WASHINGTON — Two hours of testimony from a former associate of Hunter Biden’s failed to turn up dirt on President Joe Biden, according to Rep. Dan Goldman (D-N.Y.).
Republicans had hoped an interview with Devon Archer, who partnered in business with the president’s son, would help them connect Hunter Biden’s wheelings and dealings to acts of corruption by the president.
But hours of questioning in a Capitol office building yielded no smoking guns, Goldman told reporters.
“I think it is safe to say that after yet another two hours, there still is no connection of any of Hunter Biden’s business dealings with President Biden,” Goldman said.
The president has repeatedly denied ever discussing business with his son, who for years sat on the board of the Ukrainian gas company Burisma after Archer recommended him for the position to the company’s founder.
While Archer apparently maintained that he never witnessed the elder Biden talking shop with his son, Goldman said, Archer did describe several instances of the two Bidens talking on speakerphone in the presence of their other business partners.
“The witness indicated that Hunter spoke to his father every day, and approximately 20 times over the course of a 10-year relationship, Hunter may have put his father on the phone with any number of different people, and they never once spoke about any business dealings,” Goldman said. “As he described it, it was all casual conversation, niceties, the weather, what’s going on. It wasn’t a single conversation about any of the business dealing Hunter had.”
“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.”
HuffPost asked Goldman if the younger Biden put his dad on the phone to impress the people around him.
“Hunter would put his father on speakerphone with whomever was at dinner and there was no indication that he had any idea who was at dinner with them,” Goldman said.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), one of the Republicans in the interview room on Monday, refused to share details about the testimony, saying only that it had been “productive.”
House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer (R-Ky.), who has led the Republican investigation of what some lawmakers call “the Biden Crime Family,” said Sunday that Archer had an opportunity to be a “hero.”
“We know that Devon Archer has met and communicated many, many times with Joe Biden about Burisma and other things,” Comer said on Fox News. “So this is going to be an opportunity for Devon Archer just to tell the truth.”
On Monday, Comer claimed Archer’s testimony about the phone calls “confirms Joe Biden lied to the American people when he said he had no knowledge about his son’s business dealings and was not involved.”
Comer has suggested the president is “compromised” as a result of his son’s foreign business deals. He has also promoted an unverified claim that Burisma founder Mykola Zlochevsky paid Joe Biden a $5 million bribe when he was vice president and heading up Ukraine policy for the Obama administration.
Archer told lawmakers on Monday that he was not aware of any $5 million payments to the Bidens, according to a source familiar with the testimony.
As for the broader allegation that Hunter Biden sold access to his father, Archer said Hunter Biden was only “selling the illusion of access to his father,” according to the source.
During Donald Trump’s first impeachment in 2019 — for pressuring Ukraine to announce a sham investigation into the Bidens — top State Department officials testified that Joe Biden took no self-serving actions with regard to Ukraine.
Last year, Archer was sentenced to a year in prison for ripping off a Native tribe in a fake investment scheme. He’s remained free while appealing the sentence, but the Justice Department asked a court over the weekend to set a date for Archer to surrender.
Comer and other Republicans suggested the Justice Department’s letter represented an effort to intimidate a key Republican witness, or even to prevent him from testifying. Those allegations seem to have proven false.
White House spokesperson Ian Sams on Monday highlighted the fact that Archer reportedly said he never heard the older Biden talking business with his son.
“House Republicans keep promising bombshell evidence to support their ridiculous attacks against the President, but time after time, they keep failing to produce any,” Sams said in a statement. “In fact, even their own witnesses appear to be debunking their allegations.”