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Hunter Biden in testimony disputes claims his father benefited from his businesses

Hunter Biden sharply rebutted allegations that his father was involved with his business ventures, testifying repeatedly over the course of a nearly seven-hour deposition that Joe Biden did not receive money or benefit financially from any of his son’s business ventures, according to a transcript of his appearance released on Thursday.

Hunter Biden, who appeared on Capitol Hill on Wednesday before lawmakers and investigators with the House Oversight and Judiciary committees, denied several unsubstantiated claims Republicans have presented as key pieces of evidence in an impeachment inquiry into President Biden. House Republicans have struggled to prove that the president benefited improperly from his family’s businesses, and even some members of their conference have expressed skepticism about the inquiry. The president’s brother, James, testified to lawmakers last week that Joe Biden had no role in any of his business dealings.

Hunter Biden testified that he never introduced or involved his father in his business dealings with a Chinese energy firm he worked with in 2017, defended his tightknit relationship with his father, and unequivocally stated that he never called his father on behalf of his clients.

“All I know is this: My father was never involved in any of my business, ever,” Hunter Biden testified. “Never received a cent from anybody or never benefited in any way. Never took any actions on behalf in any way. And I can absolutely, 100 percent state, that is not just in my case but in every family member’s case.”

During the questioning, when Hunter Biden was pressed on his relationship with Tony Bobulinski, his former business associate, he repeatedly testified that it was Bobulinski, along with another associate, who had proposed involving Joe Biden in their business deal with CEFC China Energy. At the time, Hunter Biden was unaware that Bobulinski and James Gilliar were invoking his family’s name in discussing their possible business arrangement, he testified, but he ultimately ceased his partnership with them once he “lost complete faith in Bobulinski.”

“I did not find him to be credible,” Hunter Biden said about ending his venture with Bobulinski, who has long accused the Bidens of wrongdoing. “I did not find him to be competent. I found him to be arrogant. I found him to often not tell the full truth or the truth at all. And, therefore, I had no faith to have him as a partner in any business.”

The president’s son, however, was less resolute when asked whether his father was present for a luncheon with CEFC officials at a Four Seasons hotel in 2017. Hunter Biden testified that he did not recall the luncheon described by Rob Walker, another one of his business associates who appeared for a closed-door interview before Congress in January. But he added that he did not question Walker’s memory of the event. While Walker described Joe Biden’s presence at the lunch, he testified that the then-former vice president was not involved in any of his and Hunter Biden’s business ventures.

“He spoke nice, you know, normal pleasantries,” Walker said in January of the extent of Joe Biden’s participation in the 2017 meeting. “He, I don’t believe, even really knew why they were there. He specifically said, ‘Good luck in whatever you guys are doing.’ ”

Asked about other dinners his father may have been involved with at Café Milano, a see-and-be-seen restaurant in Georgetown, Hunter Biden testified that his dad would often drop by to have dinner with him, as he dined there frequently with friends, family and business associates — or a “combination” of the three.

“He would, you know, stop and have a bowl of spaghetti with me or whoever I was sitting with,” Hunter said of his father’s visits to the restaurant. He did confirm that his father was present for two dinners hosted at Café Milano that some potential business partners were also attending but described the appearances as brief and related either to his work with the World Food Program or to his birthday.

Hunter Biden also could not recall dropping off his laptop at a computer repair shop in Wilmington, Del., in April 2019, according to the transcript of the testimony. He has in the past said that he is unsure if the laptop is his and he does not remember dropping it off, but he has conceded that his memory in the depths of what he has admitted was a serious drug addiction was not reliable.

In a lawsuit filed last year against the store owner, the younger Biden acknowledged that some of the data that has been released publicly belongs to him and conceded that the store owner, John Paul Mac Isaac, could have obtained it in April 2019. Responding to questions from Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) about the laptop, Hunter Biden testified that if he needed to repair a laptop, he would have normally taken it to an Apple store. His exchanges with Gaetz sharpened after the Florida congressman pressed Hunter Biden about his drug use and addiction.

“Was I an addict? Yes, I was an addict,” Hunter Biden testified. “What does that have to do with whether or not you’re going to go forward with an impeachment of my father other than to simply try to embarrass me?”

At one point he said to Gaetz, “I’ll take you seriously, but it’s hard to do.” Responding to his accusation that his family finances are “interwoven,” Hunter Biden pointed to the reams of financial records the committee had obtained and their lack of evidence tying his father to wrongdoing.

“Do you see a transaction, Mr. Gaetz?” Hunter Biden asked. “It’s not incumbent upon me to point to you to something that doesn’t exist. It’s incumbent upon you to create something, to come up with something based upon the voluminous evidence that you’ve collected, which shows no involvement.”

Despite protestations from his lawyer, Abbe Lowell, that questions about his drug addiction were outside the bounds of the impeachment inquiry, Hunter Biden was asked repeatedly about his substance abuse. During an extended exchange with Rep. Harriet Hageman (R-Wyo.), he asked why she is being “so hostile” toward him after she queried why an alcoholic with a crack cocaine addiction “would be responsible and considered a professional for handling multimillion-dollar international deals focused on corporate governance.”

“Again, I think that addiction is a very difficult thing to be able to define,” Hunter Biden explained. “I think that there are moments in time where you could be fully competent. I think that there are a lot of people around this room who suffer from alcoholism that are still in this room and that they’re still functioning.”

After Wednesday’s testimony, Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) said the next step of the impeachment inquiry would be a public hearing, but such a hearing has not yet been scheduled.

This post appeared first on The Washington Post

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