancer in 2015. These tragedies overshadowed Hunter Biden’s testimony on Wednesday. He emphasized the close relationship between the president and his son.

Devon Archer, a former colleague of Hunter Biden, said that throughout the investigation, Republicans focused on instances in which Biden put Biden on speakerphone during business meetings, and the conversations were limited to pleasantries. Stated.

Hunter Biden defended his actions Wednesday, telling lawmakers that “I’ll always answer his phone,” but he lets his father “say hello” when he calls while he’s with friends. He also said that it would be.

“It’s not literally diabolical,” Biden said. “You understand my relationship with my family. When my father was 29 years old, he woke up one day and went to work and got a phone call saying he had lost his wife and daughter. And , in the same accident, he almost lost my younger brother and me. And when I was 46 years old, my 47-year-old brother died.”

“In our family, if I call him or he calls me or I get a call from his grandchild or one of my children, you always answer the phone.” he continued. “That’s what we always do.”

The close-knit nature of the Biden family was also evident during a discussion of a dinner attended by the Bidens and some of their son’s business associates at Cafe Milano, an upscale restaurant in Washington, D.C., frequented by politicians. Republicans have highlighted the rally throughout the investigation.

Hunter Biden told lawmakers he has dined at Café Milano “dozens of times” with family, friends and colleagues. He said his father often stopped by the Washington, D.C. facility because it was located between the White House and the vice president’s residence.

“If my mom wasn’t there, or if she was at home in Delaware, I’m sure he would stop and have a bowl of spaghetti with me and whoever I was sitting with,” Hunter Biden said. said.

Hunter Biden’s addiction revealed in testimony

Hunter Biden has been open about his struggle with addiction, and the details of his life were mentioned multiple times throughout Wednesday’s deposition, including during an exchange with Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.). He talked about a period of time.

“Did you do drugs when you were on the Burisma board?” Gaetz asked Biden.

“Mr. Gates, look me in the eye. Do you really think that’s appropriate?” Biden responded, to which Gates responded, “Absolutely.”

Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-Florida)

“Do any of you sitting around this table think it’s appropriate to ask me?” Biden asked.

“I’ve been absolutely transparent about my drug use,” he later added. “I’m sorry; I’m an addict. I was an addict. I’ve been in recovery for over four and a half years now, Mr. Gates. I’m working really hard. Let me answer this: Under tremendous pressure, all my life. I’m trying so hard. Was I an addict? Yes, I was an addict. It’s a question of whether or not you’re going to push for the impeachment of my father, other than just trying to embarrass me. What does that have to do with anything?” he said.

Republicans weren’t the only ones to mention Biden’s addiction. Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, the top Democrat on the oversight committee, asked Biden to respond to claims by some witnesses that the political focus on his eldest son could be an attempt to push him to relapse. I asked Mr.

“I believe more strongly than ever in my life that the most important thing I can do, not only for myself, but for my family and those who love and support me, is to remain sober.” I am determined,” Biden said.

In his opening statement, Biden talked about supporting his father during his addiction.

“During my battle with addiction, my father was there for me. He saved my life. Because of his love and support, I got sober and stayed sober. , were able to rebuild their lives as fathers, husbands, sons, and brothers,” Biden said. “Instead of being a loving and supportive parent, what he got was a barrage of hateful conspiracy theories that created this sham impeachment inquiry and continues to fuel relentless personal attacks against him and me.”

But some Republicans said Biden used his past addiction to his advantage throughout the deposition, even though he remembered some key details and couldn’t recall others. denounced.

hunter biden

For example, at one point, Hunter Biden sent a controversial WhatsApp message in 2017 to a Chinese business associate saying, “I’m sitting here with my father,” and then sent an unspecified message to the official. told deputies he was either high or drunk when pressed to fulfill his promise. Otherwise, he risks angering the Biden family. He testified that he sent the message to the wrong person because he was not with his father at the time.

“My addiction is no excuse, but I can tell you this: This text message is more embarrassing than any other text message I’ve ever sent if it actually came from me.” he said.

However, when asked if he remembered sending the message, Biden replied, “I don’t remember.”

“Whenever Hunter Biden explained payments, he played himself as if he were a brilliant, experienced advisor/lawyer who had to explain the threats, the crackdowns, and the overlap between family and business. He was always a sympathetic addict.” I wrote to X.

Jared Kushner attracts surprising attention

Mr. Kushner was not near the Capitol on Wednesday. But Hunter Biden ended up taking part in an unexpected deposition as he sought to distinguish between his own overseas business dealings and those of former President Trump’s son-in-law.

Kushner founded a private equity firm shortly after leaving the White House, served as a top adviser to President Trump, and six months later won a huge deal that saw the Saudi government invest $2 billion.

The deal raised many eyebrows, not only because Kushner served as a key liaison with the Middle East under the Trump administration, but also because the Saudi sovereign wealth fund’s advisory board later cited It was revealed that he had advised against investing in Mr. Kushner’s company. “…Management team lacks experience.”

Hunter Biden, who came under fire from Republicans for his overseas business dealings, made a contrasting statement: “Unlike Mr. Jared Kushner, I have never received funds from a foreign government,” he testified.

Republicans have disputed the claim, saying Hunter Biden’s business with Chinese energy companies is essentially a deal with the Chinese government, which controls much of the country’s industries. I denied it.

“The unusual thing about CEFC is that it wasn’t state-run,” Biden testified.

What’s next?public hearing

With Hunter Biden’s testimony in the rearview mirror, Republicans look to bring his testimony to television screens across the country.

Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) said the “next step” in the impeachment inquiry is a hearing with Hunter Biden, where he “hopes to iron out the inconsistencies between some of the statements.” said. [that] This is what was exchanged between some of the parties and what we heard today. ”

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio)

The chairman did not give a date for the hearing, but said, “The sooner the better.”

Hunter Biden’s team initially expressed concerns that Republicans would selectively leak or distort his testimony and demanded that his client testify in public rather than behind closed doors. Was. But Republicans refused to budge on the demands, threatening to hold Hunter Biden in contempt of Congress if he ignores the subpoena and fails to appear for a personal deposition in December.

Biden ultimately acquiesced to Republicans’ demands, telling Republicans to reissue the subpoena because the first one was invalid because it had been sent before the House formally voted to authorize the impeachment inquiry. I asked for it. they obeyed.

Now, Hunter may have a moment in the public eye.

“If it’s something the parties agree on, we won’t object to it, because I think the whole country realizes what an absurd waste of time this circus was,” Raskin said Wednesday. .

Copyright 2024 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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