James Biden, the brother of President Joe Biden, steps out...

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, Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024. Credit: AP/Andrew Harnik

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden “never had any involvement” in the business dealings of other members of his family, his brother James Biden testified Wednesday when 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 both Republican and Democratic staff as well as lawmakers lasted more than eight hours. During several breaks, Republicans came out and told reporters, without citing details, that James Biden's responses contradicted his opening statement and that he had made efforts to avoid directly answering investigators' questions.

“He has said a lot of things that have contradicted himself in that testimony,” Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., said during an afternoon break from questioning. “So when you see the transcript, you'll see.”

The interview with James Biden was 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 against the president has grown even among Republicans. Many GOP lawmakers say they have yet to see evidence of the “high crimes and misdemeanors” required for impeachment, despite alleged efforts by members of the Biden family to leverage the last name into corporate paydays domestically and abroad.

Beyond the internal struggle, a central claim of the GOP investigation has also been undermined by federal prosecutors, who last week indicted an FBI informant who claimed there was a multimillion-dollar bribery scheme involving the president, his son Hunter and a Ukrainian energy company.

James Biden, brother of President Joe Biden, right, arrives for...

James Biden, brother of President Joe Biden, right, arrives for a private interview with House Republicans at Thomas P. O'Neill House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024. Credit: AP/Andrew Harnik

The informant’s claims had been part of the foundation of 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.

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, one of the lead impeachment investigators, told reporters Wednesday that the indictment of Alexander Smirnov doesn't “change the underlying facts” of their investigation. He added that the FBI saw this informant as a valued source for years.

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 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.

James Biden, brother of President Joe Biden, arrives for a...

James Biden, brother of President Joe Biden, arrives for a private interview with House Republicans at Thomas P. O'Neill House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024. Credit: AP/Andrew Harnik

“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.”

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 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 before November.

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 front-runner for the Republican presidential nominee.

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 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.

“This is a subdued affair. And, again, it feels to me as if everyone knows the impeachment investigation is over," Raskin told reporters when the interview broke for lunch. "I think Chairman Comer has said publicly that it’s — that it doesn’t look like the support is there for impeachment.”

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