Republicans trash Hunter Biden at Judiciary Committee meeting on impeachment

The former vice president's son came under attack for his work for a Ukrainian company and past substance abuse issues.

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By Dartunorro Clark

Republicans dragged Hunter Biden's name through the mud Thursday at the House Judiciary Committee meeting on two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., recounted Biden's admitted past drug abuse — which quickly backfired when Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., hinted at the Florida lawmaker's own past substance abuse problems.

During the committee meeting, Gaetz introduced an amendment to strike a reference of former Vice President Joe Biden from the articles of impeachment and put in Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company, and Hunter Biden, who sat on the board of that company.

Gaetz then read aloud from an extensive profile of Hunter Biden in The New Yorker, which detailed Biden's past drug abuse and an incident in which he crashed a rental car and an official from the company found "a crack pipe in the car and, on one of the consoles, a line of white-powder residue."

Hunter Biden speaks on stage at the World Food Program USA's Annual McGovern-Dole Leadership Award Ceremony at Organization of American States on April 12, 2016 in Washington.Teresa Kroeger / Getty Images file

"I don't want to make light of anyone's substance abuse issues ... but it's a little hard to believe that Burisma hired Hunter Biden to resolve their international disputes when he could not resolve his own dispute with Hertz rental car over leaving cocaine and a crack pipe in the car," Gaetz said.

Johnson, D-Ga., shot back and hinted at Gaetz's 2008 arrest on charges of driving under the influence.

"The pot calling the kettle black is not something we should do," Johnson said. "I don't know what members have had problems with substance abuse, been busted for DUI — I don't know. But if I did, I wouldn't raise it against anyone."

The charges against Gaetz were later dropped, according to PolitiFact.

Other Republicans on the committee also went after Hunter Biden by questioning if he had the experience to work at Burisma and claiming his political connections got him the job.

Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, alleged Hunter Biden got a “sweetheart deal” working at Burisma, while Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Ohio, claimed that Democrats were trying to sweep his conflicts "under the rug."

"And nearly every single witness who testified at the Intelligence Committee impeachment inquiry agreed that Hunter Biden's Burisma deal created at the very least the appearance of a conflict of interest," Chabot said. "Yet, the Democrats on the Intelligence Committee and Chairman (Adam) Schiff and Democrats in this committee are determined to sweep all this under the rug, ignore it, not let us call witnesses on it and instead rush to impeach this president."

A representative for Hunter Biden did not immediately return a request for comment.