US House Republicans subpoena Biden's son, brother to appear

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Biden's son Hunter to face tax charges in federal court
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By Makini Brice

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The Republican-controlled U.S. House Oversight Committee said on Wednesday it has subpoenaed President Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden, and brother, James Biden, to appear for depositions, in an escalation of its impeachment inquiry into the Democrat.

House Republicans launched an impeachment inquiry in September, following months of probes. They allege that Biden and his family have personally profited from policy decisions made by Biden when he was vice president during former President Barack Obama's administration.

James Biden could not immediately be reached for comment.

Abbe Lowell, Hunter Biden's lawyer, called the subpoena "yet another political stunt."

"Nevertheless, Hunter is eager to have the opportunity, in a public forum and at the right time, to discuss these matters with the Committee," Lowell said in a statement.

Devon Archer, a former business associate of Hunter Biden, told the House Oversight Committee earlier this year that the younger Biden sought to create "an illusion of access to his father" and put his father on the phone with foreign associates "maybe 20 times" over the course of Archer's business relationship with Hunter Biden.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Wednesday called the investigation a "smear campaign." The investigation "has gone on for a year now and has turned up zero evidence against the president," she said.

The impeachment inquiry has been publicly supported by former President Donald Trump, who is the frontrunner for the Republican nomination to take on Biden in the 2024 election.

In addition to the subpoenas to Hunter Biden and James Biden, the committee has issued a subpoena to Rob Walker, a former business partner of Hunter Biden.

The committee has also asked four other members of Biden's family to appear, as well as another former business partner, Tony Bobulinski. The committee said it would send additional subpoenas and interview requests later in the week.

The committee has previously received financial records for members of the family.

The House Oversight Committee held a public hearing related to the inquiry in September, which was a review of material related to foreign business ventures by Hunter Biden, which Republicans say indicate that the president's family members were selling access.

Hunter Biden, 53, has publicly discussed his past substance abuse and never held a position in the White House or on his father's campaign.

Trump was the first U.S. president to be impeached twice. He was acquitted by the Senate both times. Trump is facing four criminal indictments for charges related to his business activities, alleged mishandling of classified documents and alleged attempts to overturn the 2020 election.

It is not clear if the full House of Representatives, controlled by a narrow 221-212 Republican majority, would vote to impeach Biden, though Speaker Mike Johnson has supported the probe.

(Reporting by Makini Brice in Washington; Additional reporting by Steve Holland in WashingtonEditing by Scott Malone and Matthew Lewis)