The New York Post’s Miranda Devine tweeted out an update on early Monday morning, in the form of a letter from the Southern District of New York (SDNY) making clear that they don’t expect Archer to surrender before his Monday testimony before the House Oversight Committee. Writing to U.S. District Judge Ronnie Abrams, U.S. Attorney Damian Williams noted that “[t]o be clear, the Government does not request (and has never requested) that the defendant surrender before his Congressional testimony.” The letter also added that the process involved “can take several weeks or months after the Court sets a surrender date.”
“Nonetheless, for the avoidance of all doubt, the Government requests that any surrender date, should the Court order one, be scheduled to occur after the defendant’s Congressional testimony is completed,” the letter also read, with added emphasis.
Devon Archer, the former friend and business partner of Hunter Biden, is set to testify for a closed door meeting before the House Oversight Committee on Monday. This comes after Archer had already canceled many other opportunities. Now that he appears ready to finally do so, the Department of Justice (DOJ) sent a letter on Saturday asking for a date on when Archer is supposed to start his prison sentence for defrauding Native American tribes.
A report from POLITICO looked to emphasize that the letter won’t impact such testimony, but it’s still a pretty big coincidence:
On Saturday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York wrote to trial judge Ronnie Abrams and asked her to schedule a date for Archer to report to prison, after the Second Circuit Court of Appeals finalized an order days earlier upholding his one-year sentence.
The court isn’t expected to make a decision before Archer will meet behind closed doors with the House Oversight Committee, meaning that even if the court ultimately sides with the request Archer wouldn’t have to report to prison before the meeting. And his attorney said in a statement that he will move forward with his planned appearance Monday.
A spokesperson for the office of United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York declined to comment on the filing or the timing of the letter. But according to the one-page letter, filed by assistant U.S. attorney Negar Tekeei, prosecutors had asked Archer’s attorney to recommend a reporting date in light of the Second Circuit ruling but were rebuffed.
Archer’s counsel, according to the DOJ letter, said it was “premature” to set a sentencing date because Archer was considering further appeals and intended to raise an “error” in the sentencing process. Archer’s lawyer plans to file a response to the U.S. attorney’s demands by Wednesday.
Matthew Schwartz, Archer’s attorney, also rejected the notion that there’s any connection between Archer’s tiff with the Justice Department and his potentially imminent jail time.
“We are aware of speculation that the Department of Justice’s weekend request to have Mr. Archer report to prison is an attempt by the Biden administration to intimidate him in advance of his meeting with the House Oversight Committee,” Schwartz said in a statement. “To be clear, Mr. Archer does not agree with that speculation. In any case, Mr. Archer will do what he has planned to do all along, which is to show up on Monday and to honestly answer the questions that are put to him by the Congressional investigators
Although a statement from Archer’s attorney wishes “[t]o be clear” that he “does not agree with that speculation,” the timing is awfully convenient. The POLITICO report goes on to mention how “the latest turn in the long-running conflict creates an odd backdrop.” Such a statement has gotten lost somewhat in the reaction to the letter, especially its odd timing. Over at our sister site of RedState, Nick Arama pointed to the attorney’s statement, following up from previous reporting by Bonchie.
That subsequent report includes insight from The Federalist’s Margot Cleveland, who has been closely following, including through exclusive reporting, the shadiness from the Biden administration’s DOJ to do with charging Hunter Biden on gun and tax charges, as well as the first son’s business dealings. In her tweets, Cleveland still offered though that the letter may have been “to remind Archer who holds the chips before Archer talks to Congress.”
Speculation still abounded though, even with the statement from Archer’s attorney. The New York Post’s Miranda Devine tweeted out the letter from U.S. attorney in the SDNY Damian Williams, calling it “highly unusual,” and adding it “Intimidates the witness” and “Discredits him by highlighting fraud conviction.”
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) took notice of Devine’s tweet. “The DOJ is now actively committing the crime of obstructing a congressional investigation,” he noted in part of his retweet, also pushing for action if Archer does not show up for Monday’s meeting, and tagging Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-KY), and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH).
