Was Devon Archer's testimony a Republican silver bullet or just fool's gold?

Republicans touted the former Hunter Biden associate's congressional appearance — did he have the goods?

Illustration of an archery target pinned with an photo of Hunter Biden
(Image credit: Illustrated / Getty Images)

Like Erwin Schrodinger's eponymous cat, former Hunter Biden business associate Devon Archer's closed-door congressional testimony this week offered a masterclass in the powers of perception — and their limits — as House Republicans and Democrats each scrambled to stake their divergent narrative claims in the wake of his highly anticipated appearance on Capitol Hill. For conservative lawmakers, Archer's testimony offered further damning evidence in their ongoing, and thus far unsuccessful, attempt to link President Biden to his son's questionable business dealings. For Democrats, Archer's appearance was not so much a silver bullet of impeachable criminality as it was a chunk of fool's gold — shiny, but ultimately worthless.

"Joe Biden was 'the brand' that his son sold around the world to enrich the Biden family," House Oversight Chair Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) crowed, following Archer's claims that the younger Biden had occasionally put his father on the phone with various potential business partners over the years. Not so, countered Rep. Dan Goldman (D-N.Y.), who said that although Hunter seemed to have sold the "illusion of access" to his father, Archer had nevertheless stressed "over and over and over again that President Biden never discussed any business dealings or interests with Hunter or anyone else" in all that time. "To the extent that Hunter Biden used his father ... in any furtherance of any of his business dealings, it was not in consultation or collaboration with his father," Goldman told Axios following Archer's testimony. "Did he want to have the appearance of influence" to his various business associates, Goldman conceded. "Yes, I think he did. And that was ill-advised," he continued.

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Rafi Schwartz, The Week US

Rafi Schwartz has worked as a politics writer at The Week since 2022, where he covers elections, Congress and the White House. He was previously a contributing writer with Mic focusing largely on politics, a senior writer with Splinter News, a staff writer for Fusion's news lab, and the managing editor of Heeb Magazine, a Jewish life and culture publication. Rafi's work has appeared in Rolling Stone, GOOD and The Forward, among others.