House investigators set to grill Treasury official as Biden family probe deepens

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A Treasury Department official is set to testify before the House Oversight and Accountability Committee in a public hearing next week as the panel steps up its probe into the Biden family.

Committee Chairman James Comer, Kentucky Republican, announced the hearing amid accusations that the Treasury Department is obstructing the panel’s probe by refusing to hand over a tranche of reports flagging Hunter Biden’s potentially nefarious transactions.

“We are concerned the Treasury Department is acting in bad faith to produce these documents to the Oversight Committee when we know that it has already produced them to another congressional office,” Mr. Comer said in a statement on Saturday. “At next week’s hearing, a Treasury Department official can explain to Congress and the American people why the department is hiding critical information.”

Treasury’s assistant secretary for legislative affairs, Jonathan C. Davidson will appear before the panel on March 10. 

The Treasury Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In a letter last week to Isabella More, deputy assistant Treasury secretary for oversight, Mr. Comer said months of back-and-forth have raised suspicions and he demanded that she explain herself in person to the panel.

“During the Committee’s dialogue with Treasury, you have made several excuses for Treasury’s delay regarding this production,” Mr. Comer wrote in his letter concerning requests for close to 150 suspicious activity reports related to Hunter Biden.

“Given the amount of time that has passed since our initial request and Treasury’s inability to provide a projected timeframe when the SARs will be produced, the Committee believes Treasury may be delaying its production to hinder our investigation and operating in bad faith,” he wrote.

Mr. Comer’s requests for the suspicious activity reports, some of which have been provided to other committees, date back to last spring, before Republicans took control of the House.

In May, Mr. Comer wrote to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen requesting information on the suspected financial transactions related to Hunter Biden that U.S. banks had flagged as potentially suspicious.

Suspicious activity reports give banks a mechanism to flag transactions for the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.

In the May letter, Mr. Comer cited media reports claiming that “more than 150 of Hunter Biden and the Biden network’s international business transactions have generated suspicious activity reports by U.S. banks for further review by the Treasury Department to determine if there is illegal activity or a threat to national security.”

He said officials responding to his initial demands refused to hand over the reports unless the committee’s Democratic leaders signed off on the request.

In January, after Republicans took control of the House, Mr. Comer doubled down on his demands to Ms. Yellen.

“The committee is investigating President Biden’s knowledge of and role in these schemes to assess whether he has compromised our national security at the expense of the American people,” Mr. Comer wrote on Jan. 11. “Accordingly, we make this renewed request for certain records and information in Treasury’s custody.”

In response, department officials said they would “identify potentially responsive documents” and “make determinations concerning how to accommodate legitimate legislative needs while also protecting Executive Branch interests, including law enforcement needs.”

“While the Department will work as expeditiously as possible, this process will necessarily take time to complete,” Treasury’s assistant secretary for legislative affairs, Jonathan C. Davidson, wrote to Mr. Comer on Jan. 25.

Mr. Comer said nothing has happened since and he wants to know why.

Hunter Biden’s far-flung business deals have raised eyebrows for years about potential influence peddling and possible crimes.

He served on the board of a Ukrainian natural gas company despite having no experience in the energy field, pursued deals with Chinese Communist Party-linked energy tycoons, and reportedly pocketed more than $3 million from a Russian businesswoman who is the widow of a former mayor of Moscow.

Mr. Comer laid out evidence in November that he said “raises troubling questions” about whether the president has been “compromised by foreign governments” in connection with his son’s ventures.

Citing evidence obtained from Hunter Biden’s laptop computer and through whistleblowers, Mr. Comer said his committee had uncovered a “decade-long pattern of influence peddling, national security risks and political cover-ups” committed by the Biden family with the knowledge and involvement of the current president.

Republicans on the oversight committee said in a 31-page report that the president was directly involved in his family’s business deals, including those involving foreign interests, despite claiming he did not know the details.

The White House has consistently brushed off Republicans’ pledge to expand their inquiry.

It called the lawmakers’ claims “politically motivated attacks chock-full of long-debunked conspiracy theories.”

In addition to requesting information from the Treasury Department as part of its investigation, the Republican-led committee has demanded that the president’s son hand over a sprawling list of documents related to his overseas moneymaking schemes dating back more than a decade.

The chairman sent similar demands for documents and communications to the president’s brother, James Biden, and Hunter Biden’s business partner, Eric Schwerin.

All three missed their Feb. 22 deadline to hand over the requested material.

Hunter Biden’s attorney Abbe Lowell said in response that the committee “lacks a legitimate legislative purpose” in seeking the documents from his client.

A spokesperson for the committee told several news outlets last week that the panel was in communication with Hunter Biden’s and James Biden’s attorneys regarding the request.

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