Hunter Biden’s friend says Republicans gave ‘misleading’ account of impeachment testimony

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A friend of U.S. President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden on Friday accused House of Representatives Republicans of presenting a “cherry-picked, out-of-context and totally misleading” account of his testimony to their impeachment probe.

The friend, attorney Kevin Morris, testified in a closed-door deposition on Thursday about money he had loaned Hunter Biden, 53, to repay his taxes and art he had bought from him.

House Republicans allege that the president and his family improperly profited from policy decisions President Biden participated in as vice president in 2009-17. The White House and Hunter Biden deny wrongdoing.

After the closed-door interview, the House Oversight Committee said Morris had provided “loans” to Biden of at least $5 million that do not need to be repaid until after the 2024 election, and could be forgiven, and has since then gotten access to the White House and to Biden.

Morris’ attorney said in a letter sent to the panel that the loans were real, reviewed by lawyers, with proper loan terms such as interest and a term, and he expected the money to be repaid.

Morris has only had cursory communication with Biden and has visited the White House a few times, including on a tour given by Hunter Biden and attending Hunter Biden’s daughter’s wedding, according to the letter.

“These are just a few of the misleading statements you decided to cherry‐pick and send out to the public,” Morris’ lawyer wrote. “I demand you now release the entire transcript of Mr. Morris’ interview.”

The House Oversight Committee said it would release a transcript of the interview soon, but that it did not have it from the court reporter yet.

“The transcript will affirm Chairman Comer’s readout of the interview with Kevin Morris,” the committee said.

The younger Biden is due to testify behind closed doors to the committee on Feb. 28.

Hunter Biden had rebuffed House Republicans’ subpoena, saying he would only testify publicly and was concerned Republicans would mischaracterize his statements.

After House Republicans moved to hold him in contempt of Congress, he said he would testify if issued a new subpoena.

Hunter Biden is also facing legal challenges. Prosecutors have accused him in two separate cases of failing to pay $1.4 million in taxes between 2016 and 2019 and of lying about his illegal drug use when buying a firearm. He has pleaded not guilty in both cases.

(Reporting by Makini Brice; Editing by Scott Malone and Jonathan Oatis)