The Department of Justice (DOJ) on July 29 reportedly issued a letter to the southern district of New York seeking the imprisonment of Devon Archer, a business associate of Hunter Biden’s set to testify to Congress in the coming days.
Mr. Archer, a longtime associate of Mr. Biden’s, was sentenced in February 2022 to serve a sentence of one year and one day in a scheme involving the fraudulent sale of $60 million worth of tribal bonds. However, since then, Mr. Archer has been free as he awaits news on the date when he’ll need to turn himself over to authorities to serve out his sentence.
Ahead of his eventual surrender to authorities, Republicans on the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability have scheduled a closed-door hearing with Mr. Archer to get testimony regarding his relationship and business dealings with Mr. Biden as they seek to learn whether President Joe Biden, Mr. Hunter Biden’s father, had any involvement in the dealings. The testimony comes as part of a larger probe into the Bidens’ business activities as Republicans investigate concerns that the Biden family may have peddled influence among foreign nationals for financial gain.
A development in the high-profile case raised eyebrows among Republicans this weekend when, in an uncustomary move, the DOJ issued a letter on July 29 asking the District Court of Southern New York to move ahead with the imposition of a surrender date (pdf).
“The Government respectfully requests that the defendant be ordered to surrender, at a date and time determined by the Court, to a facility designated by the Bureau of Prisons to commence his term of imprisonment,” the DOJ wrote in the letter.
‘Obstruction of Justice’
Republicans said the move was an effort to intimidate the witness ahead of his highly anticipated testimony to Congress, citing the unprecedented nature of the DOJ sending out such a communication on a Saturday.
During a July 30 appearance on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures” with Maria Bartiromo, Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) condemned the DOJ move as an effort at obstruction of justice.
“Devon Archer is testifying on Monday,” Ms. Bartiromo said. “Do you ever see … the DOJ send letters like this out on a Saturday?”
“Never,” Mr. Comer said. “Never. This is the first time I’ve ever heard of the Department of Justice doing anything on a Saturday.”
He later said that “the letter … is trying to nudge the judge to go ahead and sentence Devon Archer for something unrelated to what we’re gonna be talking to him about.”
Mr. Comer is currently leading the House investigation into Mr. Hunter Biden’s foreign business activities and any potential role played by Mr. Joe Biden.
“It’s odd that it was issued on a Saturday, and it’s odd that it’s right before he’s scheduled to come in to have an opportunity to come in and speak before the House Oversight Committee and tell the people the truth about what went on with Burisma,” Mr. Comer said, a reference to a Ukrainian energy company for which Mr. Hunter Biden served as a board member.
“I don’t know if this is a coincidence, Maria, or if it’s another example of the weaponization of the Department of Justice.
“But I can tell you this: The lengths to which the Biden legal team has gone to try to intimidate our witnesses—to coordinate with the Department of Justice and to certainly coordinate with the Democrats on the House Oversight Committee, to encourage people not to cooperate with our investigation, to encourage banks not to turn over bank records, to encourage [the Treasury Department] not to let us have access to those Suspicious Activity Reports—it’s very troubling.
“I believe that this is another violation of the law, this is obstruction of justice.”
Mr. Comer promised that despite these efforts, Republicans would carry on with their investigations.
In a comment emailed to The Epoch Times, Mr. Archer’s attorney, Matthew Schwartz. said Mr. Archer himself doesn’t believe that the weekend memo constitutes an effort at intimidation. Mr. Schwartz also said Mr. Archer intends to arrive as planned for his testimony on July 31.
“We are aware of speculation that the Department of Justice’s weekend request to have Mr. Archer report to prison is an attempt by the Biden administration to intimidate him in advance of his meeting with the House Oversight Committee on Monday,” Mr. Schwartz said.
“To be clear, Mr. Archer does not agree with that speculation. In any case, Mr. Archer will do what he has planned to do all along, which is to show up on Monday and to honestly answer the questions that are put to him by the Congressional investigators.”