December 13, 2023 | Reading Time: 3 minutes

Hunter Biden wants to testify openly, but the GOP says no

That’s a better headline than what you’ll see about today’s news.

Screenshot via CBS News
Screenshot via CBS News

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The Post ran with this headline this morning: “Ahead of House GOP vote on impeachment inquiry, Hunter Biden defies subpoena.” While that it factually accurate, it’s obscures the whole truth, which is this. 

The president’s son is refusing to participate in a closed-door interview with the House Republicans, who are pursuing an impeachment inquiry against his dad. His attorney has said that Hunter Biden fears the “risk of having parts of his testimony leaked selectively,” per USA Today.

However, he did say what he would do: testify openly in a public hearing held by the committees that are investigating the alleged link between Hunter Biden’s businesses and the president. He made this clear this morning during a presser. He also said, in so many words, that there’s no there there. Dad Biden played no role in his businesses. 

The House Republicans do not want to determine the whole truth. Indeed, they seem bent on avoiding it altogether. They want pieces of it, to be sure, but only to rationalize what they plan to do, which is impeach Joe Biden.  

While it’s factually accurate to say that the president’s son “defies subpoena,” it is also a distortion of the whole truth, which is that the president’s son is willing to obey a congressional subpoena if the elected officials issuing it wanted to determine the whole truth. 

The House Republicans do not want to determine the whole truth. Indeed, they seem bent on avoiding it altogether. They want pieces of it, to be sure, but only to rationalize what they plan to do, which is impeach Joe Biden. We know this is true, because they will not accept Hunter Biden’s offer to testify openly. They are now threatening to hold him with contempt if he does not go along with their bad faith.

Republican investigators have stated their reasons. They say that Hunter Biden’s public testimony would encourage the House Democrats on investigating committees to “grandstand.” That’s rich! Grandstanding is all the House Republicans did during Donald Trump’s impeachment proceedings. They had to. The evidence was too great.

But even if the House Democrats did decide to “grandstand,” so what? At the least, they’d do what the House Republicans did. At the most, the American people might see something important – that the House Democrats are uninterested in the whole truth and instead interested only in protecting the president from being held accountable.

That the Republicans are refusing Hunter Biden’s offer to testify openly really should give the game away. It doesn’t, though, perhaps because it can’t in a media environment in which one of the country’s major newspapers runs with a headline that’s factually accurately but obscuring of the whole truth, which suits the Republicans just fine.

Such has been the case since the beginning of all this. The central claim being made by the House Republicans is that Hunter Biden is getting special treatment by the head of the “Biden crime family” and that the House Republicans are merely doing what the president won’t. Headlines in which Hunter Biden “defies subpoena” go a long way toward giving substance to the Republicans’ central claim.

But the whole truth is abundantly obvious, or would be if not for a media environment that obscures it. Hunter Biden is, right now, being held accountable for federal crimes that he is alleged to have committed. He has been indicted twice. He is charged with committing serious, though not that serious, crimes. They include failing to pay his taxes and lying about being addicted to drugs in order to buy a firearm.

Not only is he being held accountable for these alleged crimes, but according to the Republicans’ own way of thinking, the person responsible for doing it is … his dad. After all, the US Department of Justice is part of a federal bureaucracy that’s run by the president. 

Fact is, the US Department of Justice does not seek the president’s approval on matters of law and law enforcement. Yet while many of us seem eager to believe the House Republicans, few seem willing to see their way of thinking to its logical conclusion, which is that the president is holding his own son to account for his alleged crimes.

The Republicans can’t find any evidence linking Hunter Biden’s poor choices to his dad. Meanwhile, federal prosecutors working inside the Biden administration are seeking to hold Hunter Biden criminally accountable for those poor choices. That’s where things stand and will likely remain. The whole truth should be abundantly obvious.  


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John Stoehr is the editor of the Editorial Board. He writes the daily edition. Find him @johnastoehr.

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