Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) broke with House Republican leaders Tuesday and expressed support for letting Hunter Biden testify in a public hearing rather than behind closed doors in a deposition before the investigating House committee.
“My view is that the American people have a right to see, and also, you know, they should evaluate this for themselves,” Hawley said in an interview with Fox Business correspondent Hillary Vaughn.
“I mean, if you do this stuff in private, what happens is there’s inevitably bunches of leaks and then it’s, you know, ‘Well, so-and-so said this,’ and ‘so-and-so said that.’ It’s like, just do it in public, and let the public see,” Hawley added. “Open the doors so you all could report on it.”
Hawley’s comments come after Abbe Lowell, Hunter Biden’s attorney, wrote a letter Tuesday requesting the president’s son be permitted to testify publicly in what is otherwise slated to be a closed-door deposition with the committee Dec. 13.
“We have seen you use closed-door sessions to manipulate, even distort the facts and misinform the public. We therefore propose opening the door,” Lowell wrote in a letter to House Oversight and Accountability Chair Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) on Tuesday. “If, as you claim, your efforts are important and involve issues that Americans should know about, then let the light shine on these proceedings.”
Comer denied the request for the December testimony to be public, but he said Hunter Biden should have the opportunity to testify publicly at a later date.
“Hunter Biden is trying to play by his own rules instead of following the rules required of everyone else. That won’t stand with House Republicans,” Comer said in a statement.
“Our lawfully issued subpoena to Hunter Biden requires him to appear for a deposition on December 13. We expect full cooperation with our subpoena for a deposition but also agree that Hunter Biden should have the opportunity to testify in a public setting at a future date,” Comer added.
Comer’s rejection of Biden’s request for a public hearing was met with outrage from Democrats on the committee.
Ranking member Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) slammed Republicans in a statement Tuesday, calling the denial of a public hearing “an epic humiliation” and “a frank confession that they are simply not interested in the facts and have no confidence in their own case or the ability of their own Members to pursue it.”
In an email to The Hill, a spokesperson for Hawley made clear that the senator did not mention Comer by name in his remarks. The spokesperson did not immediately respond for further clarification.