(WASHINGTON) — Both Democrats and Republicans are claiming their key points have been proven in the wake of a former business associate of Hunter Biden’s high-profile testimony behind closed doors.
Devon Archer, who served with the younger Biden on the board of the Ukrainian oil conglomerate Burisma between 2014 and 2016, sat down for several hours with members of the House Oversight Committee on Monday.
The Republican-led panel subpoenaed Archer in June, painting his testimony as central in their ongoing effort to tie President Joe Biden to his son’s overseas business dealings. Biden and the White House have vehemently denied he was ever involved in his son’s business affairs.
Archer’s attorney told ABC News “we are aware both sides are claiming victory” but said his client answered the questions “honestly and completely.”
Here are the key takeaways from Archer’s appearance and the reaction. His interview was transcribed but has not been released to the public.
Hunter sold the ‘illusion of access’ to Joe Biden, Democrats say
According to Rep. Dan Goldman, D-N.Y., Archer testified that Hunter Biden was “selling the illusion of access to his father.”
“His exact testimony was that he had — Hunter Biden possessed actual experience and contacts in Washington, D.C., in the political sphere, in the lobbying sphere, in the executive branch. And that he was — that is ultimately what he was providing to Burisma,” Goldman said.
“But in return for pressure from Burisma, he had to give the illusion — he used that term, the illusion — of access to his father, and he tried to get credit for things that he, that Mr. Archer testified Hunter had nothing to do with, such as when Vice President Biden went to Ukraine on his own,” Goldman continued.
Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., also said in a statement after the hearing that Archer confirmed Hunter Biden was selling this illusion.
Republicans contend the Biden ‘brand’ was central to Hunter’s role at Burisma
Republicans on the committee said Archer told them Hunter Biden’s value to Burisma centered on “the brand” associated with the Biden family, though a Democratic source claimed “the brand” referred more broadly to Washington.
“Here’s what he said, ‘Burisma would have gone out of business sooner if the Biden brand had not been invoked because people would be intimidated to legally mess with Burisma because of the Biden family brand,'” Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., told reporters.
Rep. James Comer, the Republican chairman of the committee, said in a statement that Archer testified that Burisma executives asked Hunter Biden to “call D.C.” after a board meeting in Dubai.
Hunter Biden put his father on speakerphone numerous times
Goldman said Archer indicated “Hunter spoke to his father every day and approximately 20 times over the course of a 10-year relationship. Hunter may have put his father on the phone with any number of different people, and they never once spoke about any business dealings.”
Archer and Hunter Biden were business partners since 2009 when they co-founded the advisory firm Rosemont Seneca, and they later both landed seats on Burisma’s board in 2014. Hunter Biden resigned from the board in April 2019.
“The witness repeated over and over and over again, that the President Biden never discussed any business dealings of Hunter’s with Hunter or anyone else,” Goldman told reporters, stating Archer described the conversations as casual in nature.
Biggs confirmed Archer said President Biden never spoke with Hunter Biden’s business associates beyond pleasantries.
But Republicans said the testimony undercut Biden’s repeated claims he “never discussed” his son’s business ventures.
Comer said in a statement one of the calls were made during a dinner with a French energy company and in China with BHR CEO Jonathan Lin.
Archer had ‘no knowledge’ of alleged payments to Bidens, lawmaker says
Goldman said Archer “was unaware, had no knowledge” of million dollars being paid to either Hunter Biden or Joe Biden.
“Let’s remember, he was on the Burisma board with Hunter Biden. So he — as a board member, he would have known if Burisma was paying a bribe to any of the Bidens,” Goldman said.
Republicans have zeroed in on a confidential FBI informant’s unverified claim that the Biden family once pressured a Ukrainian oligarch to pay them $10 million. Democrats on the House Oversight Committee have pushed back that the Department of Justice investigated the allegation and found insufficient evidence it was true and slammed Republicans for trying to “breathe new life into years-old conspiracy theories.”
Reaction from both sides
The White House, and many Democrats, asserted Archer’s testimony lacked the smoking gun evidence Republicans hoped he’d provide.
“It appears that the House Republicans’ own much-hyped witness today testified that he never heard of President Biden discussing business with his son or his son’s associates, or doing anything wrong,” said White House counsel’s office spokesperson Ian Sams. “House Republicans keep promising bombshell evidence to support their ridiculous attacks against the President, but time after time, they keep failing to produce any. In fact, even their own witnesses appear to be debunking their allegations.”
But Comer and others on the committee argue it shows Biden “lied” about having zero involvement in Hunter Biden’s business career.
“Why did Joe Biden lie to the American people about his family’s business dealings and his involvement?” Comer said. “It begs the question what else he is hiding from the American people.”
ABC News’ Lucien Bruggeman, Lauren Peller and Will Steakin contributed to this report.
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