WASHINGTON ― House Oversight Committee chair James Comer (R-Ky.) misrepresented testimony by Kevin Morris, a friend of Hunter Biden’s who sat for a deposition on Thursday, according to Morris’s attorney.
Morris, a wealthy entertainment lawyer, spoke to lawmakers for several hours as part of the Republican impeachment inquiry against President Joe Biden. Morris has loaned the president’s son millions of dollars.
“Kevin Morris’s massive financial support to Hunter Biden raises ethical and campaign finance concerns for President Joe Biden,” Comer said in a statement accompanying a summary of the interview.
Comer described Morris’s support for the president’s son as a scheme “to insulate then-presidential candidate Joe Biden from political liability.”
In a letter to the Oversight Committee obtained by HuffPost, Bryan Sullivan, an attorney for Morris, took issue with Comer’s characterization and demanded he release a full transcript of the interview.
“Not two hours after we left Mr. Morris’ transcribed interview, you issued a press statement with cherry‐picked, out of context and totally misleading descriptions of what Mr. Morris said,” Sullivan wrote.
Hunter Biden himself defied a Republican subpoena for a closed-door deposition last month, insisting that a public hearing would prevent misleading spin ― essentially the same scenario Sullivan is complaining about. But Biden changed his mind last week and will sit for a high-stakes deposition at the end of next month.
A spokesperson for the Oversight Committee said the transcript would affirm Comer’s description of the testimony and that the committee “intends to release the transcript soon but we do not have it from the court reporter at this time.”
Sullivan said Morris only cared about protecting his friend, whom he met in 2019 as the younger Biden recovered from a long-running drug addiction and launched a second career as an artist.
Comer said Morris reported having loaned the president’s son $5 million, and he questioned whether Morris expected to get the money back. “These ‘loans’ don’t have to be repaid until after the next presidential election, and the ‘loans’ may ultimately be forgiven,” Comer said.
“To the contrary, Mr. Morris repeatedly testified he actually loaned the money to Mr. Hunter Biden, that these loans were reviewed by lawyers for each of them, that they have proper loan terms such as interest and a term, and that he expected Mr. Hunter Biden to repay these loans,” Sullivan wrote.
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), the top Democrat on the Oversight Committee, told HuffPost earlier on Thursday, during a conversation outside the deposition room, that Morris said the loans were loans, not gifts.
“These are loans that he fully expects to be repaid,” Raskin said. “And it is completely standard terms that were drawn up by his lawyers in consultation with Hunter Biden’s lawyers.”
According to Comer’s readout, there was no written agreement when Morris first gave Hunter Biden money in 2020, and the loan terms were written up “well after” the fact.
Raskin and Rep. Jasmine Crockett (D-Texas) pointed out that Morris has cooperated with federal prosecutors pursuing charges against Hunter Biden for having failed to pay his taxes on time for several years. Morris has not been accused of wrongdoing.
Charging documents against Biden say an unnamed “personal friend” has since 2020 provided “substantial financial support including approximately $200,000 to rent a lavish house on a canal in Venice, California; $11,000 in payments for his Porsche; and other individual items.”
Speaking before the deposition had concluded, Raskin said Morris and Biden shared an Irish-Catholic background, and both grew up in the “Pennsylvania-Delaware part of the country.” Raskin acknowledged that the financial support Morris gave Biden might seem extravagant to normal people.
“For him, it was not a lot of money,” Raskin said. “He testified it was less than 5% of his assets, he would say off the top of his head, and he makes those kinds of loans all the time, and he seems like a very generous and loving friend.”
Comer said that by supporting the president’s son, Morris has “had access to the Biden White House and has spoken to President Biden.”
Sullivan called the claim intentionally misleading, saying Morris “testified that he has only had cursory communications with President Biden at public events like Mr. Biden’s daughter’s wedding, and said basic courtesy things as ‘hello’ and ‘how are you’ and President Biden making comments about Mr. Morris’ unkempt hair style that lasted a few minutes.”
A similar dynamic played out after the Oversight Committee interviewed Devon Archer, a former business partner of Hunter Biden’s, last year. Comer claimed Archer said that a Ukrainian gas company, which had employed both him and Hunter Biden, asked Biden to get his dad, who was vice president at the time, to push for the ouster of a Ukrainian prosecutor. When the transcript came out, it showed Archer actually said “that didn’t happen.”
The firing of the Ukrainian prosecutor has been a longstanding ― and long-debunked ― corruption allegation against Joe Biden. Rather than pursue interviews with State Department officials with knowledge of the episode, Republicans this month sat down with Hunter Biden’s art dealer and his wealthy friend.