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Apr 19, 2024  |  
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Susan Ferrechio


NextImg:Not an illusion: Democrats tried, failed to force Devon Archer to deny Biden’s role in son’s deals

House Democrats twisted the testimony of a key Biden associate in a bid to convince the public the lucrative business deals secured by President Biden’s son had nothing to do with his father’s power and influence.

Hunter Biden’s ex-business partner, Devon Archer, delivered four hours of closed-door testimony to House lawmakers earlier this week, all of it released in a transcript Thursday.

The leading Democrat who questioned Archer told reporters afterward that Archer delivered a nothing-burger: No evidence of influence peddling or any indication then-Vice President Biden played a role in his son landing a million-dollar job on the board of the Ukrainian energy company Burisma. 

It was all an illusion, said Rep. Dan Goldman, New York Democrat. And he said Archer “used that term” to describe the non-role of Vice President Biden.  

“Hunter Biden possessed actual experience and contacts in Washington, D.C. in the political sphere,” Mr. Goldman, who led the questioning for Democrats, told reporters after the deposition. “And that is ultimately what he was providing to Burisma.”

Mr. Goldman said Burisma executives had pressured Hunter Biden to do “more” to help them escape a criminal probe. 

At that point, he said Archer told them, the president’s son “had to give the illusion — he used that term — the illusion of access to his father. And he tried to get credit for things that Mr. Archer testified Hunter had nothing to do with.”

But it was Mr. Goldman who repeatedly badgered Archer to define the business scheme as  “an illusion of access” to Joe Biden. 
The transcript shows Mr. Goldman used the term six times, telling Archer repeatedly, “It’s not about selling access to his father. It’s about selling the illusion of access to his father.”

After a half-dozen such proclamation from Mr. Goldman, Archer himself finally repeats the term “illusion” one time, when answering Mr. Goldman. 
But Archer, who is facing one year in prison on an unrelated securities fraud conviction, called the illusion reference “almost fair.”

He told lawmakers that “there are touch points and contact points that I can’t deny happened” between then-Vice President Biden and Hunter Biden’s business associates. “There were communications.”

Mr. Goldman’s spin followed Archer’s bombshell eyewitness account of Burisma executives pressuring Hunter Biden to put his father on the phone to solicit his help in thwarting a state-run criminal probe into the company. 

“I did not hear the phone call but he called his dad,” Archer said. 
At the time, the Ukraine prosecutor general was Viktor Shokin, who Mr. Biden later bragged he helped oust by threatening to withhold $1 billion in loans from the country. 

Mr. Goldman spun Archer’s recollection to reporters, telling them Archer told lawmakers Burisma did not want Mr. Shokin fired. Burisma executives wanted him to remain in office because they felt they could control him, he claims Archer said. 

But that’s not what Archer told House investigators.

He told lawmakers neither Hunter Biden nor executives from Burisma said they wanted Shokin to stay in power. 

“That was spun to me from various folks in D.C., not Hunter specifically, but that was what I was led to believe,” Archer said. “Whether it’s true or not, I cannot speculate.”

Democrats are eager to kill the narrative that Mr. Biden helped push out Mr. Shokin on behalf of his son, arguing Mr. Shokin was ousted for failing to prosecute corruption. 

But according to Congressional lawmakers, two months before Mr. Shokin’s firing, he announced the seizure of property from Burisma Holding’s founder, Mykola Zlochevsky.

Lawmakers also said one of the issues for which Burisma had sought help from its Washington lobbying firm, Blue Star Strategies, was “resolving Viktor Shokin’s investigation into Burisma.”

Mr. Goldman’s spin, however, was repeated by news organizations who said it provided proof there was no connection between Hunter Biden’s business deals and his father.

Mr. Biden has repeatedly denied any knowledge or involvement in his family’s business activities. 

Mr. Goldman was elected in 2022 after serving as a longtime Democratic operative. He was the lead lawyer for the Democrats when they impeached then-President Trump in 2019 for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The charges were based on Mr. Trump asking Ukraine President Vlodymyr Zelenskyy to investigate Mr. Biden’s role in firing Mr. Shokin.

Mr. Goldman’s social media handle touts his role as lead counsel in the Trump impeachment. 

But his efforts to pressure Archer behind closed doors to unequivocally disconnect Mr. Biden from the schemes fell flat. Archer wouldn’t take the bait, telling lawmakers the business deals were secured by selling the Biden “brand,” which was the elder Mr. Biden. 

“My only thought is that I think Burisma would have gone out of
business if it didn’t have the brand attached to it,” Mr. Archer told Mr. Goldman. “That’s my, like, only honest opinion.”

Mr. Archer said he never heard Mr. Biden talk business with Burisma executives or other business partners, but he played a powerful role in helping the company survive, phoning into his son’s business meetings and showing up in person at some dinners. 

Burisma certainly benefited, Mr. Archer said. 

“I think that preserved them from a longevity standpoint,” Archer said. “Because people would be intimidated to mess with them. Legally.”

• Susan Ferrechio can be reached at sferrechio@washingtontimes.com.