By Tom Ozimek
Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) said that congressional testimony by former Hunter Biden business partner Devon Archer provides a roadmap for the next steps into the Oversight Committee’s investigation into the Biden family’s business dealings.
Mr. Comer, chair of the Oversight Committee, said in an interview with Just The News that Mr. Archer’s explosive testimony provided a number of leads in the Biden family probe that Congressional investigators will chase down.
These leads include broadening the panel’s investigation to include President Joe Biden’s brothers, Hunter Biden’s artwork sales, and a meeting the president and his son had with a Russian oligarch in 2014.
Mr. Archer served on the board of Ukrainian gas company Burisma along with Hunter Biden, and the pair later founded the investment firm Rosemont Seneca together, where Mr. Arches served as managing director.
He has long been seen by Republicans as a key witness in their search to directly connect President Joe Biden to his son’s various international business deals.
The president has repeatedly denied any involvement in his son’s business dealings, assertions Republicans have flatly dismissed as false and their hunt for “smoking gun” receipts to prove Mr. Biden was lying has brought them to Mr. Archer.
Mr. Comer issued a subpoena to Mr. Archer in June, saying his testimony would be critical to the panel’s probe into the Biden family.
A readout of some of Mr. Archer’s key revelations from July 31 closed-door testimony before the Oversight Committee include that Hunter Biden put his father, who was then Vice President, on speakerphone during business meetings over 20 times and that the elder Biden was put on the call to sell “the brand.”
Republicans saw Mr. Archer’s testimony as proof that the president lied about his alleged involvement in his son’s business affairs, while Democrats said that Mr. Archer’s testimony showed no such thing and that Hunter Biden merely sold the “illusion of access” to his father, whose interactions with his son’s business associates amounted to “casual” small talk.
The White House downplayed the significance of Mr. Archer’s testimony, with spokesperson Ian Sams saying it failed to provide the kind of bombshell evidence of wrongdoing that Republicans claimed.
“It appears that the House Republicans’ own much-hyped witness today testified that he never heard of President Biden discussing business with his son or his son’s associates or doing anything wrong,” Mr. Sams said in a statement.
But in his comments to Just The News, Mr. Comer said the final chapter in the Hunter Biden saga has yet to be written, as he vowed to chase down a number of leads that Mr. Archer’s testimony shed light on.
Mr. Comer told the outlet that he would try to interview Biden family members, including James Biden, the president’s brother.
“Stay tuned for the brothers,” Mr. Comer said. “You know, this is a crime family. I mean, it really is. And the crime is selling access to our federal government, to adversaries around the world.”
Mr. Comer said that Mr. Archer’s testimony shows that members of the Biden family have been selling access to the government for around two decades and that the president personally knew all the individuals whose bank records show allegedly wired millions of dollars to shell companies set up by Biden family members.
“This family has been actively doing that for two decades. And Joe Biden knew every single player that was involved in sending those wires, and I think we learned that today,” Mr. Comer said of Mr. Archer’s testimony.
Mr. Comer in May announced the release of a bank records memorandum (pdf) that discusses how financial records obtained by the Committee show that the Biden family and associates established a complicated network of companies during Joe Biden’s vice presidency and received millions of dollars from foreign sources.
“The Bidens intentionally sought to hide, confuse, and conceal their influence-peddling schemes, but bank records don’t lie. The Bidens made millions from foreign nationals providing what seems to be no services other than access and influence,” Mr. Comer said in a statement in mid-May.
Mr. Comer alleged in the interview with Just The News that one of the recipients of the payments was James Biden, the president’s brother.
The Epoch Times has been unable to reach James Biden for comment, but Abby Lowell, an attorney for Hunter Biden, told media outlets in a statement in May that Republicans failed to reveal any evidence of wrongdoing with the release of their bank records memorandum and accompanying revelations.
“Today’s so-called ‘revelations’ are retread, repackaged misstatements of perfectly proper meetings and business by private citizens,” Mr. Lowell said at the time.
