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Hunter Biden lawyer shoots down records request from House Republicans

A lawyer for the president's son said the committee “lacks a legitimate legislative purpose and oversight basis for requesting such records from Mr. Biden, who is a private citizen.”
WFP USA Board Chair Hunter Biden speaks during the World Food Program USA's 2016 McGovern-Dole Leadership Award Ceremony.
Hunter Biden speaks at an award ceremony in 2016 for the World Food Program USA.Kris Connor / Getty Image file

Hunter Biden's legal counsel on Thursday rejected a request from House Republicans for records and information related to his business dealings.

In a letter to House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., the lawyer, Abbe Lowell, said the committee “lacks a legitimate legislative purpose and oversight basis for requesting such records from Mr. Biden, who is a private citizen.” Lowell said they would not comply with the Republicans’ request but offered to meet with committee members “to see whether Mr. Biden has information that may inform some legitimate legislative purpose.”

Comer late Wednesday sent a letter to the president's son asking for information and records about his business dealings, specifically targeting his work in China and Ukraine. The panel is also seeking records from James Biden, the younger brother of President Joe Biden, and Hunter's business partner, Eric Schwerin. The committee had given the trio until Feb. 22 to respond before they decide whether to issue a subpoena.

In a statement on Thursday, Comer said the panel was investigating whether the president was involved in his family’s business dealings and whether he has “compromised national security.”

A spokesperson for the committee responded to Lowell's letter later Thursday, accusing the Bidens of "trying to stonewall Congress’ oversight and hide information about Joe Biden’s involvement in his family’s suspicious business practices."

"The American people demand transparency and oversight, not political coverups," the spokesperson said. "The Oversight Committee will continue its oversight and use all tools at its disposal to gather information critical to our investigation and to inform legislative solutions."

CBS was first to report Comer’s requests.

Republicans, including former President Donald Trump, have targeted Hunter Biden for years, but they have ramped up scrutiny after taking control of the House this year.

Among other records, the committee asked Hunter Biden to turn over any classified documents he may have in his possession. House Republicans — as well as the Justice Department — are looking into the president’s handling of classified documents from his time as vice president. 

The committee is also seeking records of any communications Hunter Biden may have had with his father, his uncle James Biden or his aunt Sara Jones Biden, between Jan. 20, 2009, and Jan. 20. 2021, related to various business matters.

The White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Republicans have long accused the president's son of using his father's political connections for personal gain. Hunter Biden's involvement with the Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma led to Trump's first impeachment after he asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to investigate the Bidens. Multiple investigations into the matter, including one led by Senate Republicans, found no evidence of wrongdoing.

“We want the bank records and that’s our focus,” Comer said during a press conference in November. “We’re trying to stay focused on: Was Joe Biden directly involved with Hunter Biden’s business deals and is he compromised? That’s our investigation.”

In addition to Burisma, Republicans have also zeroed in on Hunter Biden's business dealings in China. During his father's vice presidency, Hunter Biden was involved with an investment firm that sought to raise money in China. In 2019, Trump urged China to investigate the Bidens and falsely accused Hunter of using a 2013 trip he took with his father to China for financial gain.

Federal prosecutors have been investigating Hunter Biden's taxes since 2018, years before his father was elected president. He has denied any wrongdoing, saying, “I handled my affairs legally and appropriately.”

The Oversight Committee also held a hearing on Wednesday to investigate Twitter’s role in suppressing a story from the New York Post on Hunter Biden’s laptop. Comer accused the company of participating in a “coordinated campaign by social media companies, mainstream news, and the intelligence community to suppress and delegitimize the existence of Hunter Biden’s laptop.”

Yoel Roth, Twitter’s former head of trust and safety, said the company had concerns because the story “at first glance bore a lot of similarities to the 2016 Russian hack and leak operation targeting the DNC. We had to decide what to do. And in that moment, with limited information, we made a mistake.”