Takeaways from Hunter Biden’s combative statement to Republican lawmakers

(J Scott Applewhite/Associated Press)

Takeaways from Hunter Biden’s combative statement to Republican lawmakers


February 29, 2024

The transcript of Hunter Biden’s testimony in Congress was released late Thursday, providing a full picture of the controversial testimony that took place behind closed doors on Wednesday as Republicans aggressively questioned the central figure in their impeachment inquiry into his father.

The nearly 230 pages of questions laid bare the deep-seated animosity between President Biden’s son and the Republican lawmakers who have been investigating his family. Arguments were frequent and tempers were short, providing a preview of what is sure to happen when Republicans hold a public hearing for Hunter Biden in the coming weeks.

He was defiant during the deposition as Republicans bombarded him with questions about his past business dealings and his life, with his answers ranging from heated to emotional as he spoke about his long battle with addiction and other turmoil in his personal life.

Throughout the nearly seven-hour deposition, Biden remained adamant on one point, vehemently and repeatedly denying under oath that his father had ever benefited financially from or participated in any of his business dealings.

Takeaways from the transcript:

You always answer the phone

The 14-month Republican investigation into the Biden family focused on Hunter Biden and his overseas work for clients in Ukraine, China, Romania and other countries. Republicans have so far suggested, without evidence, that these business dealings involved corruption and influence peddling by President Biden, especially during the years he was vice president.

Republican investigators focused on a series of dinners and gatherings that took place after Joe Biden left the vice presidency, during which the younger Biden put his father on speaker phone while in the company of business associates.

And why would you put your dad on speaker? asked an unidentified Republican aide.

I’m surprised my dad hasn’t called me by now, and if he did, I would put him on speakerphone to say hello to you, Congressman Raskin and everyone else in the room, Hunter Biden responded. It’s literally nothing shameful.

He said that after the tragedies his family suffered, including the deaths of his mother and two siblings, the calls in his family are always answered no matter what.

You always answer the phone. It’s something we do all the time. And you can ask anyone I know, he added.

“Do you really think that’s appropriate?”

Large portions of Wednesday’s testimony focused on Hunter Biden’s well-documented battle with drug and alcohol addiction.

In one particularly tough exchange, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) questioned whether the president’s sons’ business dealings, especially with Ukrainian energy company Burisma, were legitimate. Gaetz asked: Were you on drugs when you were on the board of Burisma?

Hunter responded: Mr. Gaetz, look me in the eyes. Do you really think it’s appropriate to ask me?

Absolutely, Gaetz said.

Biden’s attorney, Abbe Lowell, intervened and told his client he did not have to respond.

I’ll answer it this way: I have been absolutely transparent about my drug use, Biden said. I’m sorry; I’m an addict. I was hooked.

He told the panel that he has been in recovery for more than four years and is working very, very hard at it, under what he called enormous pressure.

What am I addicted to? Yes, I was addicted, he said. What does that have to do with whether or not you go through with impeachment proceedings against my father, other than just trying to embarrass me?

Gaetz tried to interrupt, but Hunter Biden kept talking: Why? Why?”

The Biden ‘brand’

Another focus for House Republicans’ investigation is what they describe as Hunter Biden and associates selling the Biden brand to foreign customers.

One of their alleged key witnesses, Devon Archer, a former business associate of Hunter Biden, testified before the House Oversight Committee last year that the president’s family sold the illusion of access to the corridors of power in Washington. Republicans questioned whether Burisma wanted Hunter Biden on the board in 2014 “because your father was the vice president.”

No, I don’t think it’s fair, Hunter Biden responded.

When asked what value he brought to Burisma, Biden spoke about the breadth of his resume and defended his family.

First and foremost, the name Biden is my father’s legacy. And he passed it on to me and, while my brother was alive, my brother, my sister, and now to my children. It’s our responsibility not to screw that up.”

He added: “If other people saw the brand as something they could market, it wasn’t to me without going through me first. And if they did, they didn’t go through me first.”

The Democrats weigh in

Democrats at one point tried to pivot the statement back to the issue of Donald Trump, contrasting the Bidens’ business dealings with those of the former Republican presidents’ family and its business dealings.

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Dublin) led a particularly pointed exchange aimed at highlighting differences between President Biden and Trump, the Republican front-runner, to challenge him for the White House.

Did your father ever hire an immediate family member to also work in the Oval Office? Swalwell asked.

To my knowledge, my father never employed any immediate family members, Hunter Biden testified.

Swalwell went on to ask questions about the Trump hotel in Washington, D.C., Trump’s lawsuit in New York City, his daughter-in-law’s recent attempt to lead the Republican National Committee, and his son-in-law Jared’s business dealings Kushner with Saudi Arabia.

As president and leader of the party, did your father ever try to install a daughter-in-law or anyone else in the family as chairman of the party? Swalwell asked.

No. And I don’t think anyone in my family would be crazy enough to want to be chairman of the DNC, the Democratic National Committee, Biden said.

Was his father ever found worth $355 million? No, thank God he didn’t test Biden.

Email, text messages and his infamous laptop

The impeachment inquiry has focused on several items that Republicans cited as evidence as they tried to build their case, including emails, text messages and a laptop that is now in dispute.

One email from a business associate of Hunter Biden reportedly proposes holding a $10 million equity stake in their company for the big man, who Republicans say is President Biden. It’s a message that has become central to the Republican Party’s claims of influence-peddling, but one that another business associate, Rob Walker, has tested and been all bull.

Hunter Biden confirmed that he did not remember ever responding to the email. I’m not even sure I ever read this in full.

Further emails shown to the committee showed that any share distribution would be split equally among the five partners, including Hunter Biden and his longtime business partner, James Biden, his uncle, and the president’s brother. The business deal with a Chinese energy company never materialized and no one was paid.

Isn’t there a secret big guy in this email? asked a Democratic questioner.

No, it isn’t, Hunter Biden replied.

Joe Biden is nowhere in this agreement? he asked.

No he is not.

As for Hunter Biden’s laptop, which was reportedly delivered to a repair shop in Delaware and the source of many accusations against the Biden family, he tested that he has no memory of bringing it in.

If his computer needed repairs, he tested, I would have gone to the Apple Store.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


Hot Topics

Related Articles