WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A former associate of Hunter Biden appeared before a congressional panel on Monday for an interview that Republican lawmakers hope will shed light on unproven allegations against Democratic President Joe Biden and his family.
Devon Archer, who was subpoenaed by the House of Representatives Oversight Committee in June, appeared for an interview behind closed doors led by committee staff. Allies of former President Donald Trump are calling for an impeachment inquiry against Joe Biden.
House Republicans allege that Hunter Biden used his father’s status as vice president in an influence peddling scheme while sitting on the board of Ukraine energy company Burisma nearly a decade ago. They hope Archer can provide evidence that the president was directly involved in his son’s alleged dealings.
Burisma played a central role in Trump’s 2019 impeachment over his alleged efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens and help him win re-election. A Republican-majority Senate later acquitted Trump.
Representative Jamie Raskin, the committee’s top Democrat, said last week that the Republican investigation of the Bidens has shown a pattern of concealing key evidence to advance “a false and distorted narrative” and has failed to develop any evidence of wrongdoing.
Claims of Biden wrongdoing in Ukraine have also been contradicted by former Trump insider Lev Parnas, who helped former New York City Mayor and one-time Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani try to dig up damaging information about the Bidens in Ukraine.
But Republicans remain undaunted.
“We know that Devon Archer has met and communicated many, many times with Joe Biden about Burisma and other things,” House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer told Fox News on Sunday.
Comer’s committee has also heard testimony from two Internal Revenue Service whistleblowers who say their investigation of Hunter Biden was stymied by the U.S. Justice Department, claims that House Republicans view as evidence of political influence to ensure a lenient treatment for the president’s son.
Biden’s son appeared in court last week amid expectations that he would plead guilty to two tax charges and avoid a gun charge. But the judge in the case said she could not accept the plea agreement with prosecutors.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy warned last week that -Republicans could begin an impeachment inquiry against President Biden if the federal agencies fail to cooperate with oversight committees probing his administration and family’s business dealings.
Some Republicans dismissed the warning as part of an effort by the speaker to rally his House majority behind appropriations bills, as the chamber prepares for a showdown over spending with the Democratic-led Senate.
(Reporting by David Morgan and Jonathan Ernst; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)