House Republicans Suddenly Chill With Public Hunter Biden Testimony—Now That They Officially Have Nothing

This is your TPM evening briefing.
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 28: Committee Chairman James Comer (R-KY) speaks to reporters following the closed-door deposition of Hunter Biden, son of U.S. President Joe Biden, in front of the House Committee on Oversi... WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 28: Committee Chairman James Comer (R-KY) speaks to reporters following the closed-door deposition of Hunter Biden, son of U.S. President Joe Biden, in front of the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability, and House Judiciary Committee in the O'Neill House Office Building on February 28, 2024 in Washington, DC. The meeting is part of the Republicans' impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images) MORE LESS
Start your day with TPM.
Sign up for the Morning Memo newsletter

They never really had anything to begin with.

You’ll recall that this fall House Republicans on the Oversight Committee spent weeks getting really worked up on Fox News about how Hunter Biden was defying their subpoenas and evading congressional testimony as part of their bogus impeachment inquiry into President Biden. With the impeachment push, Republicans were supposedly less interested in Hunter’s personal life, the details of which had obsessed them at other times, and more in various airy and Giulianiesque allegations trumpeted in the right-wing press, speculating that Hunter had been involved with a bribe that was paid to the President himself.

Hunter had actually agreed to show up for a deposition, but requested that it be held in public, rather than behind closed doors. The President’s son, his attorney said, did not trust that House Republicans would accurately convey his private testimony to the public. And why would he after they’d spent years using his private life to accuse his father of fake crimes?

At the time, House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer (R-KY) insisted that Hunter was trying to “play by his own rules instead of following the rules.” In reality, it was around this time that it started to become overwhelmingly clear that House Republicans did not have the promised evidence that would show President Biden to be guilty of “high crimes and misdemeanors” — or anything at all. Their star witnesses admitted as much during the first hearing for their impeachment inquiry/retribution crusade. It would’ve been a bit risky to hold another public hearing so quickly after the embarrassment of the first.

Hunter did ultimately end up providing the committee with a closed-door deposition, just days after it was revealed last month that Alexander Smirnov, another key source for Republicans — particularly for the claim that President Biden took a bribe to help his son — was arrested and charged with making false statements to the FBI. DOJ officials alleged in the indictment that Smirnov made up the bribery tip because he was opposed to Biden’s candidacy for U.S. president.

The closed-door hearing did not go well for Republicans, either, and failed to produce any sort of smoking gun. As expected, it was ultimately rather dumb. For example:

So now that their big tipster’s been arrested as they run out of time to impeach Joe Biden before the election, House Republicans are desperate to squeeze any remaining juice they can from their Hunter Biden humiliation crusade. So, Republicans on the panel invited Hunter and some of his former business associates to testify publicly before Congress on March 20. TBD if the President’s son will play along much longer.

The Best Of TPM Today

The Unholy Alliance Of Donald Trump And Elon Musk

Yesterday’s Most Read Story

In The Winter Of Our Trump Discontent, Things Look Bleak — David Kurtz

What We Are Reading

Ex-Congressional candidate Dan Rodimer wanted for murder in Las Vegas — KSNV

The Problem With Finance Is the Problem of Capitalism — Jacobin

Dean Phillips ends longshot primary challenge against President Biden — WaPo

Latest Where Things Stand

Notable Replies

  1. Go fish! Time to impeach that ancient arsehole Chuck Grassley for years of spurious allegations leading to Hunter’s inquisition (once the Dems take the US House.)

  2. Not that it really mattered, all that matters is moving the metaphorical ball down the field. They knew it was a sham to begin with and they just took it as far a they could.

    Their superpower is that they have no shame, that and lust for power.

  3. I don’t think Senators are subject to impeachment, although I’d gladly make an exception for Grassley-the-odious.

  4. We could still make Chuck Grassley’s name synonymous with the phrase partisan hack.
    More than it already is, I mean.

  5. Avatar for daled daled says:

    Their 2 superpowers are to have no shame, a lust for power, and an almost comical ability to shoot themselves in the foot.Their THREE superpowers are…

    image

Continue the discussion at forums.talkingpointsmemo.com

49 more replies

Participants

Avatar for daled Avatar for josephebacon Avatar for becca656 Avatar for dont Avatar for danny Avatar for stradivarius50t3 Avatar for leftcoaster Avatar for serendipitoussomnambulist Avatar for hoagie Avatar for commanderogg Avatar for fiftygigs Avatar for darrtown Avatar for wagonmound Avatar for bkmn Avatar for tsp Avatar for edgarant Avatar for known_thespian Avatar for marknc Avatar for brian512 Avatar for demosthenes59 Avatar for davidn Avatar for dominic Avatar for Fire_Joni_Ernst Avatar for classicguitarnj

Continue Discussion
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: