Hunter Biden often called his father, Joe Biden, on speakerphone during business meetings, a Democratic lawmaker said Monday, contradicting the president's repeated claims to have "never discussed business with my son."
Rep. Dan Goldman (D., N.Y.), a member of the House Oversight Committee, made the remarks following the panel's closed-door hearing with Hunter Biden’s former business partner Devon Archer. Although Goldman maintained there was nothing improper about the father-son phone calls, his apparent recognition that they occurred amounted to a major concession by one of Joe Biden's leading defenders.
"It was clear that it was part of the daily conversations that Hunter Biden had with his father, and it sounded like most of the time now-president Biden didn’t even know who the people were with at dinner and was just asked to say hello and he would talk about the weather," Goldman said to reporters.
Goldman's comments are bound to create more headaches for the Biden administration, which has told a shifting story about his knowledge of his son’s business ventures. Joe Biden said in August 2019 that he has "never discussed business with my son" and scolded a Fox News reporter the next month for asking if he talked to Hunter Biden about his foreign business.
Evidence has since emerged that Biden attended at least two meetings to discuss Hunter Biden’s work in China. Last week, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre denied only that Joe and Hunter Biden were ever "in business" together.
Republicans have alleged for years that Joe Biden helped enrich his son—and possibly himself—through a variety of business schemes. Democrats have in recent months desperately tried to paint any scrutiny of Hunter Biden’s business dealings as a dead end.
Archer met with the House Oversight Committee on Monday to offer testimony about his relationship with the Biden family. A full transcript of his sworn testimony is not yet public.
Neither Archer nor Biden’s attorneys immediately responded to a request for comment.
Archer planned to tell lawmakers that Biden frequently dialed his father during business meetings, the New York Post reported. One of those alleged meetings was with executives from Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian energy firm where Biden and Archer served as directors. Biden during a December 2015 meeting called his father to say the energy firm "needs our support," Archer reportedly planned to say.
Archer, who awaits sentencing for his 2018 conviction for defrauding a Native American tribe in a $60 million bond scheme, has spoken to a federal grand jury, the Justice Department, and other federal agencies as part of "investigations concerning the Biden family," his attorney told the Washington Free Beacon.
Archer’s testimony is the latest dramatic development concerning Biden. A plea deal Biden struck with federal prosecutors over charges related to not paying taxes and illegal firearm ownership fell apart last week under scrutiny from a federal judge.
Republicans have criticized the Department of Justice for giving Biden "sweetheart deal," and IRS whistleblowers have said that investigators and prosecutors recommended felony charges against him. Biden is expected to be back in court sometime next month.
Goldman also stepped on his party's messaging during the IRS whistleblowers' testimony before Congress earlier this month. While questioning one of the whistleblowers, veteran investigator Gary Shapley, Goldman inadvertently affirmed that Joe Biden had spoken to Hunter Biden about his business with China.
It is unclear whether Archer and Biden remain on good terms. After Archer’s conviction was temporarily overturned in 2018, Biden expressed support for his longtime friend.
"Thank fucking god! First good news in way too long my friend. I am so happy for you," Biden wrote Archer in November 2018, according to text messages found on a copy of the former’s laptop.
But Archer voiced frustration with Biden months later, according to text messages.
"Why would they try to ruin my family and destroy my kids and no one from your family’s side step in and at least try to help me," Archer asked in a March 2019 text. "I don’t get it. And I’m depressed. Bunch of these Asians getting in my head asking me the same."