Hawley: ‘We Must Call Hunter Biden, We Probably Need to Call Joe Biden’

GOP Senator Wants Bidens to Testify in Trump Impeachment Trial
January 23, 2020 Updated: January 23, 2020
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Hunter Biden needs to testify in the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) said on Thursday, adding that he thinks Biden’s father, former Vice President and current 2020 contender Joe Biden should also probably answer questions from lawmakers.

The caveat, Hawley said, was whether the Senate would even call witnesses.

“I think it’s now clear we absolutely must call Hunter Biden and we probably need to call Joe Biden. Based on the House managers’ presentation today, I think we probably are going to need to hear from the former Vice President if indeed we call witnesses,” Hawley told reporters in a mid-afternoon break in the trial, citing arguments House impeachment managers made.

“They also showed how central the Bidens are to their argument—I mean really, really central—and how important it is for them that Hunter Biden not be involved in any kind of corruption with Burisma.”

Hawley said House Democrats were making contradictory arguments: that a prosecutor was ousted at the behest of the Obama administration because he wasn’t investigating Burisma enough, but that Trump was wrong to try to get Ukraine to probe the firing of the investigator.

“You can’t have it both ways: either Burisma was a source of corruption, and needed to be investigated, or it wasn’t.”

Hunter Biden sat on the board of Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian company, from 2014 to 2019. Joe Biden pressured Ukraine’s leaders to oust a top prosecutor in 2016, Biden recounted during a 2018 event.

Joe biden is welcomed by Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko
Then-Vice President Joe Biden arrives for a meeting with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko Kyiv on Jan. 16, 2017. (Genya Savilov/AFP/Getty Images)

“I said, you’re not getting the billion. I’m going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money. Well, son of a [expletive]. He got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time,” Biden said.

The prosecutor who was ousted, Viktor Shokin, was probing Burisma, and had plans to question Hunter Biden.

Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-Texas) told senators on Thursday that the theory that Biden tried to oust the prosecutor who was probing Burisma to protect his son was “far fetched.”

“As the theory goes, Vice President Biden tried to remove Ukraine’s prosecutor all to make sure the prosecutor would not investigate that specific company, Burisma. Because, again, his son was on the board. Senators, if that does not sound far-fetched and complicated to you, it should,” the House impeachment manager said.

“Let’s be very clear that Vice President Biden called for the removal of this prosecutor as the official direction of U.S. policy because the prosecutor was widely perceived as corrupt.”

Garcia said she’d walk the senators through the theory “step-by-step,” and spent over an hour talking about the Bidens and showing video clips of House impeachment inquiry witnesses discussing Burisma and the Bidens.

Hawley isn’t the only GOP member pushing for at least one Biden to testify. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told reporters in Washington outside the trial on Wednesday that Hunter Biden’s testimony “is now critical” following opening arguments by House impeachment manager Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.).

Schiff “not only made his testimony relevant, which it already was, but it is now critical because the House Democrats have built their entire case on the proposition that any investigation into Burisma and corruption was a sham … the problem is, there is very significant prima facie evidence of corruption,” Cruz said.

zelensky speaks about phone call
President Donald Trump, right, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky hold a meeting in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 25, 2019. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to “look into” accusations of corruption surrounding the Bidens during a July 2019 phone call, noting how Biden talked about getting the prosecutor ousted.

“Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it… It sounds horrible to me,” Trump said.

Zelensky said Ukraine was aware of what happened and the country’s top prosecutor later announced it was reviewing the closed Burisma investigation. It later expanded the probe.

The call led to Trump being impeached in December 2019. Democrats said Trump essentially asked a foreign country to interfere in the 2020 election since Joe Biden is running for the Democratic presidential nomination. They also sought to link a hold Trump ordered on congressionally approved aid to Ukraine with the request to look into the Bidens, though a number of Ukraine and U.S. officials testified that Ukraine didn’t know about the hold until weeks after the phone call.

Three Senate committees are currently investigating Burisma.

Democrats also want to call witnesses, but have an entirely different list than Republicans. They’ve repeatedly said they want to call former national security adviser John Bolton, acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, Mulvaney aide Robert Blair, and White House Office of Management and Budget official Michael Duffey.

Republicans hold a 53-47 majority in the Senate. A simple majority is required to dismiss the impeachment articles while a conviction, which would remove Trump from office, requires a supermajority of those present.

A vote on whether to call witnesses is expected next week.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber