On Tuesday, the top Republican on the House Oversight Committee rejected a request from Hunter Biden for his testimony in front of the committee to be made public — a move that committee member Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) said was made simply because Republicans are afraid of “getting humiliated” in the public sphere.
Hunter Biden’s lawyer, Abbe Lowell, sent a letter to Congress saying that he would only testify if the hearings were public in order to ensure that Republican lawmakers wouldn’t manipulate his words or selectively leak information to smear him.
“We have seen you use closed-door sessions to manipulate, even distort the facts and misinform the public. We therefore propose opening the door. If, as you claim, your efforts are important and involve issues that Americans should know about, then let the light shine on these proceedings,” his legal team wrote in a letter.
Oversight Chair Rep. James Comer (R-Kentucky) swiftly rejected the offer, saying that he would only allow Hunter Biden to testify publicly if he sat for a private hearing first.
Ocasio-Cortez said that the reason for Comer wanting the hearing to be held behind closed doors is that the GOP’s case against Hunter Biden is flimsy.
“The reason GOP don’t want a public hearing on Hunter Biden is because [Oversight Democrats] have hoisted them by their own petards in every public hearing this year,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote on social media. “They’re scared of getting humiliated for not having an actual case (again), so they need to hide.”
House Oversight Committee Republicans have devoted many hours to a wide and sometimes questionable range of inquiries into Hunter Biden in recent months — with much of Republicans’ testimony and the supposed ties to President Joe Biden coming from false or manipulated claims, fact checkers have found.
Ocasio-Cortez and other Democrats have repeatedly pushed back against and called into question much of the supposed evidence of wrongdoing that Republicans have brought, while also withholding evidence that Democrats say directly contradicts the GOP’s narrative.
In an impeachment hearing in September, for instance, Ocasio-Cortez said that Republicans had completely fabricated a screenshot of a text message that was allegedly sent from Hunter Biden to a potential business partner from China and presented it as evidence to the committee. She submitted a copy of the real text message, which she said included critical context that had been omitted from Republicans’ copy in order to change the text’s meaning.
“This is an embarrassment. An embarrassment to the time and people of this country,” she said. She has further pointed out that Republicans’ witnesses in that hearing have not actually witnessed the supposed crimes by Joe Biden firsthand.
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Maryland), the Oversight Committee’s top Democrat, also criticized Republicans for refusing Hunter Biden’s offer.
“After wailing and moaning for ten months about Hunter Biden and alluding to some vast unproven family conspiracy, after sending Hunter Biden a subpoena to appear and testify, Chairman Comer and the Oversight Republicans now reject his offer to appear before the full Committee and the eyes of the world and to answer any questions that they pose?” Raskin said in a statement. “What an epic humiliation for our colleagues and what 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.”
“After the miserable failure of their impeachment hearing in September, Chairman Comer has now apparently decided to avoid all Committee hearings where the public can actually see for itself the logical, rhetorical and factual contortions they have tied themselves up in,” Raskin continued. “What the Republicans fear most is sunlight and the truth.”
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