When Hunter Biden’s former business partner Devon Archer gave closed-door testimony to the House Oversight Committee on July 31, it quickly seemed clear that none of it implicated President Joe Biden, and nothing much implicated Hunter Biden himself in any corruption shenanigans related to Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company. For a few hours after Archer gave his testimony, Republican officials kept mum. In contrast, Democratic Rep. Dan Goldman spoke with reporters about how much of a bust this witness was for conservatives trying to use their House majority to frame the Biden family.
Later that evening, Republican Reps. James Comer and Jim Jordan went on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show and claimed that the testimony, while not a smoking gun, was filled with all kinds of circumstantial evidence of corruption. Comer told Hannity that Archer said, “Hunter Biden was under immense pressure while they both served on Burisma’s board to call Washington, D.C., immediately and try to get Shokin fired. That’s the Ukrainian prosecutor. Not many days later, Joe Biden traveled to Ukraine, and we’ve all seen the video where Joe Biden brags about withholding foreign aid to Ukraine in exchange for the Ukrainian president firing the prosecutor who was investigating his son’s corrupt energy company.”
Calling bullshit, Democratic leaders demanded that Comer and Jordan release the transcript of the testimony to the public. “Release the transcript” became a trending topic on social media and finally, Republicans released the transcript for all to see. Surprise, surprise: Archer’s testimony not only doesn’t imply any of the things Comer and Jordan claimed, it supports the existing evidence showing the accusations against President Biden are ludicrous.
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During his testimony, Archer insisted that he never witnessed any bribery talk involving the president or his son. Archer also told the committee that the president’s son was very clear that he wanted to follow the letter of the law. In fact, the Catch-22 being faced by conservatives is that for all of Hunter Biden’s personal problems with addiction, he understood that the Biden “brand”—the reason he was being paid a lot of money for his lobbying expertise—was tied up with his father’s integrity.
That led to this exchange about the strains on Hunter Biden as he was pressured to exert more influence:
Mr. Archer: It was a constant push-pull in that regard, you know.
Mr. Goldman: Because Burisma wanted him—
Mr. Archer.:People always wanted more.
Mr. Goldman. Burisma wanted him to do more
Mr. Archer: Right.
Mr. Goldman:—with his connections.
Mr. Archer: Correct.
Mr. Goldman: And Hunter Biden understood that he could not do that, but he
was trying to—
Mr. Archer: Balance it.
Mr. Goldman:—balance it and prove value to a company that expected him to do
Mr. Archer: Right.
Mr. Goldman:—he was uncomfortable doing.
Mr. Archer: Right.
Goldman: And so as a Biden, it was important for him to follow the law. Is that fair?
Archer: That's fair.
And then there is the false claim by Republicans—the one that is foundational to the entire accusation—that Hunter Biden’s job at Burisma was to get then-Vice President Joe Biden to have Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin fired. The entire corruption conspiracy Comer and Jordan and Sen. Chuck Grassley have promoted alleges that Shokin posed a threat to Burisma because he was investigating them and putting pressure on the new company, and possibly holding up millions in dollars of assets locked in a bank account in England.
Archer’s testimony explained that the opposite was true. He said it was his understanding that Shokin was good for Burisma:
Mr. Goldman: Let's talk about legally, I think just pivot to that, because you had said earlier that—I believe the direct quote is that Burisma felt like they had Shokin under control.
Mr. Archer: Correct.
Mr. Goldman: What did you mean by that?
Mr. Archer: That was like—that was a narrative that was told to me by various of the D.C. team, that the firing of Shokin was bad for Burisma because he was under control.
Mr. Goldman: What did you understand "under control" to mean?
Mr. Archer: Meaning that they were going to maybe give a slap on the wrist as opposed to—
Mr. Goldman: Okay.
Mr. Archer. -- you know, seize all his assets.
Once again, Archer is proving why anyone paying even a tiny bit of attention to the claims against President Biden considers these accusations baseless. Then-Vice President Biden went to Ukraine, pushed for the firing of a Ukrainian prosecutor because that prosecutor was not investigating possible corruption and potentially dubious assets, and the company Hunter Biden was being paid by not only didn’t benefit from this, they would have greatly preferred the prosecutor stay where he was—at least financially.
Whether or not the Republican witch hunters are taking their “investigation” behind closed doors because they are tired of being publicly embarrassed isn’t known. What is known is that when any of the facts are revealed to the public, it quickly becomes very clear that Comer and Jordan are trying their best to finish the fabricated narrative started by their swamp-king leader Donald Trump.
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