House Republicans had been making bold claims for days, stating that they possessed “bombshell” evidence showing President Joe Biden’s involvement in a bribery scheme. However, the evidence they presented failed to demonstrate that the President had any knowledge of such a scheme. Instead, the testimony from their star witness, Devon Archer, actually debunked their narrative.
Led by Reps. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and James Comer (R-KY), pro-Trump Republicans had been pushing a theory alleging that Biden and his son Hunter engaged in a bribery scheme to gain favors and access from the U.S. government. They particularly focused on Hunter’s involvement with the Burisma energy company in Ukraine during the Obama administration. They also wrongly claimed that Biden had a Ukrainian prosecutor fired for investigating Burisma, a claim that fact-checkers repeatedly debunked.
This week, the Republicans organized a hearing with Devon Archer, who had previously worked with Hunter and had a conviction for tax fraud. They hoped Archer’s testimony would provide evidence for their allegations, with Comer calling it a potential “bombshell” moment.
In the released transcript of the hearing, Archer did acknowledge that Hunter sought to benefit from his family name in his dealings with Burisma. He agreed that Hunter “sold the illusion of access to his father” and would take credit for actions his father had no part in.
However, Archer’s testimony failed to support the GOP’s claim that President Biden was aware of or involved in any illicit activities. The focus of the hearing was on phone calls between the President and his son, which occurred regularly when Biden was serving as vice president and shortly after the death of his other son, Beau.
Under questioning by Rep. Dan Goldman (D-NY), Archer clarified that these calls were not related to business matters but rather showed a concerned father checking in on his son who was struggling with substance abuse. Archer confirmed that there were no discussions about Hunter’s business during these calls and categorically stated that he was not aware of any wrongdoing by Joe Biden.
“Did Joe Biden regularly check in on his son?” asked Goldman. “Every day,” replied Archer. “In the context of those conversations, did you ever witness them discussing the substance of Hunter Biden’s business?” Goldman continued. “No,” said Archer. He went on to say that the calls were “not related to commercial business” or any of Hunter’s ventures, but just about “Family, politics, you know, and geography, fishing, whatever.” Asked if he was aware of any wrongdoing by Joe Biden, Archer said, “no.”
Following the release of the transcript, Philip Bump commented on Twitter that the testimony from Devon Archer completely dismantled the claims made by Comer and Jordan on TV, calling it a source of great embarrassment for them.