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Biden Impeachment Effort Hits Critical Stage as Hunter Biden Pushes to Testify Publicly

The yearlong effort by House Republicans to impeach President Joe Biden is reaching a critical stage, as the President's brother and son may testify in the coming weeks even as questions linger about whether the disjointed investigation has uncovered any impeachable offenses.

House Republicans have yet to prove that money made by Joe Biden’s son Hunter or other family members in overseas business deals made it to Joe Biden or influenced his actions while he was President or Vice President. Months of press releases and depositions by the Republican leaders of the House Oversight Committee have been big on fanfare and light on substance.

Joe Biden’s brother Jim Biden is scheduled to be interviewed by the committee on Dec. 6, and Joe Biden’s son Hunter is scheduled to be deposed on Dec. 13.

Hunter Biden’s legal team believes the Republicans’ case against the President is weak enough that its lead lawyer on Tuesday challenged Rep. James Comer, the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, to let Hunter testify at a public hearing. “Our client will get right to it by agreeing to answer any pertinent and relevant question you or your colleagues might have, but—rather than subscribing to your cloaked, one-sided process—he will appear at a public Oversight and Accountability Committee hearing,” Abbe Lowell wrote on Hunter Biden’s behalf. “A public proceeding would prevent selective leaks, manipulated transcripts, doctored exhibits, or one-sided press statements.”

Comer refused the offer, saying Hunter Biden would be deposed privately and could be called later to testify in a public hearing. The House Oversight Committee “won’t conduct this investigation on Hunter’s terms,” Comer wrote Tuesday on X. “The President’s son must first appear for a deposition.”

The public back-and-forth came as some House Republicans are acknowledging that the information uncovered so far hasn’t shown Joe Biden being influenced by money being made by his son or other family members, or it playing a role in any of his actions as a public servant. On Tuesday, Fox Business anchor Maria Bartiromo, who’s been driving attention toward Comer’s investigation for months, asked Rep. Lisa McClain of Michigan, a member of the Oversight Committee, if Republicans had found any policy changes Joe Biden made as a result of those business deals. "The short answer is no,” McClain said. “That's what we are trying to get to right now.”

The inquiry has produced evidence suggesting Hunter Biden traded off his family name to advance his business interests. Hunter Biden is also the focus of a federal criminal investigation and has been charged with lying about his drug use when he purchased a handgun in 2018.

Meanwhile, Comer has been casting his investigation farther afield. On Monday, the Kentucky Republican wrote in an op-ed published by Fox News that the Committee has concerns about the classified documents found last year in a closet in Joe Biden’s University of Pennsylvania offices in Washington, D.C., but that the prosecutor investigating the documents case, Special Counsel Robert Hur, refused to let House Republicans look at the material.

The inquiry into Biden’s improper possession of classified documents has unfolded alongside an investigation into former President Donald Trump’s taking of classified documents to his home in Florida, with Trump allegedly refusing to give some of them back. That led to Trump being federally charged in August in a case that could reach trial next year. Biden has said he didn’t know the classified documents were in his possession and that he returned them promptly when they were discovered.

Comer wrote that he was concerned individuals without security clearances may have had access to the Biden documents and that some of the documents were related to countries where Biden’s son and family members were doing business deals. But Comer hasn’t shown evidence that’s the case.

“President Biden’s mishandling of classified material and his involvement in his family’s business schemes threaten our national security,” Comer wrote in his op-ed, suggesting the documents could play a larger role than previously expected in an impeachment push that’s expected to reach its final stages early next year.

The House impeachment inquiry into Biden is picking up momentum after the House muddled through a leadership crisis throughout most of October, after the chamber voted to oust Rep. Kevin McCarthy as Speaker. His replacement, Speaker Mike Johnson, is watching the impeachment proceedings closely and said earlier this month that the inquiry is at "an inflection point" and that the "appropriate" next step is to put witnesses under oath and question them to "fill gaps in the record."

Contact us at letters@time.com.