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Key GOP impeachment witness won’t attend public hearing, citing ‘short notice’

Devon Archer, a key witness in House Republicans’ impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden, will not attend a high-profile open hearing this week, citing what his attorney characterized as a “patently unreasonable” amount of time to prepare.

Matthew Schwartz, an attorney for Archer — a former Hunter Biden business associate, revealed Monday in a letter to a top Oversight Committee investigator that the panel only contacted him on Friday in an “end-of-day email” to inquire about whether his client would attend the hearing on Wednesday, which Schwartz says “is sure to be a closely-watched public hearing that the committee has provocatively entitled ‘Influence Peddling: Examining Joe Biden’s Abuse of Public Office.'”

“The answer is no,” Schwartz wrote to the committee, according to a copy of the letter obtained by ABC News. “Providing such short notice for a witness’s public appearance before the Committee on a matter of national importance is patently unreasonable.”

Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer publicly invited Archer to appear alongside Hunter Biden and two other witnesses in their probe — Jason Galanis and Tony Bobulinski — at the public hearing on March 7 and has frequently promoted the hearing in public statements since then.

After closed-door testimony, Hunter Biden declines invitation from Comer to testify in public

“This is an opportunity for Hunter [Biden] to have the hearing he wanted,” Comer said on Fox News over the weekend. “We want the public hearing. We actually need the public hearing because of the discrepancies” between Hunter Biden’s closed-door testimony and what other witnesses in the probe have told the committee, he said.

But according to Schwartz’s letter, Archer first received word from the committee late Friday. Schwartz alluded to an invitation attached to the Friday email dated March 6 and transmitted to Devon Archer “via counsel,” but he claimed “that latter was never sent to me.”

Schwartz suggested the letter dated March 6 was mistakenly sent to a different attorney.

“As you well know (and as the lawyer to whom you sent the letter has confirmed), I have been the only lawyer to represent Mr. Archer in the Committee’s work, including representing him at the July interview,” Schwartz said.

A spokeswoman for the committee told ABC News in a statement that “the Oversight Committee sent the invitation to one of Devon Archer’s attorneys on March 6 and he confirmed receipt.”

“It’s unfortunate Devon Archer appears to be planning not to testify at the hearing,” the spokeswoman said.

PHOTO: Devon Archer, a former business associate of Hunter Biden, arrives for closed-door testimony with the House Oversight Committee at the O’Neill House Office Building, July 31, 2023, in Washington, D.C. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

What did Hunter Biden’s ex-business partner tell lawmakers?

Archer’s testimony last year was promoted by House Republicans as some of the most damning evidence of the Biden family’s alleged influence peddling. Comer hoped to air some of Archer’s closed-door testimony — including a claim that Hunter Biden frequently put his father on speakerphone in the presence of business associates — in a public setting.

But in his letter Monday, Schwartz wrote that “it is not remotely reasonable to ask an important witness in what is sure to be a closely-watched public hearing … to prepare witness testimony in one business day, and to prepare to give public testimony in less than three business days.”

Schwartz reiterated his client’s willingness to cooperate in the investigation and asked them to suggest other dates in the future for Archer to testify publicly. Archer is currently preparing to report to prison for defrauding a Native American tribe.

PHOTO: FHunter Biden, son of President Joe Biden, and attorney Abbe Lowell arrive for a closed-door deposition with the House Oversight and Judiciary committees on Capitol Hill, Feb. 28, 2024. (Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

PHOTO: FHunter Biden, son of President Joe Biden, and attorney Abbe Lowell arrive for a closed-door deposition with the House Oversight and Judiciary committees on Capitol Hill, Feb. 28, 2024. (Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

Hunter Biden addressed numerous allegations under questioning from lawmakers, transcript shows

Hunter Biden last week also declined the panel’s invitation to testify publicly, despite previously expressing an interest in doing so, calling the hearing a “carnival sideshow” and a “blatant planned-for-media event.”

Archer and the two other witnesses invited to participate in the hearing — Galanis and Bobulinski — are former business associates of Hunter Biden who have since become critics of the Biden family.

Bobulinski released a statement last week signaling his intention to appear for the hearing.

Mark Paoletta, an attorney for Galanis — who is currently serving a 14-year prison sentence in Alabama for securities fraud — said his client “is willing to testify at this hearing to provide his firsthand knowledge of then-Vice President Joe Biden helping his son Hunter Biden in his business dealings.”

A spokesperson for the Oversight Committee did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

Key GOP impeachment witness won’t attend open committee hearing, citing ‘short notice’ originally appeared on abcnews.go.com

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