Republicans Haul In President's Brother For Impeachment Questioning

WASHINGTON ― President Joe Biden’s brother arrived on Capitol Hill for an interview with lawmakers on Wednesday as part of the Republican impeachment inquiry against the president.

James Biden worked with the president’s son, Hunter Biden, on business deals that Republicans have described as corrupt “influence peddling” implicating the president.

The president’s brother told lawmakers, however, that Joe Biden wasn’t involved at all.

“I have had a 50-year career in a variety of business ventures,” James Biden said in an opening statement. “Joe Biden has never had any involvement or any direct or indirect financial interest in those activities. None.”

Most other witnesses have similarly denied that Joe Biden had any role in his family’s private sector work. And a key allegation collapsed last week after the Justice Department announced an FBI informant had been indicted for lying about the president accepting bribes. Prosecutors said in a court filing Tuesday that the informant, a U.S. citizen named Alexander Smirnov, claimed to have been in contact with Russian intelligence services.

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, which has led the inquiry, said that he hoped Republicans would simply call off the impeachment inquiry altogether.

“The whole impeachment inquiry has been built on the foundation of lies and conspiracy theories, propaganda and disinformation promoted by Russian intelligence agents,” Raskin said.

The core allegation against Joe Biden has been that, as vice president, he twisted U.S. foreign policy, urging the firing of a Ukrainian prosecutor in order to benefit a Ukrainian gas company that employed his son. State Department officials have repeatedly said firing the prosecutor was U.S. policy. Smirnov’s now-discredited allegation that Joe and Hunter Biden accepted bribes from the company’s founder formed a major part of the inquiry.

Republicans have also examined Biden family business deals with other foreign nationals, including in Romania and China. James Biden was part of a Hunter Biden-led group that partnered with an affiliate of a Chinese energy conglomerate seeking investment opportunities in the U.S.

Like several other impeachment witnesses, James Biden previously spoke to federal investigators about his work with Hunter Biden, who faces federal charges for not paying his taxes on time and for illegally owning a firearm. The younger Biden wrote in his 2021 memoir that his pursuit of big paydays stemmed in part from his addiction to crack cocaine.

During an interview with investigators from the Justice Department and the IRS in 2022 that Republicans obtained and made public last year as part of the impeachment effort, James Biden said Hunter Biden’s mental state deteriorated in the years following his brother Beau Biden’s death in 2015. He said he found Hunter Biden holed up in a California motel room in 2018.

″[Robert Hunter Biden] wouldn’t let James B into the room, so James B sat against the door waiting for RHB for 2 days,” the IRS interview memorandum stated. “James B convinced the hotel manager to let him in and they found RHB in the room with another drug addict.”

Hunter Biden has been sober since 2019, when he launched a career as an artist that Republicans have also probed for corruption. He will testify before lawmakers next week.

Republicans have pointed to loan repayments from James and Hunter Biden to Joe Biden in 2017 and 2018 that they claim would not have been possible if they hadn’t made money off their last name in the first place.

“I think there’s an enormous amount of circumstantial evidence that shows that Hunter and Jim are selling the brand, and Joe Biden was profiting from it financially,” Rep. William Timmons (R-S.C.) told reporters. “So we’re going to find out that’s true.”

Timmons added that the Justice Department’s charges against its former informant only made him more “suspicious” of the department.

In his opening statement, James Biden said he had nothing to hide.

“With my appearance here today, the committees will have the information to conclude that the negative and destructive assumptions about me and my relationship with my brother Joe are wrong,” he said said. “There is no basis for this inquiry to continue.”