After months of being treated as a punching bag by Republicans in the House and by right-wing media, Hunter Biden has reacted to a Republican subpoena by offering to testify in person before the House Oversight Committee that’s supposedly looking into allegations of misconduct by President Joe Biden and members of his family. It’s a direct challenge to Republican committee Chair James Comer and to the GOP’s ongoing efforts to create an excuse to impeach the president.
Hunter Biden’s testimony could be one of the greatest “put up or shut up” moments of the century.
Except it’s not going to happen. It’s not happening because the offer to testify in public and answer any question that Republicans wanted to ask was met with a refusal from Comer. The last thing the House Oversight chair wants in his committee is the truth.
According to Hunter’s attorney, David Lowell, the president’s son is willing to sit for the committee on “December 13, or any date in December that we can arrange.” And he has just one requirement: That testimony has to be public, so everyone gets to hear what Republicans ask and what Hunter has to say in response. “All you will learn is that your accusations are baseless,” writes Lowell. “However, the American people should see that for themselves.”
That’s exactly what terrifies Comer. As CNN reports, the Republican congressman who has been making outrageous claims about the Biden family for months quickly rejected the idea of public testimony. “Hunter Biden is trying to play by his own rules instead of following the rules required of everyone else,” said Comer. “That won’t stand with House Republicans.”
Instead, Comer insists that Hunter must appear before Republicans in private so that they can frame information released about both questions and answers in the way they best suits their “investigation.” Republican Rep. Ben Cline followed Comer’s refusal by maintaining that Hunter’s offer to testify in public was part of a Democratic scheme to block Comer’s investigation.
Because, as everyone knows, open public testimony is something that a Republican investigation simply cannot tolerate.
Hunter has been the subject of continuous attacks since Rudy Giuliani first strolled into The New York Times in 2019 and handed them an utterly ridiculous story about Hunter, his father, and a corrupt prosecutor in Ukraine. That story was rapidly and thoroughly debunked, but that hasn’t kept Republicans from citing it as fact from that day until the present. Just days before the 2020 election, Giuliani announced that he had obtained “Hunter Biden’s laptop”—a phrase that has now been promoted thousands of times by Donald Trump, Republicans in the House and Senate, right-wing media, and Elon Musk. Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene went so far as to brandish revenge porn taken from this nonexistent laptop on the floor of the House.
The combined effort of Republicans, their supporters, and the media to crush Hunter may be the most jaw-dropping example of the lengths to which the right will go in an effort to find some reason, any reason, to defame Joe Biden. In the past few weeks, Comer has been dribbling out already well-established information one crumb at a time, treating each piece as if it’s some kind of revelation and throwing claims of corruption at multiple members of the Biden family.
And that’s exactly what Comer and others intend to do over the coming months. They have no interest in the truth, and no interest in what Hunter Biden has to say. They only want to preserve their ability to pretend to “investigate” by way of smear.
Rep. Jamie Raskin issued a response to Comer’s insistence that his work can only be carried out in darkness:
“Let me get this straight. After wailing and moaning for ten months about Hunter Biden and alluding to some vast unproven family conspiracy, after sending Hunter Biden a subpoena to appear and testify, Chairman Comer and the Oversight Republicans now reject his offer to appear before the full Committee and the eyes of the world and to answer any questions that they pose? What an epic humiliation for our colleagues and what a frank confession that they are simply not interested in the facts and have no confidence in their own case or the ability of their own Members to pursue it.
After the miserable failure of their impeachment hearing in September, Chairman Comer has now apparently decided to avoid all Committee hearings where the public can actually see for itself the logical, rhetorical and factual contortions they have tied themselves up in. The evidence has shown time and again President Biden has committed no wrongdoing, much less an impeachable offense. Chairman Comer’s insistence that Hunter Biden’s interview should happen behind closed doors proves it once again. What the Republicans fear most is sunlight and the truth.”
Written by Mark Sumner. Cross-posted from Daily Kos.