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James Biden: Joe had no role in family deals

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VIDEO BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
ASSOCIATED PRESS
                                James Biden, the brother of President Joe Biden, steps out of a private interview with House Republicans during a break at Thomas P. O’Neill House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, today.
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ASSOCIATED PRESS

James Biden, the brother of President Joe Biden, steps out of a private interview with House Republicans during a break at Thomas P. O’Neill House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, today.

ASSOCIATED PRESS
                                James Biden, the brother of President Joe Biden, steps out of a private interview with House Republicans during a break at Thomas P. O’Neill House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, today.

WASHINGTON >> President Joe Biden “never had any involvement” in the business dealings of other members of his family, his brother James Biden testified today as he appeared for a voluntary private interview on Capitol Hill as part of House Republicans’ impeachment inquiry.

“I have had a 50-year career in a variety of business ventures. Joe Biden has never had any involvement or any direct or indirect financial interest in those activities,” the president’s younger brother said in a 10-page opening statement to lawmakers obtained by The Associated Press. “None.”

The interview with James Biden is the latest in a series that GOP lawmakers have conducted recently as they seek to rebuild momentum for an impeachment process surrounding the Biden family’s overseas finances that has stalled in recent months.

Criticism over the lack of evidence directly related to the president has grown even among those in the Republican Party who have thrown cold water on allegations that Biden was directly involved in his family members’ supposed efforts to leverage the last name into corporate paydays domestically and abroad. The GOP investigation was undercut again last week when an FBI informant who claimed there was a multimillion-dollar bribery scheme involving the president, his son Hunter, and a Ukrainian energy company was charged with fabricating the story.

The informant’s claims had been central to the Republican effort in Congress to investigate the president and his family, with investigators even making mention of the unsubstantiated claim in letters to prospective witnesses. An attorney for Hunter Biden, who is expected to give a deposition next week, said the charges show the probe is “based on dishonest, uncredible allegations and witnesses.”

Both James and Hunter Biden were subpoenaed by the committee in November. Lawyers for James Biden have said that there was no justification for the subpoena because the committee had already reviewed private bank records and transactions between the two brothers. The committee found records of two loans that were made when Joe Biden was not in office or a candidate for president.

The impeachment inquiry, which began in September under the House Judiciary and Oversight committees, has included the recent depositions of several former Biden family associates. In nearly every one of those interviews, the witnesses have stated that they have seen no evidence that Joe Biden was directly involved in his son or brother’s business ventures.

Nonetheless, Republicans, led by Oversight Chairman, Rep. James Comer of Kentucky, have said they are pushing ahead with an inquiry that could result in impeachment charges against Biden, the ultimate penalty for what the Constitution describes as “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

There had been private discussions about bringing articles of impeachment against Biden to the House floor for a vote in February but those conversations have stalled as support for the effort has waned among the majority. House Republicans instead shifted their focus in the new year to holding Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas accountable for his handling of the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border. Last week, the razor-thin GOP majority barely managed to impeach Mayorkas, reflecting political desperation as Republicans struggle to make good on the priorities they campaigned on.

The attention is now expected to shift back to the impeachment of Joe Biden as Republicans look to detract attention from the various legal challenges plaguing former President Donald Trump, the Republican front-runner for reelection in November.

House Democrats have remained united against the monthslong impeachment effort and have called on Republicans to end what they call a “sham process.” Rep. Jamie Raskin, the top Democrat on the Oversight Committee, said that James Biden is the latest example of Republicans playing political games with no sign of tangible evidence that would rise to the level of impeaching a president.

“We obviously again have heard nothing indicating that Joe Biden had anything to do with business ventures of Hunter Biden, or James Biden, and nothing has contradicted that basic understanding we’ve had for many, many months now,” Raskin told reporters when the interview broke for lunch.

But Republicans have pushed back on the Biden family’s defense, saying the evidence they have gathered since early last year paints a troubling picture of “influence peddling” in the family’s business dealings, particularly with international clients.

“With my appearance here today, the committees will have the information to conclude that the negative and destructive assumptions about me and my relationship with my brother Joe are wrong,” James Biden said in his statement. “There is no basis for this inquiry to continue.”

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