During President Trump's impeachment trial the White House counsel have sought bringing Hunter Biden in several times for testimony.

How is Hunter Biden's testimony relevant, opposed to that of John Bolton and others witnesses?

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    Comments deleted. Please don't use comments to answer the question. If you would like to answer, please write a real answer.
    – Philipp
    Commented Jan 31, 2020 at 10:12

6 Answers 6


'Why' questions are inherently difficult, often de-evolving to opinion-mongering. Unless someone in the White House tells us their reasoning explicitly, we could only guess.

However, what we can say is that the White House and its supporters have consistently held that the Bidens and Burisma were involved in some unspecified form of corruption in the Ukraine, and that this justifies all of Trump's activities. I use the term 'unspecified' here because various suggestions about that corruption have been tossed into the ring at various times, but all such suggestions have been (shall we say) inconsistent with observed facts. In any case, calling Hunter Biden as a witness would be consistent with the administration's position. If they are really trying to argue that Trump's quid pro quo and obstruction actions are appropriate or excusable because of Hunter Biden's corruption, then calling Hunter as a witness to expose this unspecified corruption would be a natural move.

Whether that is a valid legal strategy is a different matter; "He did it first" rarely flies well in a real court of law...

It's worth saying that calling Hunter Biden (regardless of his guilt or innocence) as a witness serves the purpose of slandering the Bidens as effectively as having the Ukrainian judicial system announce an investigation. If we assume Trump was trying to play that card originally, then we can assume that he is still trying to play it.

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    Another reason to bring Hunter Biden as a witness is that he can then be questioned about his lucrative position which, while irrelevant to the question at hand, will play well to the base.
    – JimmyJames
    Commented Jan 31, 2020 at 18:00
  • I believe your tangent of explaining unspecified corruption ultimately weakens an otherwise good answer. I think it's pretty clear what the claim is, that Joe Biden worked to remove someone in charge of investigating corruption when his son may have been linked with one potential corruption case. The fact that the person removed was not investigating corruption and the entire point was to encourage more active corruption investigation rather hurts that particular claim, but the claims is not unspecified. Your tangent just makes you sound anti-right which weakens the rest of the answer.
    – dsollen
    Commented Feb 5, 2020 at 19:55
  • @dsollen — I called it 'unspecified' because I prefer not to legitimize overt libel (i.e. defamatory speculation without substantive evidence). Yes, it is clear what the claim is, but treating the claim as though it were a valid topic for discussion (albeit one that can be refuted) is naïve. That serves no purpose except to allow trolls to set the tone of the discussion. Commented Feb 5, 2020 at 20:09

Four reasons:

  1. Whataboutism. It's easy to make potshots at vague 'questionable' behavior without actually trying to get to the bottom of it and punish those responsible. Add to that a refusal to defend one's own actions, and people quickly come to believe that 'all politicians do (X bad behavior)'. This has worked amazingly well for Trump against Hillary Clinton, and is working just as well for Biden.

  2. Normalizing corruption. If they can prove that Hunter Biden did anything wrong at Burisma and then prove that Joe Biden did anything wrong by pressuring Ukraine to get rid of the guy who wasn't punishing Burisma fast enough, then both parties are bad, and people need to re-calibrate their expectations of how politicians should act.

  3. Making vigilantism sexy. Once they've muddied the waters and made people believe that all politicians are the same, they can work on portraying Trump not as a law-breaker or someone trying to enrich himself at the taxpayer's expense, but as a vigilante, someone who doesn't follow the rules but gets the job done; an unorthodox but effective swamp-drainer.

  4. Turnabout is fair play. The Republicans haven't gotten much traction out of investigating the parties involved in the Mueller investigation, probably because Mueller's team was insanely professional and voters see these investigations as partisan. However, if Joe Biden is guilty of something, then they can comb through his (prodigious) background and cast aspersions on his patriotism via endless corruption hearings, and thus take back the narrative from the Democrats.

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    There is also a more immediate effect: it's something to talk about to distract from the current proceedings. They don't need to defend the President if they can change the topic being discussed. At its core it's whataboutism. Commented Jan 30, 2020 at 20:19
  • Personally, I don't disagree with any of the points you've made. However, it's an opinion based answer, and I can't upvote it based on that. Commented Jan 30, 2020 at 21:00
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    Comments deleted. Please keep comments relevant to the post. Comments are not meant for political debates. See the help article about the commenting privilege for details.
    – Philipp
    Commented Jan 31, 2020 at 10:15

Trump has been credibly accused of abuse of power, solicitation of a bribe, and obstruction - all in order to (dis)inform the US voters that Joe Biden may be corrupt.

Of all the alleged crimes to be judged in the impeachment trial, creating the public impression that Joe Biden is corrupt was the alleged payoff, the purpose, the motivation.

Since there has been no indication that Hunter Biden possesses relevant information about the abuse of power, solicitation of a bribe, and obstruction this impeachment is about, the most logical reason that remains is that Trump's Republican supporters want to call Hunter Biden because they want to do the exact same thing Trump does: to create the public impression that Joe Biden is corrupt.


