WASHINGTON — A close personal associate of Joe and Hunter Biden met with the House Oversight and Accountability Committee earlier this year to answer questions about the Biden family’s finances.
Republicans now say the meeting didn’t count.
Eric Schwerin, a former Hunter Biden business partner who also did bookkeeping work for Joe Biden, told committee staff in March that the president had no involvement in his son’s business deals, contrary to Republican claims that have led to an impeachment inquiry in the House of Representatives.
Democrats have repeatedly cited the interview this year, but a spokesperson for committee Republicans told Fox News last week that the committee “never interviewed Schwerin,” apparently because the session was not transcribed like other witness interviews.
“There was a meeting but it was about document production,” the spokesperson said. “There has never been a transcribed interview or deposition.”
Rep. Jamie Raskin (Md.), the oversight committee’s top Democrat, rejected the idea that there had been no interview in a letter to committee Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) on Tuesday.
“I am writing to express my profound concern about baffling and increasingly embarrassing efforts on the part of you and your staff to completely misrepresent and deny basic and easily verifiable facts about the eight-month long investigation that has already taken place,” Raskin wrote.
Raskin suggested that, even without a transcript, the meeting with Schwerin otherwise followed the same protocols as other interviews conducted in Capitol Hill offices.
“Mr. Schwerin spent hours answering substantive questions from Republican and Democratic staff about his relationship with Hunter Biden, as well as the history, structure, and operations of Hunter Biden’s various business entities,” Raskin wrote.
Hunter Biden received millions of dollars in fees from foreign nationals, including during the final years his father served as vice president, which ethics efforts and government officials alike have said created the appearance of a conflict of interest. Republicans have sought evidence of Joe Biden’s involvement in his son’s business deals and have previously asked Schwerin, a longtime friend of the Biden family, about cash flows between father and son that Schwerin apparently controlled.
So far, Republicans have not turned up evidence to implicate the president in wrongdoing.
House committees have conducted transcribed interviews with several witnesses this year as part of their investigation of the Biden family. The Ways and Means Committee heard from a pair of IRS agents who claimed the Justice Department had slow-walked their investigation of Hunter Biden’s failure to pay taxes, while the oversight committee talked to Biden’s former business partner Devon Archer. The transcripts from those interviews have become key pieces of evidence both for and against the alleged corruption of the president.
Raskin has previously highlighted instances of Republicans offering imprecise or misleading descriptions of their investigatory work, such as Comer’s claims about Archer’s testimony regarding Hunter Biden’s work for a Ukrainian gas company.
Raskin said Schwerin provided exonerating statements during his interview that Republicans have found inconvenient.
“During the interview, Mr. Schwerin explained that, between 2009 and 2017, he performed a number of administrative and bookkeeping tasks for then-Vice President and Hunter Biden,” Raskin continued. “He further stated that he had the ability to view President Biden’s bank account transactions and that he was not aware of any involvement by President Biden in the financial conduct of his family members’ businesses.”
A spokesperson for the Oversight Committee said Raskin’s letter was barely worth a response and that the committee still intended to conduct a transcribed interview with Schwerin.
“The Oversight Committee has never held a transcribed interview or deposition with Eric Schwerin,” the spokesperson said. “The Ranking Member is well aware of the difference between a formal Committee interview and an informal meeting.“
Schwerin’s attorney confirmed Democrats’ characterization of the meeting to Fox News but declined to comment further.