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Hunter Biden agrees to private deposition with Republicans after months of defiance

WASHINGTON (AP) — Hunter Biden has agreed to appear before House Republicans for a private deposition next month, ending months of defiance from the president’s son, who had insisted on testifying publicly.

The House Oversight Committee announced Thursday that the two parties have agreed for Hunter Biden to sit for a deposition on Feb. 28.

“The president’s son is a key witness in this investigation and he’s gonna be able to come in now and sit down and answer questions in a substantive, orderly manner,” Rep. James Comer, chair of the Oversight Committee, told reporters. He added that Hunter Biden will be able to testify publicly sometime after his deposition.

News of the agreement was confirmed by Hunter Biden’s legal team Thursday night.

Republicans had been set to advance a contempt resolution against him to the House floor this week but called it off Tuesday to give the attorneys additional time to negotiate. If they had voted on the contempt resolution, the referral would have been sent to the Justice Department where the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia would have had to decide whether to prosecute Hunter Biden.

The agreement concludes months of contentious back-and-forth between President Joe Biden’s son and Republicans who have been investigating his overseas business dealings for over a year in a so far futile effort to connect it to his father.

Republicans, led by Comer and Jordan, first subpoenaed the younger Biden in November, demanding that he appear before lawmakers in a private setting by mid-December. Biden and his attorneys refused to comply with the private interview, saying that it would allow information to be selectively leaked and manipulated by House Republicans and insisted that he would only testify in a public setting.

When Republicans denied those terms, Hunter Biden and his attorneys made two separate appearances at the U.S. Capitol, further angering congressional investigators. In both instances, Biden again refused to testify privately, instead delivering statements to the press where he defended his business affairs and castigated the yearslong investigations into him and his family.

“There is no evidence to support the allegations that my father was financially involved in my business because it did not happen,” the president’s son said in remarks outside the Capitol in December.

He added, “There is no fairness or decency in what these Republicans are doing — they have lied over and over about every aspect of my personal and professional life — so much so that their lies have become the false facts believed by too many people.

But Hunter Biden and his legal team appeared to shift gears late last week when they sent a letter to Comer and Rep. Jim Jordan, the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, indicating a willingness for the first time to come in for a private deposition.

Abbe Lowell, Hunter Biden’s attorney, wrote in a letter Friday that his client’s cooperation is dependent on the committee issuing a new subpoena, which they will now do given the updated deposition date. They had argued that the two subpoenas sent in last year were not legitimate because they were issued before the full House authorized the impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden.

The impeachment inquiry into the president, which began in September, has focused heavily on Hunter Biden and his international business affairs, questioning whether the president profited from that work. It has so far failed to uncover evidence directly implicating Joe Biden in wrongdoing involving his son’s work.

Meanwhile, Hunter Biden is currently facing criminal charges in two states from the special counsel investigation. He’s charged with firearm counts in Delaware, alleging he broke laws against drug users having guns in 2018, a period when he has acknowledged struggling with addiction. Special counsel David Weiss filed additional charges last month, alleging he failed to pay about $1.4 million in taxes over three years.

He has pleaded not guilty in both cases.

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