Hunter to Face a Moment of Truth Before the House Oversight Committee – JONATHAN TURLEY

Below is my column in the New York Post on the confirmation that Hunter Biden will finally appear before Congress on December 13th. After years of delays and denials, Biden will now be faced with questions not from an enabling media but an investigating committee. While he once pledged to do “exactly what the Chairman wants,” he is about to face another chairman in James Comer who wants something that Hunter has previously refused to supply: answers.

Here is the column:

“The Bidens are the best at doing exactly what the Chairman wants.”

Those words from Hunter Biden to a Chinese businessman came at the height of the alleged influence peddling by the Biden family.

After years of delay and denials, the House is about to confirm exactly what the Bidens were so good at doing . . . and what foreign figures wanted so much that they were willing to pay the Bidens millions.

Hunter Biden is now scheduled to appear before the House Oversight Committee on Dec. 13 to answer questions about what is alleged to be the largest influence-peddling operation in history.

Despite being subpoenaed, Hunter is still demanding conditions for answering questions.

His lawyer, Abbe Lowell, previously said Hunter would testify only when “the time is right” and is now saying that Hunter would testify in public, not the scheduled private session.

Republicans rejected that demand.

Biden has long shown a sense of entitlement when asked about his past.

Even with supportive journalists, Hunter has snapped at questions and instructed them to “say it nicer.”

The House Oversight Committee historically is that place where nice went to die. Hunter will now have to answer questions on the pain of perjury after years of protection from the media and Democratic-controlled houses.

For decades, the Bidens (including Hunter’s uncles) have cashed in on their connections to Joe Biden when he was a senator, vice president and later president.

Despite that history, the Bidens have been able to largely avoid inquiries into their alleged corrupt practices. This was facilitated by an obliging media that long dismissed the scandal. Recently, media figures are admitting that Hunter was indeed selling influence, but insist that it was an “illusion.”

When witnesses detailed how Joe Biden would call into meetings or dinners and be put on speakerphone with foreign associates, Democratic members like Rep. Dan Goldman (D-NY) insisted it was merely “niceties.”

The committee will now be able to ask Hunter Biden for specific answers on millions in transfers from foreign sources using dozens of shell companies and accounts. This money found its way to a variety of Bidens, including grandchildren.

There were diamonds as gifts, lavish bank accounts and a sports car to account for. There were massive payments that Hunter claimed as “loans” without any written schedule for repayment, any contract, or interest.

There are emails where Hunter discusses paying the bills of his father and accounts (and credit cards) used jointly, including paying for prostitution.

There are messages like the one to the Chairman openly threatening the displeasure of Joe Biden if money is not sent to them immediately. In the WhatsApp message, Hunter stated:

“I am sitting here with my father and we would like to understand why the commitment made has not been fulfilled. Tell the director that I would like to resolve this now before it gets out of hand, and now means tonight. And, Z, if I get a call or text from anyone involved in this other than you, Zhang, or the Chairman, I will make certain that between the man sitting next to me and every person he knows and my ability to forever hold a grudge that you will regret not following my direction. I am sitting here waiting for the call with my father.”

‘Man sitting next to him’

Hunter will now have to answer for exactly what the “man sitting next” to him was prepared to do if money did not continue to flow to the Biden family.

There are other specific communications that will likely be raised with Hunter. For example, Devon Archer reportedly recounted how, in 2015, Mykola Zlochevsky and Vadym Pozharski, two executives of the corrupt Ukrainian energy firm Burisma, pressed Hunter to “get help from D.C.” to fire a Ukrainian prosecutor who was investigating Burisma for corruption. Archer said that Hunter, Zlochevsky and Pozharski stepped away to make the call.

Hunter can also address communications with government officials on behalf of foreign clients. His access to top officials was clearly due to his family name and influence.

The irony is that the long delay in bringing Hunter to this moment could prove his undoing. The committee has waited until it collected a massive amount of data and records on these financial records. It has interviewed witnesses on the influence-peddling operation.

Hunter must now address highly specific questions and evidence under oath. If he is found to have lied, he can be charged with a criminal felony.

The threat of prosecution is real. Hunter has benefited from the Justice Department limiting its investigation and inexplicably allowing the statute of limitations to run on key charges.

False statements on any of these questions could result in new charges and pressure on Attorney General Merrick Garland to prosecute. After all, Trump officials were prosecuted for contempt of Congress under Garland.

Hunter is likely to cite his past drug use and the passage of time for failing to remember details. He continues to vacillate on whether the laptop itself is really his or, as he has suggested in the past, possible Russian disinformation.

The use of his drug addiction as a defense was successful with the media, but is likely to be less so with Congress. During periods where he claims to have been a hopeless junkie, he was a key player in a global influence-peddling scheme netting millions through a complex labyrinth of accounts.

Hunter will have to testify at his own peril for the first time under oath and leave the niceties behind.

Jonathan Turley is an attorney and professor at George Washington University Law School.

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