Hunter Biden appears behind closed doors for impeachment testimony Hunter Biden appeared behind closed doors to provide testimony in the House GOP impeachment inquiry into his father, President Joe Biden.

After months-long battle with GOP, Hunter Biden appears for impeachment testimony

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

For more than six hours today, Hunter Biden testified in a closed-door session in front of a panel of lawmakers. At issue, the impeachment probe that House Republicans have taken up against his father, President Biden. But Hunter Biden's lawyer said afterwards that testimony was hardly about that.

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ABBE LOWELL: 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.

KELLY: Today's session does make good on Republicans' months-long effort to question Hunter Biden, even though they have failed to prove any wrongdoing by President Biden. NPR congressional correspondent Claudia Grisales is here to tell us more. Hey, there.

CLAUDIA GRISALES, BYLINE: Hey, there.

KELLY: All right, so there were all these predictions that this testimony could go on until well into the night. But instead, Hunter Biden was out the door in time to, if he wants to, make an early dinner.

GRISALES: Right.

KELLY: What did we actually learn?

GRISALES: Right, there was one member, Democrat Jamie Raskin of Maryland, who told me he thought this day could go quickly because his party didn't have a lot of questions for Hunter Biden. And he argued Republicans were frustrated by the lack of information that they got to try to prove their argument there was any involvement by President Biden. We do know from Hunter Biden's opening remarks, which NPR obtained, that he really pushed back on this impeachment probe before the Republican-led House Judiciary and Oversight committees. And he echoed some of the same statements made by the president's brother, James Biden, who appeared in closed-door testimony to these same panels last week.

KELLY: Like what? What was he echoing? What else did we learn from these opening remarks?

GRISALES: Well, he said he was there to show, quote, "one uncontested fact." That is, he argued, the false premise of this inquiry. He said he did not involve his father in these business dealings as a lawyer, as an investor, as a board member, as an artist. He said the probe was a, quote, "partisan" political pursuit that was built on a "house of cards," and that it was based on lies told by witnesses facing credibility issues because they're facing their own criminal cases. He also reiterated he made mistakes in his life and said he squandered opportunities and privileges that were afforded to him. And he said he's responsible for that, he's making amends for that. But he also reiterated those mistakes are his own and not the president's. And he added that his father saved his life.

KELLY: Again, this was a closed-door hearing, so we don't know exactly what was said behind those doors. But lawmakers are coming and going from the room.

GRISALES: Right.

KELLY: What are Republicans saying about what they heard in his testimony?

GRISALES: They were upbeat. The Republican chairs of these committees - that's Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan and Oversight Chair James Comer - said that this was a great deposition for them. But Comer in particular claimed that Hunter Biden made contradictory statements. Here he is talking to reporters.

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JAMES COMER: I think this was a great deposition for us. It proved several bits of our evidence that we've been conducting throughout this investigation. But there were also some contradictory statements that I think need further review.

GRISALES: But he did not elaborate on what those contradictions were, so we may learn later.

KELLY: And what is the next step in all of this?

GRISALES: Well, Comer said that a public hearing is being planned where we expect to see Hunter Biden now testify publicly. This was Hunter Biden's original demand. This is how they got in this back-and-forth for months over his testimony, until Hunter Biden finally relented and said he would appear behind closed doors. Comer also said they expect to release transcripts in the coming days. But as for the overall impeachment inquiry, it's really unclear if Republicans will hit that threshold in a very narrowly controlled majority in the House to convince all of their members to try to impeach the president.

KELLY: NPR's Claudia Grisales on Capitol Hill tonight. Thank you, Claudia.

GRISALES: Thank you.

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