(Bloomberg) -- The Republican-led House Oversight Committee rebuffed an offer by Hunter Biden to testify publicly in response to a subpoena for a closed-door deposition.
Biden’s attorney Abbe Lowell on Tuesday told Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer his client would testify at a public hearing on Dec. 13, the date the panel has subpoenaed him to testify in private, or another day that month.
Comer later said Biden was “trying to play by his own rules” and that the panel expects “full cooperation with our subpoena for a deposition.”
Biden could testify publicly “at a future date” but only after complying with the subpoena for a closed deposition, Comer said in a statement.
The back-and-forth deepens a dispute between between Joe Biden’s son and the House Republicans seeking to impeach the president over accusations he improperly benefited from his son’s business dealings.
Lowell opposed private testimony in a letter to Comer, saying the committee chair has used selective leaks of closed-door depositions to distort witness testimony.
“We have seen you use closed door sessions to manipulate, even distort the facts and misinform the public. We therefore propose opening the door,” Lowell wrote.
Representative Jamie Raskin, the top-ranking Democrat on the Oversight panel, called Republicans’ refusal of Biden’s offer to testify publicly “a frank confession that they are simply not interested in the facts and have no confidence in their own case.”
Republican investigators have turned up evidence Hunter Biden used his family name to secure business deals and raised questions about the president’s past statements about his knowledge of his son’s activities. But they have not found proof the president used his government positions to further his family’s business ventures.
The White House previously called on House Republicans to withdraw subpoenas and interview requests related to their impeachment push, calling the effort an illegitimate, politically motivated effort to damage Biden ahead of the 2024 election.
The letter comes as Hunter Biden and his lawyers are going on the offensive in response to the Justice Department’s investigation into him, which resulted in an indictment over federal firearm violations.
That probe is continuing and a special counsel appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland to lead it is expected to also charge him with tax crimes.
--With assistance from David Voreacos.
(Updates with Democratic response in 8th paragraph.)
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