To summarize comments that have since been nuked: Their point was that if an investigation into Hunter Biden were to turn up evidence of wrongdoing by either Biden, that evidence can then be retroactively serve as Trump's motivation for asking the Ukraine to announce an investigation, which would legitimize Trump's actions. My counter argument is that neither the law nor logic work that way, because real life events happen in chronological order.

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    Reality is not what matters in politics though, only perception. Logic has also never been represented in any significant way.
    – eps
    Commented Feb 2, 2020 at 19:16
  • @eps Fair point, and relevant. And it supports this answer's conclusion that the purpose for calling Hunter Biden is to create a perception of the Bidens being corrupt
    – Peter
    Commented Feb 2, 2020 at 19:35

One of the criticisms of the alleged quid pro quo is that Trump's request was purely political, calling on a foreign power solely to manufacture or dig up dirt on a sitting president's opposing candidate.

However, if it can be shown that there was reasonable evidence to suspect foul play in which Joe Biden may have been involved, the grounds for impeachment become murkier, because this would be a legitimate investigation - a candidate who may have personally benefited from his previous role as Vice President through corrupt dealings.

As the facts stand now, Hunter Biden had no qualifications related to serving on the board of a petroleum company, and exactly what he was being paid his large salary for has not been made clear. Moreover, it is also an established fact that former VP Joe Biden bragged about threatening to withhold some $1 billion in aid until an allegedly corrupt Ukrainian prosecutor was ousted - and supposedly this prosecutor has just begun an investigation of Burisma. This could have been interpreted as similarly abusing power of office for personal benefit, thereby justifying a corruption investigation of not just a current candidate, but a former VP.

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    Two problems with taking this stance: a) President Trump has repeatedly denied that's the reason... and b) the articles of impeachment charge the President with trading a public announcement of an investigation, not starting an investigation. Evidence shows the President didn't care about the investigation itself, just that it was publicly announced by Ukraine. So even if we assume for argument's sake Biden is guilty of all manner of terrible things, it is still not relevant: Trump didn't care about the investigation, just the announcement. How does a public announcement help the case? Commented Jan 31, 2020 at 19:23
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    @TemporalWolf Much of the White House's defense has been about making the waters murky about all those points. And the trial in general hasn't focused on the specific charges, but the general air of corruption that they represent. If they can show that Biden was involved in Ukrainian corruption, it supports their claim that Trump wasn't corrupt, he was rooting out corruption.
    – Barmar
    Commented Jan 31, 2020 at 19:33
  • The senate democrats brought up Burisma/Hunter Biden over 400 times when they were raising their arguments, per Pam Bondi. That's why Pam Bondi brought up the issue in Trump's defense. source: youtube.com/watch?v=oPvMuzyVOig Commented Jan 31, 2020 at 20:46
  • But by this standard, there should be open investigations on all people into all matters. Yes, if someone could find such a thing, that would be telling, but you don't go looking for such a thing where there was never any evidence or suggestion to start with. It's the difference between a legitimate investigation and what's called a "fishing expedition." The authorities have always said there was nothing wrong with what Hunter did, no suggestion of impropriety, and nothing looked off in the investigations they did of the companies. The attempts to link Joe are even more tenuous. Commented Jun 23, 2020 at 13:13
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    @PoloHoleSet you looked through my post history and came here to downvote me because my comment was ideologically opposed to yours on another answer. This is cancel culture and it's stifling discourse. Commented Jun 23, 2020 at 22:35

Kinda surprised at the answers so far, which seem to miss the point. Republicans think Hunter Biden's testimony is relevant because:

  1. They think it will establish if Trump had a legitimate concern about the Bidens and Burisma. If the answer to this is yes, there is a legitimate concern, then it's arguable that Trump had a responsibility to care about corruption overseas.

“I told them, look, nothing matters more than the facts on Burisma,” Sen. Cruz (R-Tex.) told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt on Friday, adding: “They built their entire case on this house of cards. Lay out substantive, factual reasons why investigating Burisma — the president had a responsibility to do so.”


Note Republicans aren't the only ones to think this is relevant. At least one Democratic Senator has said the same (source).

  1. For political advantage.

Calling Hunter would be partly meant to change the subject, to put the Bidens on trial rather than Trump. It would also be an attempt to extract political payback from Democrats for daring to try to hold Trump accountable.


  1. To get Democrats to back down over calling more witnesses.

For now, though, it’s mainly a threat designed to get Democrats to back down. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has privately referred to the witness issue as “mutually assured destruction.” In large part, that’s because of Hunter. Republicans believe that any testimony from Hunter could be tremendously ugly for Joe Biden’s presidential campaign — so ugly that Democrats would never permit it to happen.

(Same source as above)


Per Pam Bondi, the democrats brought up Burisma/Hunter Biden over 400 times. So the republicans felt obliged to respond. Source: https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry/live-blog/trump-impeachment-trial-live-coverage-president-s-defense-begins-day-n1123371/ncrd1124211#liveBlogHeader

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