Hunter Biden agrees to publicly testify in House impeachment inquiry

Hunter Biden agreed Tuesday to testify in front of a House committee publicly. File Photo by Julia Nikhinson/UPI

Nov. 28 (UPI) -- Hunter Biden's attorney on Tuesday said he has agreed to testify in front of the Republican-led House Oversight Committee but only in public.

In a letter to Oversight Chair James Comer, R-Ky., Biden's attorney Abbe Lowell said his client will participate in the hearings on Dec. 13 -- the date set by the committee -- or "any date in December that we can arrange."

Lowell, downplayed the investigation as an "empty" waste of government resources but said an open hearing would prevent "selective leaks, manipulated transcripts, doctored exhibits, or one-sided press statements."

"We have seen you use closed-door sessions to manipulate, even distort the facts and misinform the public," Lowell wrote. "We therefore propose opening the door.

Comer, though, rejected the idea of the younger Biden testifying in public initially and called on him Tuesday to abide by a closed-door hearing, setting up a showdown before the testimony even starts.

"Hunter Biden is trying to play by his own rules instead of following the rules required of everyone else," Comer said. "That won't stand with House Republicans. Our lawfully issued subpoena to Hunter Biden requires him to appear for a deposition on Dec 13. We expect full cooperation with our subpoena for a deposition but also agree that Hunter Biden should have the opportunity to testify in a public setting at a future date."

Comer had issued a wide range of subpoenas on Nov. 8 targeting Hunter Biden, his brother James Biden, and his business associate Rob Walker. The committee called for James Biden on Dec. 6 and Walker on Wednesday.

At the time the committee said it had obtained financial reports showing members of the Biden family set up shell companies to hide payments to "foreign adversaries," with many established while Joe Biden was serving as vice president.

White House spokesman Ian Sams, however, countered that the inquiry had "turned up no evidence to support their outlandish allegations of bribery and 'high crimes and misdemeanors,' which they claim are motivating their open-ended 'impeachment inquiry.'"