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House Republicans invite Hunter Biden and former associates for a public hearing in mid-March

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republicans have invited Hunter Biden and his former business associates to appear at a public hearing later in March as part of the next step in their lengthy impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden.

The House Oversight and Accountability Committee announced it will hold a hearing on March 20 that is expected to include an appearance by the president's son and three former associates.

The 14-month investigation into the Biden family has primarily focused on Hunter Biden's overseas work in countries such as Ukraine and China. While lawmakers have unearthed ethically questionable behavior by the president's son and other family members, Republicans have yet to produce evidence of misconduct by Joe Biden while in public office.

Hunter Biden and his lawyer had insisted late last year that he appear for a public hearing instead of the private deposition he sat for last week that lasted more than seven hours, citing concerns that GOP lawmakers would distort his interview. The two sides ultimately agreed to a sit-down testimony first, followed by a public hearing.

It remains unclear whether Hunter Biden or any of the others have agreed to this proposed date by Republicans. A representative for his legal team said Wednesday evening that they had received the invitation and would respond in writing.

GOP Rep. James Comer of Kentucky, chairman of the Oversight and Accountability Committee, said he expects Hunter Biden to appear, “given the president’s son’s repeated calls for a public hearing."

The transcript of Hunter Biden's deposition provided a preview of what is surely to come if or when he appears for a public hearing. Biden was defiant throughout the private interview as Republican questions touched on business matters and his personal life, which has included times of addiction and turmoil.

“It seems to me that the Republican members wanted to spend more time talking about my client’s addiction than they could ask any question that had anything to do with what they call their impeachment inquiry," Abbe Lowell, Hunter Biden's attorney, told reporters last week.

Hunter Biden denied under oath that his father ever financially benefited or participated in any of his son's business work.

Republicans were undeterred by Hunter Biden's repudiation of their investigation and the lack of direct evidence to Joe Biden from anything that the younger Biden did in his financial affairs.

Comer justified holding a public hearing later this month by saying that during the deposition Hunter Biden made several statements that were contradictory to testimony from his former business associates.

House Democrats have remained unified in opposition to the investigation, calling it an “embarrassing spectacle” without any evidence and a waste of tax-payer dollars.

“In their last hearing, I urged them to fold up the circus tent, but they just came back with a three-ring circus instead," Rep. Jamie Raskin, the top Democrat on the Oversight Committee, said in a statement late Wednesday.