Hunter Biden will sit for a closed-door deposition with the House Oversight and Judiciary committees on Feb. 28 as part of the GOP’s impeachment inquiry into President Biden, the panels announced on Thursday.
The move comes after Hunter Biden skirted a Dec. 13 deposition date, arguing the panels had walked back their offer of a public hearing. That prompted lawmakers to threaten him with contempt of Congress.
“Hunter Biden will appear before our committees for a deposition on February 28, 2024. His deposition will come after several interviews with Biden family members and associates. We look forward to Hunter Biden’s testimony,” House Oversight and Accountability Committee Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) and House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) wrote in a statement.
Lawmakers did not, however, provide any details about an earlier pledge to allow Hunter Biden to testify publicly if he first sat for a closed-door deposition.
The confirmed date is a significant development for House GOP lawmakers, who for months have sought Biden’s testimony as part of their multi-pronged impeachment inquiry into the president. Republicans have been looking into Hunter Biden’s business activities and personal life, probing alleged “influence peddling” by him while his father was vice president.
News of the deposition marks the culmination of weeks of back-and-forth between Hunter Biden’s team and the GOP-led committees over securing that testimony, which hit a fever pitch last week when Republicans advanced resolutions to hold the younger Biden in contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena in December.
The panels issued Biden a subpoena in November, requesting that he sit for a closed-door deposition in December, but Biden’s team had insisted that he participate in a public hearing, noting that Comer has previously said he would “drop everything” if Hunter wanted to come before the panel.
The president’s son also cited concern that the panels would selectively leak and misconstrue his testimony.
Instead of appearing for a closed-door deposition, Hunter Biden delivered a statement on the Senate lawn.
“There’s no evidence to support the allegations that my father was financially involved in my business, because it did not happen,” he said at the time.
While the GOP has confirmed the deposition, they did not confirm a date that would uphold the other half of the deal they made — allowing Hunter Biden a public hearing.
“I’m not gonna get into negotiations,” Jordan told The Hill.
Comer — who during last week’s contempt markup said he could “guarantee” a public hearing — also declined to give specifics.
“I mean, he said he wanted to, so he’s, you know, I’ve said all along he can come for a public hearing after the deposition,” he said.
But Rep. Jamie Raskin (Md.), the top Democrats on the Oversight Committee, said he was worried GOP leaders may renege.
“You have to start with the premise that for the MAGA right, this is performance art. It’s not a search for the truth or for justice. So if they think that a public hearing will be good performance art and to their political benefit, they’ll do it. And if they think it will boomerang against them and blow up in their face the way most of their hearings have, they won’t do it,” Raskin said.
“I was also there when they told Hunter Biden he could, he could come before the full committee or he could do a deposition and he chose the full committee and they reneged on that.”
Last week, as Republicans barreled towards a House vote on holding Hunter Biden in contempt of Congress, his lawyer, Abbe Lowell, said the younger Biden would be willing to sit for a deposition if the Oversight and Judiciary Committees issued him new subpoenas.
The attorney argued that the initial requests were invalid because they were issued before the House voted to authorize its impeachment inquiry, a vote that was backed by the entire GOP conference.
Comer and Jordan initially balked at the request, calling their subpoenas “lawful” and vowing to move ahead with holding Biden in contempt of Congress. But days later, Republicans scrapped plans to advance the measure to the full House for a vote, and a spokesperson for the Oversight Committee said the two parties were “working to schedule Hunter Biden’s appearance.”
Feb. 28, the day Biden is scheduled to sit for a closed-door deposition, will mark the third time the president’s son visited Capitol Hill amid the GOP’s impeachment inquiry. In addition to his public statement in December, Biden made a surprise appearance at an Oversight Committee hearing earlier this month, when lawmakers were marking up a resolution to hold him in contempt of Congress.
Lowell, his lawyer, delivered a statement in a Capitol hallway after the pair sat in the hearing room for a few minutes.
“The Republican chairs today then are commandeering an unprecedented resolution to hold someone in contempt who has offered to publicly answer all their proper questions,” Lowell said. “The question there is, what are they afraid of?”
Emily Brooks contributed.
Updated at 6:14 p.m.