Hunter Biden was lost and now he’s found. That was the quasi-Biblical subtext of the president’s prodigal son’s speech outside Congress yesterday.
“For six years, I have been the target of the unrelenting Trump attack machine shouting ‘Where’s Hunter?’,” Hunter Biden told reporters. “Well, here is my answer, I am here.”
If Hunter’s statement was meant to put the Republicans on the back foot, it did not work. House Republicans James Comer and Jim Jordan vowed instead to launch contempt of Congress proceeding against Hunter. Hours later, the thin Republican majority in Congress voted to formalize its impeachment inquiry into Joe Biden. The impeachment inquiry process, Republicans insist, will give Congress the power it needs to force the Biden family to answer questions it doesn’t want to answer.
For all of Biden’s ‘nothing to see here’ patter, the GOP House Committee has produced convincing-looking evidence
In his extraordinary remarks yesterday, Hunter Biden emphasized his contempt for the “MAGA right.” He accused Republicans of maligning him and his father “for political purposes,” which is obviously true.
Republicans have spent the last three years in Congress and elsewhere trying — not altogether without success — to establish that “the Biden crime family,” as Donald Trump likes to put it, was using the now-president’s political clout to sell influence abroad. They also allege, on somewhat thinner ground, that “big guy” Joe was involved in Hunter’s schemes himself.
Team Biden’s tactic in response to the allegations has generally been to refuse to engage. Hunter, for instance, has been defying a Republican subpoena to attend a closed-door session of their House Committee investigation into his business dealings. Yesterday, however, he upped the ante.
“(The MAGA-right) have lied over and over about every aspect of my personal and professional life, so much so that their lies have become the false facts believed by too many people,” he said.
“Let me state as clearly as I can. My father was not financially involved in my business, not as a practicing lawyer, not as a board member of Burisma, not in my partnership with the Chinese private businessman, not in my investments home nor abroad, and certainly not as an artist.”
Hunter said he would be willing to testify publicly. “I am here today… to answer any of the Committee’s legitimate questions… (But) Republicans do not want an open process where Americans can see their tactics, expose their baseless inquiry, or hear what I have to say. What are they afraid of? I am here. I am ready.”
In reply, Jim Jordan pointed towards Hunter’s statement that his father was not “financially involved” in his business dealings. “That’s an important qualifier,” said Jordan. “What involvement was it? That’s why we want to ask these questions with important witnesses and that’s why this resolution is important.”
The Republicans say they needed to formalize their impeachment inquiry because the White House has been refusing to cooperate with their congressional hearing on the grounds that it is “unconstitutional harassment.” Now that the House has voted in favor, that defense appears to have gone.
After the vote, President Biden issued a lengthy statement calling it a “baseless political stunt.” He said:
“I wake up every day focused on the issues facing the American people — real issues that impact their lives, and the strength and security of our country and the world. Unfortunately, House Republicans are not joining me.”
But that, as he should know, is the wicked lesson that you teach, when you practice to impeach. The Democrats spent four years hounding Trump through congressional inquiries, many of them spurious. They impeached him twice. Revenge was almost inevitable.
And, for all of Biden’s “nothing to see here” patter, the GOP House Committee has produced convincing-looking evidence — including bank statements showing payments from foreign entities and testimonies from Hunter’s former business associates — to suggest that the Biden family is not as purely committed to public service as it makes out.
If all these allegations are baseless or fraudulent, the Biden family is doing a bad job of proving that’s the case.
Hunter can keep accusing Republicans of lying, of “cherry-picking” facts for nefarious reasons. He can keep issuing mawkish statements about how the Grand Old Party has “taken the light of my dad’s love for me and presented it as darkness.” But that won’t stop the Republicans digging.
This article was originally published on The Spectator’s UK website.