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House GOP to invite Joe Biden to testify in impeachment inquiry

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House Republicans are setting a lofty goal for a next step in their sweeping impeachment inquiry: Interviewing Joe Biden himself.

At the end of an hours-long hearing with two former Hunter Biden business associates, Oversight Committee Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) said that he would invite Joe Biden to testify in front of the committee.

“In the coming days I will invite President Biden to the Oversight Committee to provide his testimony and explain why his family received tens of millions of dollars. … We need to hear from the president himself,” Comer said.

An Oversight Committee aide confirmed to POLITICO that the invitation to the president will be for a public hearing.

Comer made the announcement just before he wrapped up a Wednesday hearing with former Hunter Biden associates Tony Bobulinski and Jason Galanis. Both men reiterated claims they have previously made privately to the panel: That Joe Biden discussed business with Hunter Biden, an allegation both Bidens have denied, and spoke with his son’s associates.

Comer explained that he wanted to invite Joe Biden because there was a “major discrepancy” between the testimony from the two men and Hunter Biden’s private testimony last month. Hunter Biden has reiterated, both publicly and privately, that his father was not involved in his business deals. Republicans also invited Hunter Biden to testify publicly on Wednesday, but he declined the invitation.

In addition to Hunter Biden, multiple former business associates of the president’s son have told the committee privately that Joe Biden was not involved in their business deals.

One of those former associates, Devon Archer, told the committee behind closed doors that Hunter Biden would put his father on speakerphone while at dinners with business associates, but Archer said the conversations were limited to pleasantries. Rob Walker, another former Hunter Biden associate, previously told investigators that Joe Biden wasn’t involved in their business deals and also characterized his appearance at the lunch as an exchange of pleasantries.

Republicans are months into their impeachment inquiry that has largely focused on the business deals of Joe Biden’s family members, as they’ve struggled to find a clear link between actions Joe Biden took as vice president or president to those financial arrangements.