House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer told Fox News Digital that he will release the transcript of Hunter Biden’s deposition later this month and will schedule a public hearing for the president’s son after he testifies behind closed doors as part of the “most transparent major congressional investigation in history.”
Comer, R-Ky., subpoenaed Hunter Biden for a deposition earlier this month. The deposition is set for Dec. 13.
But Hunter Biden’s attorney Abbe Lowell has, instead, offered the president’s son for a public hearing, where he can answer questions and offer his testimony directly before the American people.
Democrats have blasted Comer and House Republicans amid their impeachment inquiry against President Biden for not taking Lowell up on the offer, saying their denial proves that the case against the first son is weak.
But Comer dismissed those claims in an interview with Fox News Digital.
“Democrats always create a false narrative ahead of potential peril,” Comer told Fox News Digital, using Hunter Biden’s laptop as an example of Democrats peddling the inaccurate narrative that the laptop was a product of Russian disinformation.
“We have always planned on deposing the key witness in this entire investigation — that’s the president’s son,” Comer said.
Comer told Fox News Digital that his committee has “accumulated tens of thousands of pages of documents.”
“We have hundreds of questions that we have to ask Hunter Biden,” Comer said, noting that a public hearing is not an efficient setting to get answers to all questions. “If you have a public hearing, we may get to 35, 40 questions with five minutes each way. In a deposition, we can easily get 400-plus questions in.”
Comer stressed that the deposition of Hunter Biden “will be transparent.”
“We will release the transcripts,” he said. “We always do unless they contain classified information.”
Comer said that “This has been the most transparent major congressional investigation in history.”
Comer said that each time the committee investigators find new evidence, they “present it” to the public.
“We have done four bank memorandums,” he said. “We have had countless press conferences.”
“We want Hunter Biden to have a public hearing — but he will be deposed first,” Comer continued. “That is how every investigation in history — whether a congressional investigation or a criminal investigation by law enforcement agencies — they always begin with a deposition.”
Comer slammed his Democratic colleagues for a double standard.
“We will have the public hearing, but the Democrats are trying to create a narrative that depositions are bad,” he said. “All they did were depositions in the January 6 investigation, and when they did hold the public hearings, they showed films of the depositions they did.”
The top Democrat on the Oversight Committee called Comer’s denial of Hunter Biden’s request for a public hearing an “epic humiliation” and said their hesitancy to let the president’s son give public testimony is “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.”
“Let me get this straight,” Raskin said. “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?”
But former Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who served as the House Oversight Committee chairman and led several high-profile investigations, including the congressional probe of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, said it is “normal and customary for a serious investigation to do a transcribed interview or deposition before a public hearing.”
“The good news is, they get to do both,” Chaffetz, a Fox News contributor, told Fox News Digital. “A deposition is a different format — the content is complex and deep, and we did that routinely, and it is the proper way to do an investigation.”
Chaffetz added that the Bidens “don’t get to dictate how the House of Representatives does their investigations.”
Chaffetz explained that in a deposition, questions are asked by professional staff — not lawmakers.
“You can get a better, more thorough investigation done during the deposition, which should be the goal of everybody,” Chaffetz said.
Chaffetz told Fox News Digital he thinks Hunter Biden’s team knows a public hearing “is much easier than doing a transcribed interview.”
“You can be coached up how to filibuster a five-minute set of questions from a member of Congress, so, I think they don’t want the thoroughness and they don’t want the explicit facts to come out,” Chaffetz explained. “That’s just a guess—but Abbe Lowell is an exceptional, talented attorney—a transcribed interview with Hunter Biden will go on for hours, if not for a day or two, so the exposure is lessened by having only public testimony.”
He added: “But if you’re James Comer and want to get to the details of the facts, you want to do both.”
Lowell, earlier this week, accused Comer and Republicans of using “closed-door sessions to manipulate, even distort the facts and misinform the public.”
“We therefore propose opening the door,” Lowell wrote. “If, as you claim, your efforts are important and involve issues that Americans should know about, then let light shine on the proceedings.”
But Democrats, Chaffetz said, are in a “precarious position because they set the standards.”
“And now that they have to live with them, they don’t want to do that,” he said.
Chaffetz said the deposition for Hunter Biden is “not an optional event.”
“You typically would take the main witness last, and that’s Hunter Biden,” Chaffetz said. “Hunter Biden needs to show up and I can’t think of a single excuse that would justify his non-attendance.”
Meanwhile, Comer told Fox News Digital that his months-long investigation into the Biden family business dealings is “a credible, serious investigation of public corruption at the highest levels.”
“We bring out more evidence almost on a daily basis that shows this family was involved in serious crimes ranging from money laundering to being an unregistered foreign agent to securities fraud,” Comer told Fox News Digital. “And along the way, we have proven that Joe Biden knew and communicated with all of these shady characters that were involved in wiring his family millions of dollars.”