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Lev Parnas to testify as Democrats’ witness at hearing on Hunter Biden

Democrats have secured Lev Parnas, a convicted former aide to Rudy Giuliani, as their witness for a Republican-led hearing Wednesday to review Hunter Biden’s financial activity, in the absence of the president’s son himself.

Parnas is just the latest addition to an unusual slate of witnesses after Biden declined to appear for the House Oversight and Accountability Committee hearing titled “Influence Peddling: Examining Joe Biden’s Abuse of Public Office.” He is due to appear in court in California the following day in his case related to failure to pay taxes.

Republicans have assembled two witnesses sure to be antagonistic to Biden: his short-lived business associate Tony Bobulinski, whom Biden has requested an investigation into, as well as Jason Galanis, who is currently incarcerated and whom Biden says he has met one time.

Devon Archer, Biden’s former business partner who was indicted alongside Galanis and convicted, declined an invitation to appear.

Democrats see Parnas as a foil to Bobulinski and Galanis, as someone formerly enmeshed in Trump world who has since spoken out about his role with Giuliani. Parnas now says he was never able to find dirt on the Bidens while tasked with investigating their conduct in Ukraine and accuses the Trump team of peddling information it knew to be false.

“Parnas will be able to share firsthand evidence about Donald Trump and Republicans’ efforts to dig up dirt on Joe Biden and their willingness to promote any source no matter the credibility, from corrupt former Ukrainian officials to crooks and Russian agents,” according to a source with Oversight Committee Democrats.

“The lies may change but the playbook remains the same. Republicans will exploit any lie from any source to attack Joe Biden and help Trump, even a Russian or Chinese agent, a discredited business partner, or a serial fraudster.”

In 2022, Parnas was sentenced to 20 months in prison for fraud and campaign finance crimes. He was released last September.

In the intervening months, he’s been critical of Republicans for pushing the narrative that the president took any action in Ukraine to benefit his son.

“Throughout all these months of work, the extensive campaigns and networking done by Trump allies and Giuliani associates, including the enormously thorough interviews and assignments that I undertook, there has never been any evidence that Hunter or Joe Biden committed any crimes related to Ukrainian politics,” Parnas said in a July letter encouraging the GOP to drop its investigation into the Biden family.

He said Giuliani and all others involved in the matter “knew that these allegations against the Bidens were false.”

“Never, during any of my communications with Ukrainian officials or connections to Burisma, did any of them confirm or provide concrete facts linking the Bidens to illegal activities. In fact, they asked me multiple times why our team was so concerned with this idea,” he wrote.

Parnas will be appearing alongside Bobulinski, who had a short-lived business relationship with the younger Biden. The two briefly worked together on a venture with a Chinese energy company, though Bobulinski does not appear to have been a major player in the deal. Still, he has suggested a reference to “the big guy” on an email chain he was part of was a nod to the president.

Bobulinski was later invited to the presidential debates by former President Trump and is represented by Stefan Passantino, who represented several Trump administration officials before the now-disbanded Jan. 6 House committee.

Biden, through his attorney, has called for an investigation into Bobulinski, including whether he lied to the FBI.

Galanis will appear remotely from a federal prison in Alabama, where he is serving time for his role in two fraud schemes, including one defrauding a Native American tribe.

Galanis was indicted in the schemes alongside Archer.

It’s not clear to what extent Galanis has any insight into Biden’s activities, though he told the Oversight Committee that he once witnessed him put his father on speakerphone while at a meeting with business associates.

Biden in his own closed-door deposition said he hardly knows Galanis.

“I think that 10 years ago, for 30 minutes, I was introduced to Jason Galanis, and that’s only ― the only time I ever recall meeting him,” Biden told lawmakers.

Archer declined an invitation for the hearing, with his attorney telling GOP officials they simply did not give enough notice, apparently failing to send along the March 6 hearing invitation when it was first announced.

“I write in response to your end-of-day e-mail from Friday, which asks whether Mr. Archer ‘intends to appear at the hearing on Wednesday.’ The answer is no, Mr. Archer and I are not available to meet on Wednesday; Mr. Archer is out of state and not even in this time zone at the moment,” his attorney wrote Monday in a letter obtained by The Hill.

“Providing such short notice for a witness’s public appearance before the Committee on a matter of national importance is patently unreasonable.”

Biden’s attorney likewise complained of timelines when the hearing was announced, saying Republicans did not reach out to inquire about his availability before scheduling the hearing.

“I must confess my surprise by your hasty request. After that six-plus hour deposition on February 28, 2024, along with the realization that your inquiry was based on a patchwork of conspiracies spun by convicted liars and a charged Russian spy, I thought even you would recognize your baseless impeachment proceeding was dead,” Abbe Lowell wrote, nodding to Biden’s closed-door testimony last month.

“Even before Mr. Biden testified, witness after witness undermined the central premise of your partisan charade. President Biden has done nothing wrong and certainly nothing, even in your misapplication of the impeachment provisions of the Constitution, to warrant further proceedings.”

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