Hunter Biden and his uncle James Biden have been subpoenaed Wednesday by the House Oversight Committee, which took the remarkable step of seeking depositions from family members of President Biden amid its impeachment inquiry.
As part of the request, the committee asked for James Biden’s wife, Sarah Biden, as well as Hunter Biden’s wife, Melissa Cohen, to sit for transcribed interviews. The panel also asks for interviews with Hallie Biden, the widow of Beau Biden, and her sister Elizabeth Secundy.
The subpoenas come weeks after the Oversight Committee demanded both Hunter and James Biden’s personal bank records, and also include a subpoena for Hunter Biden’s former business partner Rob Walker.
The panel is also requesting to speak with Tony Bobulinski, whom Hunter Biden’s attorney have accused of lying to the FBI.
The release from House Oversight Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) said he “plans to send additional subpoenas and transcribed interview requests later this week.”
The move to compel their testimony comes the day after special counsel David Weiss, the U.S. attorney for Delaware who is investigating Hunter Biden, sat for a voluntary interview with lawmakers on the House Judiciary Committee, another panel in the trio leading the investigation.
The subpoenas are the first major move since the election of Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), who has backed efforts to impeach President Biden even as he’s spoken of the need to use the congressional power sparingly.
The White House pointed to the challenge of electing Johnson and an impending government shutdown in dismissing the subpoenas as a “smear campaign” against the president.
“With just over a week to go until House Republicans may again thrust the country into a harmful and chaotic government shutdown, the most extreme voices in their party like James Comer are trying to distract from their repeated failures to govern,” Ian Sams, the White House’s oversight spokesperson, said in a memo.
“Despite spending millions of taxpayer dollars to conduct this probe, they have turned up no evidence to support their outlandish allegations of bribery and ‘high crimes and misdemeanors,’ which they claim are motivating their open-ended ‘impeachment inquiry.’”
And Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) noted that Republicans already had significant information on many of the figures they reached out to Wednesday.
“The Committee has already obtained the personal financial records of the three private citizens Chairman Comer has subpoenaed: the President’s brother, his son, and one of their business partners, Rob Walker. The Committee also has Mr. Walker’s interview with the FBI and the summary of his interview with the IRS, which Republicans have already released,” he said in a statement.
“These subpoenas and interview requests are yet further proof that this sham impeachment inquiry is driven only by the demands of the vengeful and prevaricating Donald Trump.”
The GOP investigation into the Bidens has multiple prongs, including claims the Bidens were engaged in influence peddling, as well as that some of that money flowed to President Biden himself during the vice presidency.
House Republicans have failed to demonstrate that President Biden took a bribe, and the White House has said his actions to topple a Ukrainian prosecutor for failure to address corruption had no connection with his son’s work on the board of a Ukrainian energy company. The White House has vigorously denied any wrongdoing.
And Weiss on Tuesday said he’s retained full control of the investigation into Hunter Biden, pushing back on GOP claims his prosecution was stymied by DOJ leadership.
The committee already has substantial information on Walker, who was previously interviewed by the FBI in 2020 and stated that President Biden had little insight on involvement into his son’s business practices.
“I certainly never was thinking at any time that the V. P. was a part of anything we were doing,” he told the bureau at the time.
That came in response to claims from Bobulinski, who Hunter Biden has said he was only briefly involved with, that the president’s son planned to hold money for a figure Bobulinski assumed to be his father.
Walker told the FBI it was “wishful thinking” President Biden would ever be involved in their business.
Since gaining access to the two Bidens’ personal banking records, Republicans have pointed to two checks between the brothers labeled as personal loans that were sent after Biden exited office.
While the GOP suggested they came after major business dealings, a $200,000 loan was repaid after James Biden’s work with an American company. A $40,000 check between the brothers came after Hunter Biden secured money from a Chinese company, later transferring some money to his uncle’s company, who later transferred it into his personal account.
Democrats have argued the funds show nothing more than a short-term loan between family members made while Biden was a private citizen.
While the GOP has fanned the flames, it has yet to find a smoking gun that implicates the president of directly benefiting from his family’s international business dealings or making policy decisions as vice president because of them.
The crux of the allegations stem back to President Biden’s efforts as vice president to remove Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin. Republicans argue those moves were not because of Shokin’s failure to address corruption, as Biden has said, but rather to benefit his son as he worked on the board of Ukrainian energy company Burisma.
But Biden’s actions were in line with those of the international community, and State Department correspondence from the time shows the U.S. withheld aid to Ukraine due to concern about Shokin’s failure to make meaningful reforms.
Shokin was also not prosecuting Burisma; his deputy has said an earlier investigation had gone dormant by the time Biden was involved. The U.S. concern over providing aid to Ukraine was because of Shokin’s failure to be an aggressive prosecutor.