In the replies, Stephen Miller noted that the DOJ’s action constituted felonies, with Gaetz asserting in subsequent tweets that Biden’s DOJ “is creating a Constitutional Crisis.”
Other members followed Gaetz’s lead throughout the day, including Reps. Mike Johnson (R-LA), Nancy Mace (R-SC), Chip Roy (R-TX), and Harriet Hageman (R-WY), who even seemed prepared to return early from their recess to handle the matter if Archer was indeed sent to jail, and if that affected his testimony.
Again, it’s worth reminding that Archer’s attorney did not see such a connection with his testimony, though. Community notes have also added context to Mace’s tweet.
Roy’s tweet lending his support went deeper in that he called to also take further action against Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, whom many members support impeaching.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) retweeted Gaetz, pointing to how the situation “is getting to be Banana Republic territory.”
During his Sunday morning appearance on “Sunday Morning Futures,” Chairman Comer emphasized to host Maria Bartiromo how unusual it is for the DOJ to send such letters on a Saturday.
“Never. Never. This is the first time I have ever heard of the Department of Justice doing anything on a Saturday,” Comer said in response to Bartiromo’s question of “do you usually see the DOJ send letters like this out on a Saturday?” In explaining what the letter entailed, Comer described it as “trying to nudge the judge to go ahead and sentence Devon Archer for something unrelated to what we’re going to be talking to him about tomorrow,” adding that he felt odd. “It’s odd that it was issued on a Saturday. And it’s odd that it’s right before he’s scheduled to come in to have an opportunity to speak in front of the House Oversight Committee and tell the American people the truth about what really went on with Burisma,” he said.
“So, I don’t know if this is a coincidence, Maria, or if this is another example of the weaponization of the Department of Justice, but I can tell you this,” Comer continued, as he warned further just what the DOJ under President Joe Biden is trying to do. “The lengths to which the Biden legal team has gone to try to intimidate our witnesses, to coordinate with the Department of Justice, and to certainly coordinate with the Democrats on the House Oversight Committee to encourage people not to cooperate with our investigation, to encourage banks not to turn over bank records. To encourage Treasury not to let us have access to those suspicious activity reports, it’s very troubling,” he added.
While Comer believes that this constitutes “obstruction of justice,” he vowed that “nevertheless, we’re going to continue to move forward and try to present the American people with the facts and the truth about this president and his family.”
Comer also indicated during the interview that “I know he’s been intimidated by the Biden legal team,” speaking about Archer. While he said “I don’t want to put words in Devon Archer’s mouth,” Comer did offer what he’s hoping Archer will bring to the meeting.
“He has an opportunity to come tomorrow to the House Oversight Committee and tell the truth,” Comer said about Archer. “He has an opportunity to be a hero, like the two whistleblowers were, like the judge in Delaware was, who rejected the sweetheart plea deal from the Department of Justice to Hunter Biden. Devon Archer could be in that category of Americans that just come and tell the truth. That’s all we want.”
To recap in a sense, Comer added “we know that Devon Archer was on the board of Burisma with Hunter Biden. We know that Devon Archer has met and communicated many, many times with Joe Biden about Burisma and other things. So this is going to be an opportunity for Devon Archer, just to tell the truth. We have other bank statements that we’ve obtained that we have questions about pertaining to countries that we believe Archer may have knowledge of. ” Comer has been looking to get to the bottom of Hunter Biden’s shady business deals and how it could implicate his father, as part of keeping promises to the American people following Republicans taking control of the House after the November 2022 midterm elections.
As Devine also previewed, Archer’s testimony is expected to shed some light on how Hunter Biden put his father, then the vice president, on the phone with foreign business partners or potential investors. Archer said he witnessed this two dozen times.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has been quite testy in insisting that the narrative that the president was not involved in his son’s business deals has not changed, when in fact the narrative has changed, as it previously involved fierce insistence that Biden did not talk to his son about his business deals.