House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) on Thursday released the transcript of a closed-door interview the panel conducted with Devon Archer, the former business associate of Hunter Biden whom Republicans view as a key witness in their investigation into the Biden family’s business dealings.
In the days between the interview and the release of the transcript, House members have offered conflicting interpretations of the testimony, with Republicans arguing it proved that President Biden “lied” when he said he had never spoken to his son about his foreign business dealings, and Democrats claiming the opposite and saying the testimony showed the president was not involved in his son’s business dealings.
Archer sat for a transcribed interview with the Oversight Committee for more than five hours on Monday. The transcript spans 141 pages, and is accompanied by 24 pages of documents discussed during the interview.
“Today, we are releasing the transcript from Devon Archer’s interview with our committee,” the House Oversight Committee wrote on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.
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Following Archer’s closed-door interview, lawmakers said the witness testified that Hunter Biden sometimes put President Biden, then the vice president, on speakerphone with foreign business partners. Lawmakers also said Archer discussed Hunter Biden selling the “illusion of access” to his father.
Comer on Thursday pointed out several “key exchanges” from Archer’s testimony, including a claim from the Archer that Burisma, the Ukrainian energy company he and Hunter Biden sat on the board of, “would have gone out of business if it didn’t have the brand attached to it.”
He also highlighted exchanges about two dinners Joe Biden attended with Hunter Biden’s foreign business associates in 2014 and 2015 at Cafe Milano in Washington, D.C.
But in another part of his testimony, when asked if he was aware of any wrongdoing by President Biden, Archer responded “no, I’m not aware of any.”
In a statement on Thursday, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), the ranking member of the Oversight panel, fired back at Comer and reiterated that Archer’s testimony shoots down the idea that President Biden was involved in his son’s business dealings.
“Once again, Committee Republicans’ priority investigation into President Biden has failed to produce any evidence of wrongdoing by President Biden,” Raskin wrote. “On Monday, Devon Archer, Hunter Biden’s former business associate, confirmed in a transcribed interview that President Biden was never involved in Hunter’s business dealings, never profited from such dealings, and never took official action in relation to these business dealings.”
“Mr. Archer repeatedly explained that across a decade-long relationship with Hunter Biden, he was not aware of President Biden ever discussing Hunter Biden’s business. Instead, Devon Archer described how Hunter Biden sold the ‘illusion’ of access to his father—access he never actually provided,” he added.
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) speaks to reporters as he leaves the Capitol following the last vote before a five-week district work period on Thursday, July 27, 2023.
House Republicans for months have been trying to link President Biden to his son’s business dealings. Last month, Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) floated launching an impeachment inquiry into Biden, pointing to testimony from IRS whistleblowers that accuse prosecutors of slow-walking the investigation into Hunter Biden’s tax crimes.
Comer released the transcript of Archer’s testimony hours before former President Trump is scheduled to be arraigned in Washington, D.C., after he was indicted on four counts stemming from his efforts to remain in power following the 2020 elections. When news broke of the charges on Tuesday, several Republicans — including McCarthy — said the indictment was an effort to distract from Archer’s testimony and other GOP-led investigations.
“Everyone in America could see what was going to come next: DOJ’s attempt to distract from the news and attack the frontrunner for the Republican nomination, President Trump,” McCarthy wrote in a tweet, pointing to claims Republicans have made throughout their investigations and a poll that has Trump well ahead of his GOP primary opponents.
FILE – Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., holds a news conference as the House prepared to leave for its August recess, at the Capitol in Washington, July 27, 2023. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
Raskin, meanwhile, argued that Comer released the transcript on Thursday in an effort to distract from Trump’s indictment and upcoming arraignment.
“The transcript released today shows the extent to which Congressional Republicans are willing to distort, twist, and manipulate the facts presented by their own witness just to keep fueling the far-right media’s obsession with fabricating wrongdoing by President Biden in a desperate effort to distract from Donald Trump’s third indictment and the overwhelming evidence of his persistent efforts to undermine American democracy,” he said.
The White House slammed Republicans following Archer’s highly-anticipated transcribed interview earlier this week, claiming that the testimony showed that the president did nothing wrong.
“It appears that the House Republicans’ own much-hyped witness today testified that he never heard of President Biden discussing business with his son or his son’s associates, or doing anything wrong,” Ian Sams, White House spokesperson for oversight and investigations, said in a statement. “House Republicans keep promising bombshell evidence to support their ridiculous attacks against the President, but time after time, they keep failing to produce any. In fact, even their own witnesses appear to be debunking their allegations.”
Updated at 12:42 p.m.