‘Chaotic to the point of burlesque’: Top oversight Democrat slams Biden impeachment witness

The top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee has harshly criticised a witness for the Republicans in their impeachment effort of President Joe Biden.

In a scathing nine-page letter obtained by The Independent, Maryland Rep Jamie Raskin went after Tony Bobulinski, a former business associate of Hunter Biden, the president’s son.

Mr Bobulinski subsequently became a staunch Biden family detractor, appearing before the House panel last week where he once again shared claims he also made during the 2020 election that the president had acted to create opportunities for his family to make money abroad.

Mr Bobulinski claimed that the Biden business schemes “sold out to foreign actors who were seeking to gain influence and access to Joe Biden and the United States government”.

On Tuesday, Mr Raskin wrote in a letter to Mr Bobulinski’s lawyer and the Republican chair of the panel, Kentucky Rep James Comer, that Mr Bobulinski’s “interview was chaotic to the point of burlesque as he repeatedly yelled, shouted, filibustered, and hurled outlandish and baseless accusations and insults against Democratic Members and staff”.

The letter was initially obtained by ABC News.

Tony Bobulinski (AP)
Tony Bobulinski (AP)

Mr Raskin said he was “baffled and amused” by a letter in which Mr Bobulinski’s attorney Stefan Passantino, who worked in the Office of White House Counsel during the Trump administration, said that Mr Raskin’s previous account of Mr Bobulinski’s eight-hour testimony was a “grotesque mischaracterization”.

“I stand proudly by my statement that over the course of his more than eight hours of belabored testimony, Mr. Bobulinski did not offer any evidence of wrongdoing by President Biden,” Mr Raskin wrote. “He also did not provide any evidence that President Biden was involved in his family’s business dealings. Furthermore, unable to point to any evidence to support his wild claims against President Biden, Mr. Bobulinski casually accused a broad group of individuals and organizations of lying.”

Mr Raskin, who spent more than a quarter-century as a constitutional law professor, noted that Mr Bobulinski accused several FBI agents of lying, claimed that the Wall Street Journal lied in its reporting in which it dismissed his claims as baseless and that Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson lied “about what she saw with her own eyes”.

The Maryland representative, 61, also said that Mr Bobulinski went after his former business partners for supposedly lying, and he also accused “nine of Republicans’ own witnesses of lying because they have carefully affirmed that President Biden was not involved in his son’s business ventures”.

Mr Raskin slammed Mr Bobulinski’s testimony as a “fog of ... vituperative fulminations”.

“Despite your client’s repeated protestations and proclamations that he was ‘not a political person,’ the substance of his testimony contradicted this claim and indicate the gentleman was protesting a little too much,” Mr Raskin wrote in the lengthy letter.

During what Mr Raskin called “pained and grudging admissions,” Mr Bobulinski “finally admitted after numerous comical evasions that when he attended the presidential debate on October 22, 2020, he was ‘a guest of Mr. Trump’s.’”

Citing a book by journalist Michael Bender, Mr Raskin notes that “Trump Administration and campaign officials, and even President Trump himself, were involved in setting up Mr. Bobulinski’s press conference, even providing Mr. Bobulinski with a dress shirt for the event” during which he initially made he claims regarding Mr Biden and his family.

“[Jason] Miller was annoyed to be stuck with the supremely stupid task of figuring out Bobulinski’s neck size and sleeve length and then finding a field staffer to hustle to the department store to buy a button-down shirt,” Mr Bender wrote.

Mr Raskin added: “I realize, of course, that the Wall Street Journal and its journalists were part of the long list of liars Mr. Bobulinski called out last week, but I do hope Mr. Bender’s vivid account will refresh his memory of how he got dressed that day and who dressed him.”

He concluded: “I agree that we are upon ‘the death throes of a political narrative that will be shattered upon the imminent public release of Mr. Bobulinski’s testimony before the House Committees on Oversight and Judiciary,’ as you say. That narrative is Mr. Bobulinski’s.”

The Independent has attempted to reach Mr Passantino for comment.

A House Oversight Committee spokesperson said in a statement: “Tony Bobulinski articulated under oath that Joe Biden was ‘the brand’ the Bidens sold to enrich the family ... We now have evidence revealing Joe Biden met with nearly all of his son’s foreign associates who funneled him millions of dollars and evidence revealing he benefited from his son’s influence peddling schemes. Democrats continue to ignore this corruption and smear Tony Bobulinski as they play defense attorney for the Bidens.”