The president's son is still refusing to testify behind closed doors.
WASHINGTON -- Hunter Biden castigated House Republicans during a carefully choreographed appearance outside the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday as lawmakers convened inside for a planned deposition of the president's son.
Instead, Hunter Biden defied a congressional subpoena for closed-door testimony and reiterated his willingness to testify only in public - elevating an ongoing dispute with GOP lawmakers.
"I am here to testify at a public hearing today, to answer any of the committees' legitimate questions," Biden said. "I am here."
Chairman James Comer of the House Oversight Committee last month subpoenaed Hunter Biden to sit for a closed-door deposition Wednesday as part of the committee's impeachment probe into President Joe Biden.
In response, Hunter Biden said he was willing to testify before the panel -- but only in a public forum.
"I am here to testify at a public hearing today, to answer the committee's questions," Hunter Biden said Wednesday.
"What are they afraid of? I'm here, I'm ready," he said.
He spoke for less than 10 minutes, but packed plenty of punches for House Republicans, saying, "They have no shame."
"There is no fairness or decency" in their probe, he said. "They've lied over and over again."
"They've invaded my privacy, attacked my wife and children ... tried to dehumanize me and embarrass and damage my father."
Hunter Biden acknowledged that he's made mistakes in his personal life, "but to suggest it's grounds for an impeachment inquiry is absurd."
He did not take questions.
Minutes after his press conference, GOP leaders criticized Hunter Biden's refusal to testify in private.
"We're disappointed that, you know, he did not show up," House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan told reporters at the Capitol. "I mean, he was just across the way at the Capitol. I think he could've come here and sat for questions. If you do it in an open format now, you're gonna get filibusters, you're gonna get speeches, you're gonna get all kinds of things. What we want is the facts."
Jordan said once the House votes to formalize the impeachment inquiry later Wednesday he expects Hunter Biden to come in for the deposition.
"And frankly, we'll also, I think, look at contempt proceedings as we move forward," he added.
Comer echoed that they would "certainly" plan to hold Hunter Biden in contempt of Congress.
When pressed on why House Republicans won't just do a public hearing with Hunter Biden, Jordan said, "Because there's a way you do investigations and way you do not."
"You did it in a way where they come in for a private -- this is what the Democrats did. Don Jr. had to testify twice in a deposition setting -- two different committees. But all somehow it doesn't apply to the Biden family. That is not how it works in our country," Jordan said.
The impeachment inquiry resolution would direct three powerful committees to continue investigating Joe Biden to see if there are "sufficient grounds" to impeach him.
House Republicans have focused their attention on the Biden family's business dealings, particularly those of Hunter Biden. But they have so far found no hard evidence the president was directly involved in or benefited from the practices, as they've repeatedly alleged.
Hunter Biden repeated the assertion his father was not involved in his business dealings on Wednesday.
"Let me state as clearly as I can, my father was not financially involved in any of my business -- not as a practicing lawyer, not as a board member of Burisma, not in my partnership with a Chinese private businessman, not in my investments at home nor abroad, and certainly not as an artist," he said.
House Speaker Mike Johnson has defended the probe, characterizing it as a "legal decision," and previously projected optimism the resolution would pass.
"It's painfully obvious that they are trying to hurt President Biden politically to help [former] President [Donald] Trump get reelected," House Democratic Caucus Chair Rep. Pete Aguilar, D-Calif., said Tuesday.
Hunter Biden repeated "I am here" throughout his speech, finishing with a final criticism of Republican tactics.
"I am here to testify at a public hearing, today, to answer any of the committees' legitimate questions," he said. "Republicans do not want an open process where Americans can see their tactics, expose their baseless inquiry, or hear what I have to say. What are they afraid of? I am here."