Comer says special counsel indicted Hunter Biden to ‘protect him’ from House GOP investigation

House Oversight Chair James Comer told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Friday he believes special counsel David Weiss indicted Hunter Biden to shield him from his scheduled deposition next week in front of Comer’s committee.

“My concern is that Weiss may have indicted Biden to protect him from him having to be deposed in the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday,” Comer said on CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper.”

Comer then went further, arguing that Weiss’ entire criminal investigation – which has now indicted Biden in two states and could send him to prison for more than 40 years – “has been about a cover up.”

The Kentucky Republican framed the dozen federal charges brought against Biden so far, relating to a 2018 gun purchase and an alleged tax evasion scheme, as “the least little thing.”

“Look what he’s done,” Comer said. “Anybody else in America would already be in prison.”

In the interview, Comer repeatedly claimed Hunter Biden is guilty of illegal foreign lobbying and “influence peddling” schemes involving his father. Hunter Biden hasn’t been charged with lobbying offenses and nothing in the indictments backs up the GOP claims that Joe Biden was involved in his son’s business deals.

Comer’s comments come as he has demanded Hunter Biden appear for a closed-door deposition on December 13. Biden’s attorney, Abbe Lowell, has told Congress his client is only willing to appear for a public hearing. If Biden does not appear on Wednesday, Comer said he will hold the president’s son in contempt of Congress for evading his subpoena, taking the standoff to a breaking point.

Lowell told CNN’s Pamela Brown Friday evening that a decision had not yet been made on whether his client will appear for the deposition.

Lowell also told Brown that Comer’s suggestion Hunter Biden was charged to protect him was “ridiculous.” Had the Republican chairman argued the move was to protect the special counsel, Lowell said he might have agreed.

“(Weiss is) doing this because he took such unbearable pressure and heat and criticism on June when we did the deal that he reneged and now he’s going to show over and over again that he is not going to make another mistake that subjects him to that kind of political pressure,” he told Brown on “The Source.”

The criminal case into the president’s son was nearly resolved in July, but a planned plea deal fell apart after scrutiny from a federal judge and legal disputes between the two sides.

The new tax charges stem from Hunter Biden’s lucrative overseas business dealings – including his involvement with Ukrainian energy company Burisma and a Chinese private equity fund – which are at the center of House Republicans’ impeachment inquiry into Joe Biden.

This story has been updated with additional details.

CNN’s Kaanita Iyer contributed to this report.

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