Hunter Biden wants to testify to the House Oversight Committee in public, not behind closed doors. He’s watched as his associates have given private depositions only for Republicans to leak misleading and outright false accounts of their answers, and the president’s son doesn’t seem interested in being a victim of that process. Hunter Biden’s offer to testify publicly has James Comer, the chair of the Oversight Committee, talking fast and offering a lot of excuses. A closed-door deposition, Comer insisted to Sean Hannity Tuesday night, “is for all practical purposes public. We will release the transcripts.”
But not before Comer and his buddies go out and set the narrative about the deposition by lying about it.
There’s a reason Hunter Biden might want the world to see his answers live. In late July, his former business partner Devon Archer gave a closed-door deposition. Within hours, Comer and House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan were on Sean Hannity’s show on Fox News, with Comer claiming, “Today, we saw Joe Biden has lied to the American people. He knew exactly who his son was getting those millions and millions of dollars of wires from, and he spoke to them, and he spoke to them often.” Days later, under pressure, Republicans released the transcript of Archer’s deposition, and, of course, it showed nothing of the sort.
Talking to Hannity on Tuesday night, Comer pretended he hadn’t spent months lying his inflated head off about everything related to the “investigation.” Comer constantly spits out numbers of pages of documents that the committee has obtained, dollar amounts of money paid to people associated with Hunter Biden, and accusations that President Joe Biden has in some way been receiving that money—without any evidence at all of that final, critical point.
“Everyone knows that if you have a credible, substantive investigation, you have depositions, you have transcribed interviews, then you bring in people for committee hearings,” Comer told Hannity. “I’m not doing this for entertainment. This is a credible investigation.”
(Pause to laugh.) A credible, substantive investigation, he says. (Helpless laughter.) Man, if you have to repeat “credible investigation” like that on friendly ground like Hannity, you are giving something away.
“This will be a very transparent investigation, as it has been from the very beginning,” he added. Transparently partisan, for sure. But again, we’ve watched as Comer and other Republicans have lied and obfuscated and manufactured baseless claims about the president. We know better—but Republicans are relying on having Hunter Biden give a private deposition that they can twist and set a false narrative on before they release the transcript and only a few people bother to read the whole thing.
Tuesday on Newsmax, Comer again claimed his reasons for wanting a closed-door deposition were very serious investigative ones, complaining that a hearing doesn’t offer the opportunity to dig into the documents “without filibustering, without interruption, without going five minutes back and forth.” But then he said something that got to the real issue, complaining about “[Reps.] Jamie Raskin and Dan Goldman and little Moskowitz jumping up and down.” (Here's why Rep. Jared Moskowitz is apparently living rent-free in Comer’s head these days.)
Rep. Elise Stefanik sounded a similar note in a Wednesday interview with Maria Bartiromo on Fox Business. “In an open public hearing, you see the Democrats turn this into a charade.” In other words, you see the Democrats push back. Stefanik also showed how fully the fix is in despite no evidence of corruption by the president. “This is not about Hunter Biden,” she said. “This is about Joe Biden and whether or not he is compromised. I believe he is fully compromised, and I believe that as we continue uncovering evidence, we will see that this is the greatest political corruption scandal of our lifetime.”
Republicans are trying to sound like Very Serious Investigators as they push for that closed-door deposition. But this comes after Comer and others have spent months showboating on Fox News and Newsmax, building a baseless public case about the president’s alleged corruption. They have nothing to show for it but partisan talking points, as we see when they subject themselves to questioning by nonpartisan reporters. Nothing about this is “a credible investigation,” and what they’re really worried about is Hunter Biden testifying publicly and putting that on view for the whole world.