Star Witness Undercuts Republican Corruption Case Against Joe Biden

A transcript reveals that former Hunter Biden associate Devon Archer said the opposite of what Republicans claimed he said.

WASHINGTON ― A top Republican claimed this week that a former business associate of the president’s son witnessed Hunter Biden being told to call Washington and get a Ukrainian prosecutor fired.

It turns out that’s not what happened at all.

The former business partner, Devon Archer, spoke to lawmakers for several hours during a closed-door deposition on Monday, which Republicans billed as a major development in their quest to connect President Joe Biden to his son’s foreign business deals.

Archer sat on the board of Burisma, the Ukrainian gas company that also employed Hunter Biden. House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) said Tuesday during an interview on Fox News that Archer revealed Burisma asked Biden to get his dad’s help with a troublesome Ukrainian prosecutor named Viktor Shokin.

“We learned this week that Devon Archer said that Hunter Biden was told that he had to call Washington and get help and get that prosecutor, Shokin, fired,” Comer said.

Under pressure from Democrats, Comer released a full transcript of the Archer interview on Thursday ― and it totally contradicts his statement on Fox News.

During the interview, Republicans asked about a specific meeting in December 2015 in which Burisma officials asked Hunter Biden to call “D.C.” for help with unspecified pressures facing the company. Archer said he didn’t witness the phone call but was told about it afterward by Burisma’s corporate secretary, though not in any detail.

Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) did not actually attend the Monday deposition of Devon Archer that he spoke about to Fox News.
Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) did not actually attend the Monday deposition of Devon Archer that he spoke about to Fox News.

Republicans asked Archer if he was aware that Shokin was investigating Burisma, and Archer said he had actually heard from associates in Washington, D.C., that “Shokin was under control” from Burisma’s persective and that whoever might replace him would be a bigger threat to the company.

“I was spun a narrative that Shokin was good for Burisma,” Archer said.

After some back-and-forth, a Republican staff interviewer asked Archer to say definitively if he ever witnessed a conversation between a Burisma executive and Hunter Biden about Shokin investigating Burisma.

“No, that didn’t happen,” Archer said. “But, again, I was left out of everything.”

It’s a key question, because days later in December 2015, then-Vice President Joe Biden traveled to Ukraine and pushed for Shokin’s firing. Republicans are trying to claim that Biden did so only to protect his son ― the same bogus story that former President Donald Trump tried to cook up in 2019.

During impeachment proceedings against Trump for pressuring Ukraine into announcing a sham investigation of the Bidens, State Department officials repeatedly told lawmakers that the push for Shokin’s ouster reflected a bipartisan, international consensus that Shokin was terrible at his job.

George Kent, then the deputy assistant secretary of state responsible for Ukraine policy, testified that Shokin “never prosecuted anybody known for having committed a crime” and that in 2019, when Shokin had linked up with Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani for help with a trip to the United States, “he was looking to basically engage in a con game out of revenge because he’d lost his job.”

Under questioning from Rep. Dan Goldman (D-N.Y.), Archer said he had “no reason to believe” that the push for Shokin’s ouster was driven by anything other than the U.S. government’s anti-corruption policy in Ukraine.

Comer may have misspoken about Archer’s testimony because he did not actually attend the deposition, apparently disappointing some of his committee colleagues.

The Oversight Committee’s top Democrat, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), said Republicans have proved themselves to be “willing to distort, twist, and manipulate the facts presented by their own witness” in order to fabricate wrongdoing by Joe Biden as a distraction from Donald Trump’s latest indictment.

On Thursday, Republicans highlighted several aspects of the Archer transcript, including his statements that being associated with the Biden “brand” benefited Burisma, which Hunter Biden himself has acknowledged, and that the younger Biden would occasionally put his father on speakerphone in the presence of business associates.

Republicans have said the fact that Joe Biden was on the phone with his son’s work contacts meant he lied the many times he claimed he never talked business with his son. But Archer said business never came up during any of the 20 instances he witnessed Hunter Biden put his dad on speaker.

“Where are you, how’s the weather, how’s the fishing,” Archer said. “It was very, you know, casual conversations about ― you know, not about cap tables or financials or anything like that.”

Archer said he never witnessed Hunter Biden ask his father to do anything that would help his business.

“He did not ask him ― to my knowledge, I never saw him say, do anything for any particular business,” Archer said.

Republicans asked if Archer had heard anything about Burisma owner Mykola Zlochevsky’s claim that he had paid Joe Biden and his son $5 million each, and Archer had not. Republicans have seized on the unverified allegation because it was relayed to the FBI through a credible confidential human source.

But according to a raw FBI file Republicans published last month, the source himself, in providing the tip, noted that “it is very common for business men in post-Soviet countries to brag or show off,” and that he couldn’t vouch for the allegation.

Archer seized on the source’s explanation of the bribe claim. He likened it to Hunter Biden puffing up his personal brand by bogusly insinuating in an email that he was responsible for his father’s travel to Ukraine.

“People send signals and those signals are basically used as currency,” Archer said. “And that’s kind of how a lot of D.C. operators and foreign tycoons and businessmen work.”

Popular in the Community


What's Hot