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Where’s Hunter? Center stage in DC — and a thorn in his father’s side

Echoing Nixon probe, Roy asks what Biden knew and when he knew it

Hunter Biden, son of President Joe Biden, makes a statement to the press outside the Capitol on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Hunter Biden, son of President Joe Biden, makes a statement to the press outside the Capitol on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A Biden took center stage this week on Capitol Hill, but it was not the president. It was his embattled son, Hunter Biden.

His name was mentioned 56 times during a lengthy House Rules Committee hearing Tuesday as nine Republicans fended off questions about their inquiry into President Joe Biden’s role in his son’s lucrative global business dealings.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, mentioned Hunter Biden six times during a brief but animated floor speech on Wednesday before Republicans voted to formalize their impeachment probe of the president, railing against his time on the board of Ukrainian energy firm Burisma.

“First, Hunter Biden gets put on the board of Burisma. Second, he’s not qualified to be on the board of Burisma. Don’t take my word for it. He said it himself,” Jordan roared.

“Third, he’s asked by the executives of Burisma, ‘Can you weigh in with Washington with D.C. to help alleviate the pressure we’re under? Three days later, the vice president of the United States, now-President Joe Biden, goes to Ukraine and conditions American tax dollars for Ukraine on the firing of the prosecutor who was applying the pressure to the company Hunter Biden was on the board of,” Jordan added. “That that’s why we’re going with an official impeachment inquiry vote today. That’s why this needs to be investigated.”

Team Biden contends the then-VP was merely pressing the Ukrainian government to remove a corrupt prosecutor, which was the official stance of the Obama administration and many Western countries. Jordan and other Republicans, while practically screaming the words “Hunter Biden,” leave out such denials from the other side.

Hunter Biden also came up more than once at the White House. Reporters asked Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre about the president’s son on Wednesday, hours after the younger Biden spoke to reporters outside the Capitol while defying a subpoena to testify behind closed doors to the House Oversight and Accountability Committee.

The messages from the son and the father’s White House about Hunter Biden’s admitted troubles and the father’s role in his business dealings have been stark, with Wednesday providing fresh and telling examples.

Hunter Biden was up first, with the Capitol dome framed behind him in a rather surreal scene as he continued his aggressive public relations defense. While refusing to testify in private, he said he would appear at a public hearing and at one point challenged Oversight panel Republicans, saying: “What are they afraid of? I’m here. I’m ready.”

“They have no shame,” Hunter Biden said. “There is no fairness or decency” in their probe, he said. “They’ve lied over and over again.”

“They’ve invaded my privacy, attacked my wife and children … tried to dehumanize me and embarrass and damage my father,” he added.

His words, likely by design, irked the Bidens’ House GOP critics, who describe him as the central villain in what they call the “Biden crime family,” despite having presented no evidence of wrongdoing by Joe Biden, who also has not been fingered by federal or state prosecutors for improprieties.

“Today, Hunter Biden did a press conference. He was supposed to be in a deposition,” Jordan said. “And at that press conference, he said, ‘My father was not financially involved in the business.’ Well, that’s an important qualifier. We haven’t heard that for three years. We haven’t heard that.”

“All we’ve heard is Joe Biden had no involvement,” the Judiciary chairman and ally of Biden’s most likely 2024 general election foe, Donald Trump, continued. “Well, what involvement was it? We know there were phone calls, dinners and meetings. What involvement was it? That’s why we want to ask these questions with important witnesses.”

While the Biden son did not take questions, his self-defense was noticeably stronger than what came from his father’s White House on Wednesday.

“The president was familiar with what Hunter was going to say today,” Jean-Pierre told reporters. “And, you know, look, he’s proud of his son. He and the first lady are proud of his son, how he’s rebuilding his life back.”

Any father would be proud of a son who has said he has been winning his battle with his demons, including addiction problems.

But Jean-Pierre’s strategy — and it isn’t the first time — was mostly to change the subject.

“But I do want to say a couple of things here that … I think I can touch on, is that the president is also focused on the important work of the American people. We just went back and forth about what’s happening at the border and how he wants to make sure that we secure the border, and the work that he and his team [have] been doing on negotiating to make sure that there’s … a bipartisan compromise,” she said.

She noted that Biden a day earlier had held a joint news conference with the Ukrainian president who flew to Washington to try to convince balking members of Congress to send more aid for his country’s effort to expel Russian invaders.

“You saw him yesterday stand right next to President [Volodymyr] Zelenskyy,” she said. “There could not have been a more powerful picture with the president of the United States standing next to President Zelenskyy, who, he and the brave people in Ukraine are … fighting for their democracy.”

Voters will decide if Biden has done a good enough job on all those issues to deserve a second term. But White House and Biden campaign officials will need a better answer to questions about the first son.

House Republicans are not letting up. After all, showing loyalty to Trump demands it.

“So, for those of us who are concerned about the flow of international dollars into the Biden family, which is hard to even dispute based on the indictment that is now sitting before us with respect to Hunter, and where he’s gone with his tax records,” Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, said Tuesday, referring to nine tax charges filed on Dec. 7 in California.

“But importantly, what we know from other evidence about the extent of the millions of dollars flowing into the Biden family — Hunter and other members of the family,” Roy added, then trying to link the father to the son. “The question is, well, what did the … president know when he was vice president?”

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