Hunter Biden Art Sales
Another area of further inquiry Mr. Comer said would be probed more deeply is the question of Hunter Biden’s art sales, which have been part of the Oversight Committee’s investigation into the Biden family’s business dealings.
Mr. Comer has questioned whether Hunter Biden was using high-value art to evade U.S. sanctions as part of an influence-peddling scheme to foreign adversaries.
As questions mounted about Hunter Biden’s art sales, the White House announced in July 2021 that all the sales would be handled through a gallery and that neither the president nor his son would know who was buying the art.
“We believe this is a reasonable system that has been established that allows for Hunter Biden to work in his profession within appropriate safeguards,” then-White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.
But the arrangement raised concerns for Republicans, who remained unpersuaded that the art sales were legitimate and not a way to funnel bribes to the president.
“Despite being a novice artist, Hunter Biden received exorbitant amounts of money selling his artwork, the buyers’ identities remain unknown, and you appear to be the sole record keeper of these lucrative transactions,” Mr. Comer wrote in a Jan. 25 letter (pdf) to Hunter Biden’s art dealer, Georges Berges, of the New York-based Georges Berges Gallery.
Mr. Comer asked Mr. Berges to testify before the Committee and to provide various communications between him and Hunter Biden that would shed light on the transactions.
Mr. Berges told USA Today that he started working with Hunter Biden before his father was nominated for the presidency and praised the younger Biden for the quality of his art.
“I know that there’s a lot of politics involved at the moment, which is a shame because his work is not only good, it’s important,” Mr. Berges told the outlet at the time. “Hunter Biden will become one of the most consequential artists in this century because the world needs his art now more than ever.”
But Mr. Comer has remained unconvinced, telling Just The News in the latest interview that the topic of Hunter Biden’s art sales is worthy of closer scrutiny.
“Every American should be insulted by Joe Biden thinking that they’re just going to believe no special interest or no foreign nationals are the buyers of that artwork,” Mr. Comer told the outlet.
“Of course, people who buy that crappy artwork from the president’s son are doing it to receive a benefit,” he added.
Mr. Comer said that he fears some of the paintings may have been bought by Chinese buyers looking to leverage the purchases into political influence.
“If they were legitimate art buyers, I think the art gallery owner would have already defended his good name and admitted that,” Mr. Comer said.
Mr. Berges refused to comment on Mr. Comer’s earlier request for an interview in remarks to USA Today but added that he is committed to protecting the privacy of art collectors.
Mr. Lowell, Hunter Biden’s attorney, said in an earlier statement to media outlets that the gallery “sets the pricing and handles all sales based on the highest ethical standards of the industry, and does not disclose the names of any purchasers to Mr. Biden.”
Russian Oligarch Meeting
Mr. Archer’s testimony also revealed that the president, his son and associates attended a meeting at Cafe Milano in Washington in 2014 with Elena Baturina, a Russian oligarch who is the widow of the former mayor of Moscow.
“Notably, the Biden Administration’s public sanctions list for Russian oligarchs does not contain Baturina,” the Oversight Committee said in a statement Monday after Mr. Archer’s testimony.
Mr. Comer told Just The News that Congressional investigators will pursue that lead as well.
An earlier probe by Senate Republicans alleged that Ms. Baturina sent $3.5 million as part of a “consultancy agreement” in 2014 to a firm called Rosemont Seneca Thornton, a similarly named company to the Rosemont Seneca Advisors that Hunter Biden co-founded with Mr. Archer.
Hunter Biden’s lawyer at the time, George Mesires, told CNN that his client “had no interest in and was not a ‘co-founder’ of Rosemont Seneca Thornton, so the claim that he was paid $3.5 million is false.”
The question of who pocketed the $3.5 million remains unanswered.
Ms. Baturina’s name came up in emails retrieved from the infamous Hunter Biden laptop, in the context of a possible real estate deal in New York and a cocoa venture in Latin America, according to The New York Post.